The Glenwood and Hilton College 1st hockey teams engaged in an entertaining clash in very hot conditions on the Three Schools’ Trust Turf in Durban on Saturday, reports KZN10.com’s Brad Morgan.
(Due to a lack of numbers to go with the players’ names from one side and numbers that did not align with the players from the other on the team sheets, I am unable to identify the players by name, which is unfortunate.)
The sides started out rather cautiously, with both employing a half-court press. Hilton, though, sent their attackers a little higher and wider up the field, which allowed them to stretch the Glenwood defenders out enough to create slightly more space. This also allowed them to enjoy the majority of the possession in the first half.
Midfield was a battleground, with both sides doing a good job of closing down the receivers in that area of the field. Both coaches would surely have liked to see a quicker transition of the ball when it reached the middle of the park, but Hilton did manage to muster some opportunities while keeping Glenwood pinned in their half.
In the early going, matters were very tight in the midfield, with both sides putting the other’s ball-carriers under heavy pressure. (All photos: Brad Morgan, KZN10.com)
It took a while, but Hilton, on the balance of play, took a deserved lead, thanks to a swift counter after what until that point was a rare Glenwood attack. They exited from their 16 quickly and let the ball go to the right wing, who, given plenty of open field in which to attack, ran hard at the scrambling Glenwood defence.
Cleverly, as he cut in near the circle, instead of trying to dribble the covering defender, he simply flipped the ball past him, pinned his ears back and chased it. Another Glenwood defender was flying across towards the near-side post, but the Hilton man got there first, diving to knock a square ball across to the striker, who managed to get stick to ball a fraction of a second before the Glenwood ‘keeper, who had laid out to try to reach it.
The ball flew high and sweetly into the back of the net and Hilton were in the lead.
Hilton College score the opening goal as their striker knocks the ball past a despairing dive from the Glenwood goalkeeper.
While it was mostly about Hilton in the opening stanza, Glenwood showed flashes up front on the counter-attack, causing a problem or two for the Hilton defence, which was, for the most part, solid.
The match opened up after the break. Interestingly, Hilton had changed their defensive approach and were pressuring Glenwood higher up the field, which meant the game was no longer as compact as it had been and thus there was more space to work in.
It was similar, though, in the fact that Hilton were enjoying the majority of the ball possession.
But Glenwood then made good use of the more open play. They launched a quick counter down the left wing after turning over possession and were duly rewarded when they found a foot in the Hilton circle.
The home team’s industry at last paid off when they scored off of a drag flick that had some serious heat behind it, making the score 1-1.
Glenwood showed no shortage of skill in the midfield, but a well-organised Hilton team, for the most part, kept them at bay.
They barely had time to celebrate that goal, however, as Hilton hit back quickly. They attacked down the right flank, this time carrying the ball along the baseline, which drew the goalkeeper to cover his post. When the ball was slipped back, the goalie was beaten and the Hilton striker had a tap-in for the second goal of the game.
Goal number two for Hilton was a simple tap-in after a sharp attack down the Glenwood baseline opened up the chance for the striker to grab a brace.
The third goal, which truly broke the contest open, came from a penalty corner awarded to Hilton.
At previous penalty corners, they had come close to adding to their tally off of a couple of variations, but all it took in the end was a straight shot. Rob Haynes let rip and the Glenwood goalie was unable to get his gloves together in time, just to his right, to stop the ball from crossing the line.
Glenwood threw themselves onto the attack as time wound down, asking questions of the Hilton backline, but the boys from the Midlands had the answers they needed and came away with a hard-fought 3-1 win.