IT WAS A CASE OF GOALS, GOALS, GOALS as Old Southendian Hockey Club’s numerous men’s and women’s teams got their competitive campaigns underway.
The onion bag bulged on no less than 36 occasions for the Warners Bridge-based club. The men’s first XI won an entertaining clash with local rivals, Havering, by six goals to three.
Old Southendian 1st XI surged to an opening day victory against local rivals Havering in an emphatic 6-3 win. The first came from Liam Peoples with a drag flick, quickly followed by a goal from former GB player Jonty Clarke who has returned to his hometown club for the 2019/2020 season as player-coach.
Havering pulled one back before Tim Robinson scored again to go into the break 3-1 up.
Giles Davies scored the fourth for the Old Boys, while debutant goalkeeper, John Hawke kept Havering at bay with several great saves.
Havering eventually sneaked a second, but Robinson was able to quickly respond. Captain Alfie Hibbard took the total to 6, with a close-range effort. Havering again responded with a final goal to finish up 6-3. Speaking after the match, skipper, Hibbard said: “That was a great way to start, and exciting game, but we finished deserved victors.”
The Old Boys second XI started life in Div3SE with an emphatic 11-3 win against Witham’s first XI.
Josh Copeland scored four times and James Beardwell three. There was a brace from Stuart MacDonald while Callum Barber and Toby Jordan also chipped in. Captain Jack Stevenson, enthused: “This is the perfect game to start the season.”
The incredible goals-fest didn’t end there. The men’s third XI thrashed Saffron Walden 9-0. Will Malcolm hit five, while there was one apiece from Fessey, Mehta, Storer and Upton. New captain, Noel Smith, was delighted with his charges, explaining: “It was a fantastic team performance all round. The defence was solid and we created chances from every position.”
Four goals without reply followed from the Old Boys 4th XI as another of Witham’s teams endured a rough afternoon. Clark, J Nash, Miller and A Nash all on target. Simon Jackson said: “A dominant performance, our goalkeeper only had one save to make.”
The fifth XI won by the odd goal in five at Crostyx 4ths with goals from Heritage (2) and Tim Goddard. Meanwhile, a youthful sixth XI – including three debutants – was beaten 1-0 at home to Saffron Walden.
Old Southendian’s Ladies were also up and running with their depleted first XI seeing off Basildon by the odd goal in three.
Amy Elvidge went close, but Anna Cooper was on hand, picking up the pieces to sweep the Old Girls ahead.
Basildon broke through just before the break. However, a spirited second-half showing was rewarded when Anna Williams tapped home a short corner at the far post. Buoyant captain, Emily Robinson, said, “It was a mixture of relief and joy at the final whistle – what a great start to the season.”
The Ladies 2nd XI couldn’t contain a strong London Royals who are quickly rising through the leagues – eventually succumbing to a 2-0 defeat. However, captain Ros Jackson said, “I was very happy with the team and I know they will bounce back next week.”
The Old Southendian Ladies third XI completed a fairly successful day with a single-goal success over Havering.