14th Apr 2007 Huddersfield(Away) 6 - 2 win
HALL A, ROUGHTON J (1), METCALFE J (2), PITCHER D, SUNDERLAND C (1), JORDAN J, PORTNELL A (1), PORTNELL M (1), BENEDIKZ W, BACON M, SMALL S,
This was the last match in charge for skipper Hall as he resigns his captaincy after two years and he was determinded to make it a good one after two great peformances by the 5th team in the preceding weeks. Firstly away to Sheffield Hallam 7th team where they came out 6-4 victors despite a strong performance against the young Sheffield team. And Last week at the BRHC Fools Festival where they stormed through the group stage in the beautiful sunshine, only to graciously lose to Harrogate in the final (it's considered rude to win your own tournament...)
This week's game required the drafting back in for Bacon, Roughton and Small who heroically played both for the 5th team and the 7ths, who were playing immediately after. Upon arriving at Huddersfield, Rhydding were dismayed to see a vast array of Huddersfield players milling around the pitch and looking dangeously skillful - it turned out to be the Hudds 1st/2nd team who were originally on for a match before. However, Hudds 4ths started the game with a suspicously large subs bench of young and athletic players. Nevermind, it's only a friendly, thinks us.
The game began at a gentle pace and Rhydding quickly showed dominance with some fluent quick moves through the midfield and forward line. This was to characterise the Rhydding game for the rest of the match as Metcalfe, Sunderland and the Portnell brothers showed the near telepathic communication and anticipation that has built up over the past few games. Rhydding slotted home 3 goals over the first 15 minutes or so, and then the HUddersfield substitute bench went from heckling, to quiet, to shouts for substitutions - and the home team lineup began to change dramatically.
Despite the obvious skill in the newcomers to the hudds team, Rhydding continued to attack, but also to increasingly rely on the awesome skill of sweeper Roughton as he ably defended many lightning attacks from the HUdds forwards - including one genius goal line cricket stroke in the air to deny Huddersfield a goal. Centre back Bacon had another robust and quick game as he stole the ball from players divisions above him. James Jordan, who has gone from strength to strength this season showed the same calm manner as he fought off quick attackers and some very 'strong' challenges to take the ball out wide to efficiently distribute it up the wing.
By half time, the Rhydding boys were 5-2 up after conceding a couple of well worked goals, but also increasing their own tally with lightning precision. A rousing team talk from the captain saw them take the field in the second half with an altered formation to account for the ever increasing skill of the home team. Metcalfe dropped back to the bottom of a diamond midfield, whilst centre forward Mark Portnell dropped to the top of the diamond. Unfortunately for the team, Left mid Dan Pitcher began to slow due to a recurring hamstring injury, leaving the left dangerously vulnerable. But he soldiered on, until a substitue could be garnered from the arriving 7th team - in the form of Tom McCallum.
McCallum's robust hockey left the home team primadonnas foundering in his wake as he and Hall stormed up the left wing on many occasions. The captain was disappointed not to score on his final game in charge despite some chances but helped to build some of the converted chances from deep in our own half. Much of the play in the second half was dominated be increasingly furious attacks from Hudds which were repelled time and time again by the defenders and the lightning reactions of keeper Benedikz who was on form yet again. Right wing moves started slickly with combination moves from Small and Andy Portnell that left the home team trailing in their wake.
The final whistle was a huge joy and relief to Rhydding after so successfully repelling the now unrecognizable Huddersfield team. A great end to the Season and the Captaincy. Well done to all. Get well soon to the lad from Huddersfield who turned his ankle so badly in the second half.