Match Report: Barnes Beavers (0) 1 Old Cranleighans (1) 4
By Dave Williams
The sun sets on the Beavers' 20th year with the team in good health and looking forward to season 21!
Stanley Kirk Burrell, AKA ‘MC Hammer’, AKA ‘Hammer’, AKA ‘Stanley’ was born on 30th March 1962. Mr Hammer was of course a huge music sensation in the 1990s with his distinctive baggy Hammer Pants and classic songs such as ‘U Can’t Touch This’ and ‘2 Legit 2 Quit’. It was therefore quite possible that the original Barnes Beavers hummed ‘Hammer Time’ (or a version of it) to themselves as they cautiously left their burrows and made their first tentative forays into the sunlight of the Surrey Open Hockey League two decades ago. Twenty years of pink shirts later, the Beavers are still going strong and on Saturday (MC Hammer’s 57th birthday) we concluded our 20th season with a home game against Old Cranleighans. Although defeated, the Beavers could still look back on yet another satisfactory and very enjoyable year.
Although a 10am start it was already promising to be a beautiful day as the game started with enough blue in the sky to patch a pair of sailor’s trousers as the old saying goes. The Beavers had a strong line up and were relishing a good match against 3rd placed OC who had just missed out on promotion. The first half was fairly even with chances on both sides – Barnes came close to scoring on several occasions with Keith and Mike both hitting the same right hand post, Tommy shooting just wide and Angus forcing the OC keeper into making a good double save from a short corner. At the other end OC hit the post themselves and also forced James into making a series of good stops including a double save of his own and a great block to thwart the OC centre forward who had a clear shot on target. However the only score of the first half came when an OC short corner shot found its way into the goal. Barnes could feel a little hard done by that we were trailing at half time.
So back we came for what was hoped to be a strong final half of the season but unfortunately it was not quite to be. OCs are a very good side and made most of the running throughout the second half and although James was called on to make another double save and also push a flicked effort clear the signs were ominous and it wasn’t long before our opponents had doubled their lead when an attacker took a run into the D along the goal-line and scored from a tight angle. Shortly afterwards OCs had their third goal when a couple of missed tackles allowed another free shot but it was at this point that Barnes had their best spell and we got on the scoreboard with a fine goal of our own from Mike who beat an OC defender with a lovely piece of skill before smashing his shot past the keeper. Tom and Rory then both hit shots that went narrowly wide and it felt that the momentum was going to bring us a second goal. However another successful OC short corner led to their fourth goal which killed off the contest although there was still time for James to make the save of the game when the OC centre forward, clear through on goal, belted the ball which cannoned off our custodian to safety.
So a 4-1 defeat which concludes the Beavers’ 20th season in league hockey and Pat’s second season as captain. The Beavers again finish 7th in SOHL Division 2 with 31 points and an overall record of 9 victories, 4 draws and 9 defeats – remarkably exactly the same figures as last year! Therefore Captain Pat has overseen the Beavers collect 62 points, 18 wins, 8 draws, 18 losses and finish with an overall goal difference of +3 over the two years. However leaving statistics to one side it has been yet another eight months of wonderful Beaver spirit with an excellent atmosphere both on and off the pitch which undoubtedly is the most important thing. Thank you for another great season Pat and well done to everyone who contributed, whether playing, umpiring, supporting or organising things off the pitch. We are all very proud to be part of such a great team.
For the record, Old Cranleighans finish third, just behind the two promoted clubs Old Kingstonians and Guildford with Teddington and Purely Walcountians relegated. Beaver of the week this week has to go to Ollie for an extremely fine game in midfield, all the more admirable after becoming a father just four days previously. Congratulations Ollie! As for Beaver of the Season…all will be revealed at the Night of Legends!