Scratch Piranhas Fall in Slough – as Opposed to “Friendly Bombs”.

Banbury Piranhas – 1 Slough – 5

The Piranhas went away with a scratch team (more scratchy than a plague of chicken pox)  and paid the price against a Slough 3rds team that looked very different to the one we played and beat 10-2 before Christmas. Captain Camp had contacted virtually everybody in the Banbury phone directory and got a torrent of “nos” but by Friday 11 players were on the team sheet and so we honoured the fixture.
The game began with the Piranhas controlling the game and within 5 minutes 1-0 in front with a great pass and move attack through Joe Whinmill , Charlie Camp, and James Doran which Thomas Allman finished off with aplomb slotting it into the backboard.
Then the piranhas went down to 10 men as Joe Whinmill had to go off after an injury.  The slough team pushed their one man advantage now against a 10 man scratch piranha team but they held firm with Jamie Lamb making some excellent saves and Camp, Ollie Webb, Finley McEvoy and Andrew Jeffrey (the Piranha lucky mascot) tackling and clearing well.
Then a harsh penalty was awarded for a 50/50 challenge by Jamie Lamb on the Slough centre forward. The flick was well converted to make it 1-1. Joe Whinmill hobbled back on to bring the Piranhas back to 11 and it was an evenly fought half with end to end hockey only disturbed by the odd strange decision.  To be fair both teams were very sporting and luckily got on with the game in spite of them. It was looking like a draw until a short corner was awarded for Slough just on half time which was converted well with a strong strike.
Half  time gave captain Camp the chance to explain to the young team that sometimes odd decisions seem unusual and can cause confusion but not to worry as the other team were feeling the same way. All bar Clive (being an umpire) sort of bought the story – Clive was more technical in his insightful analysis – spitting more feathers than a fox on a two week holiday in a battery hen hotel.
So 2-1 down and the young team started the second half. If we thought the decisions were interesting during the first half they became fascinating for the 2nd. Within a few minutes the umpire gave a very harsh penalty for Andrew Jeffrey standing still while the Slough centre forward backed into him and rolled round him like a sort of doddering Strictly Come Dancing routine and missed his shot at goal. The umpire gave him a second chance by awarding a flick for …….well we’re not quite sure…..Just for good measure and to make sure the Piranhas were really disadvantaged Andrew Jeffrey was sent off albeit this took some time as the Slough players helpfully tried to persuade the authorities to keep him on – so Andrew got all confused and bewildered as the decision ebbed and flowed (it was like a cliff hanger court case drama – but without the drama). Well eventually the decision stood the flick was duly converted and the piranhas found themselves 3-1 down and down to 10 men again. Jamie Lamb kept the score down with some great saves and the defence held firm until the umpire awarded another penalty corner. The Slough forward hammered the ball into the net (the clue being the ball hit the net) and the umpire awarded a goal. After a series of polite questions about the first strike on short corner rules, helpful insights from our resident player umpire, Clive, the whole Slough team and substitute bench refusing to take the dodgy goal – the decision was overturned just before the population of Slough were asked to partake in a yes/no referendum.
Camp thanked the Slough team (who are a decent lot) and the game recommenced. Jeffrey was allowed back on but with the Slough subs rolling on and off and with us only having 11 the young piranhas tired. The game’s flow continued to be affected by the whistle with both teams trying their best to play good open hockey and in a great sporting spirit – both teams got on with their game . Slough won 2 more shorts which they converted to end the match 5-1 victors.
The game ended much to everyone’s relief. Camp thanked the umpires and thanked the Slough team for helping out too. Slough deserved the victory but both teams agreed in the bar after that  science fantasy and umpiring won’t ever be a successful genre…..