Physicality almost pays off in this disgrace of a game with Liverpool Sefton

Blackpool Men’s 1s 1-0 Liverpool Sefton Men’s 2s

by Peter Latimer

I’ve been playing the beautiful game of hockey for probably 30 years (I started young!) and come across some tough physical opposition before (Leigh springs to mind) but this game was the ugliest I can remember. And yet it didn’t need to be so, if only the obvious discretions had been dealt with by the umpires. Whether they just didn’t see the offences, or felt it was acceptable, I’m not sure, but the game spiralled out of control.

After a half of abuse, Blackpool started to stand up for themselves in the second half. Several contretemps followed, and I’m not proud to have beem involved in one of them, but when I see one of my fellow defenders elbowed in the back by a player old enough to know better, then I’ll start appealing for something to be done and have words with that offending player. And it all happened just yards in front of an umpire.

Off the ball incidents continued, the furiousity of tackling increased, and frankly the game became dangerous. Before we knew it one of the Sefton players had a ball ricochet into his mouth, and he left the pitch bleeding, and in fact the bridge on his teeth had been dislodged much to his annoyance. It was then my turn to go off bleeding, when I got a stick to the forehead, whilst defending in the D.

A Sefton player was yellow carded just before the end of the game, but it was too little too late, and the game had got out of control. Real shame, as I don’t think it needed to have got as bad as that.

Oh, and as for the actual game? Well it was a typical post-break match, 5 weeks off and the team was rusty, despite a friendly last week and 2 training sessions. Too many mistakes, giving away the ball, and hopeful rather than sensible passing. The pitch didn’t help, being harder than normal due to the overnight frost, but we shouldn’t make that an excuse.

It was 0-0 at half-time, with only one short corner for either side, and not that many chances, although Blackpool felt they were the stronger side but were struggling to assert their superiority.

Blackpool finally broke the deadlock early in the second half, when James Slater crossed a ball from the right wing, for Nathan Woodman to get a touch in the D, and Dave Morgan finished off. Having taken the advantage it seemed like Blackpool would take control, but Sefton fought on, and probably created more problems late in the second half. Captain, and Man of the Match, Nick Rainbow pulled off some important saves to keep Blackpool in the game and finally to secure the three points.

Let’s hope we don’t see a game like that again, and that we improve, as next week see’s a difficult match up at Lancaster Uni.

(c) Peter Latimer 15/1/12

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