Mystery of the Missing Players and Teas

Bicester 4 – Banbury 2

Newly appointed Captain Allman of the “Good Ship Piranhas” was handed his first challenge to try and get a Piranhas side out with 48 Hours notice, albeit to fulfil a Banbury 4ths fixture (who are captain less as the moment) against Bicester.

The challenge was accepted and a mixture of 4ths / Piranhas and Banbury Newbies responded and mustered a side one short of the regulation 11…

Things may have been different with a full side a possibility……but was compounded by:-

  • Mr Allen allegedly pebble dashing through the eye of needle that morning.
  • A phantom fixture for the 2’s / 3’s in Rugby (where the opposition declined appear). Had the club known this, a few more players would have been available.  Also very frustrating for players who travelled to Rugby and ended up with Banbury organising an impromptu friendly amongst themselves.
  • The previous Piranhas Captain Andy Camp was also unavailable as he dashed off to Rugby to watch Banbury men playing a friendly with themselves.

…..Any way back to the game in hand. Despite a rousing team talk by Captain Allman, the mixture of 4ths / Piranhas and Banbury Newbies started slowly as the team found their way. Just as the team started to find their feet, a sloppy goal was conceded and Banbury went one down. Banbury started to move the ball better with good link up play from Banbury HC’s resident Plumber Townsend, long service award winner Stuart Ralph and midfield flanks of Thomas Allman and Zach Boynton culminating in a few Banbury penalty corners. The pressure finally told and Banbury equalised from a Townsend penalty corner crushing strike to the bottom right hand corner…. John turned and celebrated like a banshee only to realise the opposition keeper was in fact only just 13 years old.

The game was fairly even for the next period with half chances for both teams, which Bicester took and Banbury did not and ended up going into half time 3 – 1 down.

Banbury came out of the blocks in the 2nd half pulling a goal back with sweeping move from Zach Thornton and Thomas Allman crossing to Stuart who finished off with a great slap strike to score. Despite Bicester having 13 players and Banbury 10 players,  the next 20 mins was all Banbury and unlucky not to equalise. The defence of Jamie Lamb, Adam Hiles, James Bardy and Clive (who dashed back from umpiring duties in Henley to play) combined well all game but as tiredness set in Bicester scored the 4th sealing the game for them.

Despite the loss , the team enjoyed the game and retired to the 100 Acre Pub just round the corner from Cooper School looking forward to a hearty Pub Hockey Tea and maybe perchance to see Winnie the Pooh or another of the 100 Acre Wood residents. Unfortunately neither was present….. as Banbury waited around for 45 mins, only to be told there were no teas due to a catering booking cockup…..poor old Clive was apoplectic as it was also Eye-ors day off as well.

Banbury cut their losses and left Bicester to their beer, informing them on the way out that due to issues with their own Caterers, the Banbury teas may have a bit too much NaCl when they visit.