Surbiton (1) 1 Barnes Beavers (2) 2
By Dave Williams
Success in Surbiton!
On 2nd February 1709 the crew of the privateering ship ‘Duke’ arrived at what was previously thought to be the uninhabited island of Mas a Tierra, 420 miles off the coast of Chile, for re-stocking and supplies. There they were surprised to be greeted by a man by the name of Alexander Selkirk, a Scot who had been marooned alone on the island for the previous four years and four months following an argument with the Captain of his merchant ship ‘Cinque Ports’ which had also stopped off there in 1704. The argument was caused by Selkirk’s view was that the ship had become unseaworthy and would sink. The Captain disagreed. Selkirk announced that he would rather be left on the island. The Captain agreed and allowed him the supplies and equipment to survive with. Selkirk then changed his mind and asked to come back on board. The Captain refused and the ship sailed leaving Selkirk stranded. The ship then sank.
Selkirk lived off goats, turnips and cabbage and after several years of solitude had adapted remarkably well and was living a fairly comfortable existence despite once having been chased around the island by a visiting group of Spanish sailors and on another occasion falling off a cliff while trying to catch his dinner (a goat not a turnip). He joined his rescuers and eventually returned to England in 1711 after having been away at sea for almost a decade. Word of his adventures quickly spread and it is thought that he proved to be the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe which was written just eight years later. Why this story do you ask? Well, much like Alexander Selkirk the Barnes Beavers also showed formidable resilience despite great adversity at Surbiton on Saturday afternoon, putting in a strong performance against a very good side to come away with a hard-fought 2-1 win.
With many games called off due to the frosty morning conditions the Beavers were fortunate that the 2pm start meant that we were the first game of the day to survive the cull and just before we began our hosts informed us that we were the precursor to their Ladies 1s hosting an international friendly against Polo Club Barcelona on the pitch immediately after us. Feeling that both sides following us could learn a lot from watching the Barnes Beavers in full flow, we took the field in good spirits not least from the relief that the game was going ahead when so many other matches had been cancelled.
Much of the game was played at a very high-tempo pace and it was Barnes who took advantage of this first with an excellent early goal after only just a few minutes of play. Chris received the ball on the halfway line and drilled a fast and accurate pass to Pops who had found some space at the top right hand side of Surbiton’s D. Pops controlled the ball but still had to beat the keeper from an angle and did so with a strong flick to the keeper’s left. A stunning start but Surbiton came back and dominated much of the remainder of the half with Kevin and the defence having to intercept and scramble the ball away from dangerous positions on numerous occasions. Kevin made five first half saves in all, including a tremendous double save at point blank range while other shots went wide and James also deflected a short corner shot off the goal-line to keep us in front. We nearly doubled our lead when Rory broke free but his shot was saved by the keeper but with Barnes hampered to an injury to Dan and a green card for Amine, Surbiton struck back and equalised just before the interval when despite Kevin’s best efforts, a good shot just nestled into the corner of the goal.
The second half was just as thrilling but much more even with both teams creating a number of chances. For Barnes Keith blasted one shot over the bar and also hit a short corner effort just wide and the best move of the entire match, which saw four Barnes passes from one D to the other, culminated in Rory again being denied by the keeper. Surbiton also threatened throughout the half and Kevin made the save of the match by somehow blocking a certain goal and then minutes later he made another important save. The Surbiton forwards also half-volleyed an effort just wide and hit a short corner shot into the net which was clearly too high to be awarded. So with ten minutes to go the clever money was still on one or other of the sides grabbing all three points and thankfully it was Barnes when Chris’s short corner shot went through the keeper and hit the backboard. Surbiton threw everything at us in the final few minutes but we defended valiantly and could even have scored a third with another short corner in the last play of the game.
So a fine victory and the result keeps us in 8th place in SOHL Division 2. Surbiton remain in 6th. As ever, an extremely tough choice for Beaver of the week. As a team it probably wasn’t our best performance of the season but it was definitely one of our grittiest. An excellent goalkeeping display by Kevin, Chris made one goal and scored the other and there were several other strong candidates but this week’s garland is presented to Keith who seemed to be right in the middle of things for most of the afternoon and provided a good link between defence and attack. Congratulations Keith!