Bradfield 1 Charterhouse 4
Thursday 20th October saw Charterhouse’s final game before the half-term break and the trip to Bradfield had the most remarkable start. After just two minutes the score stood at 2-1 to the visitors and thoughts were already turning towards the extraordinary 10-6 hockey match of the previous February.
Fraser Payne gave Charterhouse the lead with the first kick of the match: spotting the Bradfield goalkeeper off his line he shot direct from Charlie Rogers’s kick-off and the hapless ‘keeper could only help the ball into the net as he back-pedalled. Bradfield had still not got over the shock when Alec McClean turned a Charlie Kimmins throw into the net. There was only one minute on the clock and already the visitors had a two-goal lead.
Remarkably, the hosts hit back instantly: Max Lange in the Charterhouse goal could only parry a shot from the edge of the penalty area and two Bradfield players fought over who would turn the ball into the net. For the next twenty minutes Bradfield ran the Charterhouse midfield ragged with their outstanding movement and precise passing. The visitors’ defence held firm, however, and slowly their midfield began to achieve, if not dominate, at least a level of parity.
As the half wore on, it was Charterhouse who looked the more like scoring and, on the half-hour mark, they did just that. Payne threaded an inch-perfect pass through to Rogers and Kimmins gleefully struck his strike partner’s lay-off into the bottom corner.
Charterhouse led 3-1 at half-time and it was they who produced most of the chances after the break. The Bradfield ‘keeper had to save smartly from Sam Evans, McClean and Kimmins but he could do nothing about Charterhouse’s fourth goal. An attempted shot from Evans was deflected into the path of Tim Downes and the Charterhouse stalwart finished coolly from ten yards.
After the frenzy of the first half, the second was a much more subdued affair. Charterhouse’s best chance in the last twenty minutes was well struck by Tom Gallyer but blocked by Rogers who, to add insult to injury, was in an offside position. Bradfield were restricted to two free-kicks from just outside the penalty box both of which flew safely over the bar.
It had been a well-contested game between two sides who played good passing football and, after the crazy first two minutes, the only difference between the two teams was the extra sharpness of the Charterhouse attack. Bradfield are a young team who will be a real force next year. Charterhouse, meanwhile, can go off on their break – most of the side will be touring the USA for the next ten days – more than satisfied with their efforts over the first half of term, but knowing too that there is much still to do if they are to be as successful as they hope.