Gravesham and Wellcome Mens 3rd XI

Match date: 25/09/21
Opposition: Gravesham and Wellcome Mens 3rd XI
Home or away: Away
Result: 0-6
Scorers: Lipscombe S (2), McHallum (2), Skipper A, Wowczuk
Man/ Woman of the Match Nick Porter and Kevin Antao
Match Reporter Steve Lipscombe

What a superb return to league hockey for the 2s. On the face of it, this was a difficult fixture: as well as an 18 month lay off to get over, GW are notoriously tough opposition, Beccs were without a regular keeper and only five players remained from the class of 2019. But if this team was playing together for the first time, you wouldn't have known it. From push back New Beccs largely remained camped in the opposition half. Boris Wowczuk and Andrew Skip started up front, rotating with Danny Mac and supported by Yuval Geffen and Nick Porter on the outside of midfield. Daniel and Yuval constantly shredded the opposition defence, whilst Martin Telling and Steve Lipscombe were tasked with keeping GW's no 34, a tricky midfield general, out of the game. Nick looked comfortable and was clearly enjoying himeself with some close dribbling in front of the defence. The backline of Mustafa Khan, Dan Bishop, Chris Baker and the ever-youthful Kevin Antao returning in a New Beccs shirt after a 10+ year absence, looked impregnable. And so it proved, with new Beccs finishing the half three goals to the good without goalkeeping vounteer, Hugh Willoughby, having to touch the ball. The first goal came after about 10 minutes of constant pressure from New Beccs; Lipscombe picked up the ball in a central position five yards outside the D. He slipped it left to Boris, who stepped into the D and slightly mis-hit his shot to outfox the keeper. The second followed shortly afterwards as our youth element combined, Yuval set up Danny Mac who rounded the keeper for a classy finish. Modesty prevents me from reporting fully on Beccs next finish; it was a solo effort from Lipscombe who anticipated a clearance and stepped in front of no 34 to intercept the ball just outside the opposition 23. You can get the gist of what happended next from the Whatsapp exchange between Chris Baker and retired 2s keeper Rob Byrne in the featured image for this report here: New Beccs should really have been more than three up at half time, with numerous penalty corners proving fruitless and off-season rust seeing Andrew Skip narrowly missing a hatrick of chances. In the second half GW were stronger and Hugh was called into action on several occasions, performing faultlessly like a seasoned keeper. The defence was unbreakable despite a handful of well taken short corners for GW and it wasn't too long before Beccs scored again. Andrew finally found his range when a well-worked approach found him at his usual station in poacher's corner near the left-hand post; he placed the ball from a tight angle across the oncoming keeper onto the inside of the opposite upright. Andrew was involved again, when a trademark pinpoint deadball strike from Kevin inside the New Beccs half, found him at the top of the home side's D. Lipscombe ran left and Andrew slipped the ball to him as a defender stepped up; Lipscombe nutmegged the keeper for a second time. Daniel put away the sixth and his second, with a finish similar to Andrew's neatly across the keeper from close range. Special thanks to our travelling support including Lipscombe's Gravesend family - dad, Cyril (aged 92), sister Elaine, niece Stephanie and Highland Terrier, Lola. One spectator was heard to comment, the youngsters were terrific but the old farts also showed their experience. That probably sums it up quite nicely. A fantastic team performance. There were several nominations for man of the match but honours were shared between Nick Porter and Kevin Antao.