Umpiring Masterclass Overseas Purring Piranha Win
Banbury Piranhas 2 Oxford 0
As the weekend was free of internationals Banbury had the luxury of flying in the model umpire – Andy Camp. His honoured partner, Mark Cummings, did admit that Captain Camp often had an insightful opinion on umpiring whilst on the pitch and so he was looking forward to being part of a fine moment in history.
The moment only being spoilt by Saul Bolton turning up without a couple of minor essentials like a shirt, hockey shoes, the wrong shorts – but at least a stick and a pair of socks. In order to avoid him playing in just a pair of socks and thus psychologically scarring the young Piranhas Camp donated the necessary kit and the match could get under way.
So in the evening sun Camp whipped out his extra shiny whistle, the women supporters gasped, and the match commenced.
The first 15 minutes was dominated by the Piranhas with a great demonstration of pass and move hockey with youngsters Charlie Camp and Harry Simons storming down the flanks and working well off the aged stalwarts Adrian Simons and Gary White. Lee Allen and young Sam Bracke were denied several times by the oxford goalkeeper before Harry Simons pounced on a clearance and scored from a great reverse stick strike to make it 1-0.
The pressure continued with Ed Hornby linking up well with Matt Bull and Joe Whinmill surging down the wing playing one two pass hockey with Harry Simons. This led to a great passage of play which was clinically finished by Lee Allen with a great strike and a 2-0 cushion.
Saul Bolton then managed to outclass the “goal post ninja” Noel Britto by not just hitting one post but both posts of the oppos goal at the same time – a feat “The Master” would have been proud of.
Oxford woke up at this point and came back hard but Kit Lamb commanded the D well like a foam clad frothing berserker. Clive Briant and Matt Bull held the centre and the Piranhas soaked up the pressure well. Towards the end of the first half the piranhas regained the ascendancy and won a string of short corners which oxford defended well keeping the score at 2-0.
The second half was dominated by the Piranhas where the youngsters Harry Simons, Charlie Camp, Finley McEvoy, Zach McCoomb, Sam Bracke, Joe Whinmill and Ed Hornby played great pass and move attacking hockey with great pace – Gary White and Saul Bolton struggling to keep up like a pair of frisky pensioners.
Sam Bracke found some great positions up front and peppered the goal with shots but the Oxford keeper was outstanding. Saul Bolton worked hard in midfield with Gary White and Adrian Simons feeding the young Piranhas with plenty of ball – and yet again a string of short corners were won but the excellent oxford keeper denied the great combination of Charlie Camp, Harry Simons, Joe Whinmill and Finley McEvoy.
And so the match finished 2-0 with the Piranhas now with 18 points from their 7 games and still in the promotion zone.
With sadness Camp slipped his shiny whistle away, having redefined the art of umpiring and at the same time making it rather sexy and edgy.
We are away at Reading Rovers next week – a tougher challenge awaits….