Sam Carne (D07)
Nick Wood (04g) in a recent OC Hockey Match
Old Carthusians Win the Haileybury Sixes National Old Boys Hockey Tournament
Sunday, 7 October 2012
Due to the fresh interest that has been generated this year to play for the Old Carthusian Hockey Club, a team was entered for the first time in the Haileybury Sixes Tournament in Hertfordshire. With a squad of only seven out of a possible twelve, preparation could have been better, but the players present were a useful combination of youthful enthusiasm and experienced old-hands. Debutants for the OCs were Josh Doble (S12) in goal, a rising star at Teddington Hockey Club, and James Farquarson (W06) who despite having not played hockey since the rules changed a couple of years ago, showed no signs of rustiness as he proved more than able playing in both defence and attack. The first half of the tournament was a group stage with the OCs up against old boys’ teams from Wellington, Felsted and Canford.
The first match against the Old Wellingtonians was a nervy encounter, with the OCs twice squandering their lead and being profligate with their chances in front of goal. However, the last play of the game, a cross from Matthew Cook (G02) which allowed Chris Gray (H07) to find space in the D to lift it over the keeper, ensured a narrow 3-2 victory. The second match was against an experienced Felsted outfit, but an assured performance by Nick Wood (g04) in the midfield allowed him to dictate the flow of the game and score two goals to add to the one he scored in the first game. Matthew Cook managed to score a fine goal by sending a hit from the top of the D into the top right hand corner. The final group game came against Canford, who were also unbeaten going into the match. By now the OCs’ legs had begun to tire due to having only one replacement, but their determination remained strong. The undoubted highlight of the game was Tom Katte (L07) making a charge from defence to send a first time shot into the roof of the net past the flailing Canford keeper. This goal proved crucial as the winner, as the score finished at 1-0 to put the OCs top of their group going into the semi-final. Canford threw all they had at the OCs but the defence of Sam Carne (D07), James Farquarhson and Tom Katte remained unbeaten.
Next came the semi-final against the hosts Haileybury. The OCs’ attack finally found a ruthless finishing streak which put them three goals up early in the encounter. Sam Carne’s ability to pluck possession off onrushing attackers and to counterattack immediately had been a useful asset to the team’s attacking options throughout the tournament. However, in the knockout stages he took on a new role as provider, by creating vital chances for Nick Wood and Chris Gray. The score finished 5-0 with Wood and Gray sharing the goals and the team buoyant heading into the final against Old St Edwardians.
Old St Edwardians were a much harder proposition than anything else the OCs had thus far faced in the tournament, since they had thrashed the opposition in their previous matches and had players who were national league calibre. At first the match looked like it could be another easy encounter for them as they scored an early goal. However, a goal from Gray levelled the score but despite the OCs’ best efforts to go into the lead they conceded two more quick goals due to clinical finishing, to go 3-1 down. Gray added two more goals though through effective counter attacking, to once again peg back the Old St Edwardians. Unfortunately, with moments left in the game the opposition once again took the lead, but yet again the OCs refused to stay down and Nick Wood again scored a vital goal to send the exciting encounter into golden goal extra time. The OCs had almost managed the most unlikely of victories after Nick Wood slipped Gray into a one-on-one with the keeper but the last defender tripped him from behind before he had a chance to shoot whilst the umpire waved play on. With extra-time being golden goal, the OCs gave it everything they had to try and win, even Matthew Cook was seen getting back to defend at times. Fortunately Josh Doble held strong in goal from the relentless Old St Edwardians’ forays into the OC half. A glimmer of hope was given to the OCs when Nick Wood won a penalty corner from using impressive skills on the ball to draw a foul. It turned out to be all the OCs needed though, with Wood scoring from his eponymous penalty corner routine the “Woody”, which had been perfected on the astro at Charterhouse in his school years.
Winning the tournament was a proud moment for the team. Gray and Wood had managed an impressive 15 out of the 17 goals the OCs scored but each player’s contribution was equally vital. Special thanks go to our captain Sam Carne for leading the side on the day but more importantly for undertaking the large amount of time and effort it requires to organise the OCs’ Hockey side.