Piranhas bite back as Lazarus rises again in Slough

Slough 2 Banbury Piranhas 3

The Piranha team numbers for the very attractive 4:15pm push back time away at Slough had swelled and ebbed like a High and Neap Tide during the week. Captain Allman’s shoal peaked at 14 only to be reduced to 10 Saturday morning …. but after some last minute phone calls and a quick pitch side selection at the 2pm meet time, he summarised that he did in-fact have 12 and the team set off to their destination.

Now little do many of you know that Slough means “muddy place” and was originally called ‘Slo’. This will ring true for anyone who has driven through the famous “Slough Trading Estate” ! Unfortunately even the delights of going past the offices of Burger King, Lego, Blackberry and 17 different Super Markets did not quell the tedium of the ‘Slo’ traffic experienced by all the Banbury Vehicles. Be that as it may, everyone made it in good time even after picking up Morgan from Oxford en route.

As we waited pitch side for the previous game to finish Campy was noticed popping some pills…..after some team intervention, he finally then admitted that he might not be as “frisky” as usual on the pitch due to an undiagnosed rib injury sustained the week previous. (For those that would like a more accurate account of the events of the injury, please see Campy in the bar). Not knowing Campy’s capability the team numbers ebbed again…..but just as the match was the about to start, the clouds parted and a figure in red could be seen coming towards us. “What’s that coming over the hill, its a monster” we could hear on the Slough Hockey Club Tanoy……..it was infact Lazarus in the form of Dipak who had literally risen from the dead after last being seen at the Horton getting his right eye stitched following a stick clubbing by the opposition last week. The Doctors with all the bed shortages at the Horton had told Dipak to “pick up your bed and walk” and he done exactly that arriving just in time for pushback. With the numbers swelled to 12 (albeit with a crocked Campy) the match started….

The Piranhas with a very young side started spritely but did take their time to get fully organised and the game, early on, was a very open affair with spaces opening up for both sides. As well as creating some good breaks with Jamal, Lee & Ben,  the Piranhas defence of Zach, Campy , Dipak, Finlay and Morgan in goal were called upon a number of times. After a good move involving Sam, Thomas and Ali in midfield , the Piranhas won a penalty corner. Up stepped the Allman (senior) and Campy dynamic due who executed a text book near post deflection to go one up. To be honest (and I hate to say it) it was a pretty good goal from the crocked Camp. The strike from Allman was a touch wider than he’d hoped and Campy somehow managed to perform a Uri Geller type flick in from behind his body.

After the goal Campy declared himself unfit for defence duty and retired to the Centre Forward position with Banbury Piranhas re-organising themselves.  The rest of the half was fairly frenetic, but after a string of Penalty Corners for Slough they equalised with a good individual effort goal flicked in at the far post.

Despite a rousing half time talk on “Pass and Move Hockey”, the Piranhas came out of the blocks slowly and found themselves 2-1 down early in the 2nd half after another well executed Slough Penalty Corner.

The piranhas started getting their shape better, with defence much more solid and organised with Dipak, Finlay, Zach and Allman keeping the Slough attack quiet. Up front Campy was a great target man and brought young Ben Reville into play a number of times creating some good chances.

The game really opened up and when the Piranhas moved the ball quickly through Thomas and Sam on the right and left flanks, they sliced through the Slough defence but  slow ball from the middle didn’t do this often enough. Eventually the Piranhas pressure told and a well worked short corner slip to Lee Allen who reverse flicked it to Ali Nash who paddled in from close distance to equalise 2 – 2 !

The last 15 mins was really open with both teams playing a high line with short corners and chances at both ends. Excellent keeping from Morgan and the Banbury defence saw off a string of Slough Penalty Corners with Captain Allman also saving one of the line. The next attack from Banbury saw excellent patient recycling of the ball with passes around the D in-between Thomas Allman , Andy Camp, Lee Allen and then onto Sam Baldry who ended up slapping in from the P spot to go 3-2 up. The piranhas saw out the end of game and were well pleased with the victory.

Special thanks go to Morgan who we owe  massive beers to a big thank you, for his tour of duty around the home counties ensuring that the Piranhas had a keeper and ultimately helping us to secure 3 valuable points. Thanks also to Ben Reville who had planned to leave at half time, but stayed to ensure we could keep 11 on pitch and delayed the family visit to Warwick.

Great fighting and energy to the end by the Piranhas to win the game. With better pass and move hockey however, the Piranhas could have had a few more goals and better control over the game and will look to see more of this next week !

Matt Allman