Selwyn Men’s Hockey 1 – 2 St. Catherine’s Men’s Hockey
After losing 8-1 to St. Catherine’s in the Cuppers final, Selwyn were out for revenge in what was their least league fixture of Michaelmas term. On a leafy but sunny remembrance Sunday, the two sides paid their respects with a minute’s silence before the start of the game.
It was St. Catherine’s who started off the better of the two teams. Selwyn were pegged back and an excellent rearguard action kept the score level. Max downing saved brilliantly in a one-on-one situation, he really has improved this term. Stand-in centre back Yuning Zhuo also thwarted multiple St. Catherine’s attacks, and formed a pivotal part of the defensive passing network along with the assured Sam Webb. Selwyn were unable to hold out for too long through, a good run down the baseline and a rebounded shot off Max Downing resulted in the ball being turned into the Selwyn net. Was a repeat trouncing on the cards?
Shortly after, Selwyn showed the fight to prove that it wasn’t. James Ferrier was able to hold the ball up excellently on halfway, before finding captain Adam Shafiq in a new, unfamiliar left-wing position. He played the ball to Duncan Parry who surged into the area. His lofted shot was saved by the keeper, as the ball bounced quickly off the keeper’s pads, Adam Shafiq was able to react quickly enough on the run to bounce the ball home. Not too unlike a cricketer punching a shot through mid-wicket. In truth, Selwyn were lucky to be level at half time, but after the break, they were able to come into the game and dominated territorially. James Ferrier at the tip of the press was able to shadow the St. Catherine’s centre backs, allowing midfielders Richard Wang and George Phillips to win the ball back when cracks started to appear.
It was St. Catherine’s who decisively took the lead however, a surging run from a midfielder beat multiple Selwyn players, and a fierce drive found the bottom corner. In the moments that followed, Nicholas Wheeler made an excellent recovery tackle to prevent the score from becoming 3-1. Selwyn’s big chance to tie the game came in its dying embers. After Adam Shafiq had broken into the area and won a short corner, man of the match George Phillips powerfully flicked the ball goalward. Selwyn players expected the roof of the net to bulge, however the St. Catherine’s goalkeeper had other ideas. They flung their stick towards the ball, turning it around the post. As the game ended, Selwyn were able to reflect on the fine margins that had prevented them from stealing a point. They could also reflect on the fine form they’ve shown this season however, and as Cambridge’s third best hockey college, they can look to break into the top 2 next term.
A heroic performance from a makeshift squad made up of some seven players who “sort of play in midfield” resulted in a well contested 1-1 draw with Robinson IIs on Sunday. Incredibly the usual shortage of players was replaced by a severe selection headache as no less than 17 eager players descended upon Fullbrooke road until one player decided that 16 was enough and headed back to Selwyn for an early bath.
But it wasn’t just about quantity; Selwyn provided plenty of quality on the pitch as they dominated the entire first half, opting for unplanned but impeccably executed pressing game to counter the opposition’s obsession with passing along their back four. But against the run of play and mostly due to a lapse of any sort of marking in Selwyn’s midfield allowed the Robinson captain time and space to arrow a shot into the top corner. Selwyn heads didn’t drop and were soon level after Tom Higgins Toon magnificently robbed their keeper and, despite a blatant foul, rolled the ball into the net. There was an unexpected call for a penalty and a yellow card, but Selwyn chose to take the goal instead.
Changes at halftime did not stop the Selwyn onslaught as they carved out numerous chances but could not find the final pass. Legs tired and suddenly Robinson mounted a series of attacks which were repelled by a resolute defence. Highlights include oppositions inquiries as to whether this was netball or basketball after committing a foul – their confusion would at least explain the quality of their game – and Daniel Clark’s tackle timed to perfection on the miserable winger, who is probably still on his back asking for a freekick. Selwyn might feel that they should have secured two more points, but it’s still more than the 1sts have managed in over a season and the future is looking bright for the division’s underdogs.
Selwyn Men’s Hockey 4 – 1 Trinity-Fitz Men’s Hockey
Once again, injury was unable to stop a makeshift Selwyn as they marched to three consecutive wins. Despite the fact that they were reduced to 10 players, Selwyn played well as were deserving winners.
The first half started in a cagey manner, with both teams feeling each other out. Selwyn took the lead through captain Adam Shafiq, he was played in by George Phillips and drove into the area, his shot rebounded off the keeper and he was able to flick the ball into the net. Selwyn could have doubled their league before the break but were perhaps lucky to stay out in front, makeshift goalkeeper (dangerman) Dan Hyman made good saves to keep Selwyn out in front. Octave Masson revelled in his new right-back position, often finding himself in space and being able to surge forward and create chances.
Selwyn were able to double their lead early in the second half. Good link-up play between Phil Marriott and Octave Masson ended with George Phillips being able to turn the ball home. It was his sixth goal of a season only four games old. Trinity and Fitzwilliam colleges were able to pick from around 1050 undergraduates, Selwyn have 380. Trinity and Fitzwilliam could have all of the undergraduates in England to choose from, yet they still wouldn’t be able to pick George.
When Trinity-Fitz pulled a goal back, Selwyn heads did not drop. Dan Hyman was unlucky to concede, he made some excellent saves towards the end of the game in his first appearance in goal. Selwyn’s 2 goal lead was re-established by James Ferrier, a good ball from Octave Masson past the goalkeeper reached James Ferrier who beat the defender to the ball and bumbled it home. He doubled his account in much more emphatic style minutes later however, after being played into the box he hit the ball home, not giving the opposition goalkeeper enough time to save the ball. The same keeper was Trinity-Fitz’s best player, had a different player been in goal the scoreline could have been much more emphatic.
Selwyn defended well to close the game out. Yuning Zhou played well in an unfamiliar centre-back position, Sam Webb was once again excellent again just hours after a long-distance run, but the pick of the bunch (and man of the match) was Nicholas Wheeler. He tackled, chased and passed astutely, refusing to put a foot wrong throughout. Richard Wang also defended well and found good spaces as the game was closed out.
This was Selwyn’s third league win in a row, meaning they now rank as the third best college hockey team in Cambridge. They have won their last two without key centre-back Elliot Wilde, maybe he’ll struggle to get back into the side when he returns to his full complement of hamstrings, even if Selwyn have fewer than 11 players.
9-man Selwyn were forced to fight like lions as they overcame a personnel deficit to beat Emmanuel College. Due to a freak spell of injuries to key players, friends visiting and general laziness, only 9 players of Selwyn’s sixteen-man squad were available for this fixture. This meant extra running, and in the 20-degree heat this was tough.
Emmanuel started the game well, they pegged Selwyn back and would have made their man advantage pay had it not been for some smart saves from Max Downing. It soon became clear that Selwyn would have a lot of chasing in their own half, and any chances they had would come from breakaways. Their first breakaway almost resulted in a goal, George Phillips won the ball deep resulting in Octave Masson, George Phillips, Adam Shafiq and Phil Marriot surging forward like the red arrows and despite good interplay, they were unlucky not to score. They would not be denied next time however, the ball was worked to George Phillips who went on to finish from close range. Selwyn then doubled their lead before half time, it was George Phillips who again won the ball high up the pitch and showed his quality by finishing after taking the ball around several opposition defenders. Octave Masson was unlucky not to score Selwyn’s third goal just before half time, his reverse stick shot was saved.
Despite their lead at half time, Selwyn were tiring in the heat and decided to sit even deeper in the second half and preserve the lead they had. Makeshift centre-back Richard Wang was fearless and despite the 10k that Sam Webb had run only an hour before pushback, he was also excellent. Nicholas Wheeler made crucial tackles but Selwyn’s man of the match was Harry King, he made pivotal interceptions and despite it being his first full appearance he looked as comfortable as players who’ve been playing for years.
Phil Marriot made it three for Selwyn midway through the second-half. He chased tirelessly all game and his goal was no exception. He forced a mistake from the Emmanuel defender before getting into the area and finishing well. Selwyn then looked to close the game out and did so effectively. A speculative Emmanuel shot took a wicked deflection of Richard Wang’s stick before looping over goalkeeper Max Downing to reduce the arrears. In truth, he was unlucky not to get the clean sheet that he richly deserved.
When the final whistle sounded, Selwyn faces were contented. There had been no injuries, no laziness yet there had been friendships. Brothers in arms fighting for a common goal. Their victory was very much deserved and they will look to make it three wins in a row next week.