Business As Usual Resumes
By Mark Farmer-Wright
Business As Usual Resumes
The Men’s 1st team returned to the dizzying heights of Division 3NE with an away trip to Newmarket.
Having come off the back of an unbeaten season anyone could argue that the off season break was well earned. However, with 2 week’s worth of solid (debatable) preseason under their belts, which mainly consisted of running up and down the cliffs of Overstrand the men were looking forward to getting back on flat turfed ground. Whilst all the players are more than accustomed to Division 3NE, an away trip to Newmarket did everything but give the players a warm and fuzzy feeling, a fixture riddled with history of double figure drubbings and a volume of cards to match, this really was a “welcome back” fixture.
The first whistle of the season went and North Norfolk were out from the blocks fast, with every player busily hurrying and pressurising their opposite number, stuff “The Klopp Effect” this was the beginnings of “The Miles Effect” the new club captain for 2018/19. The first period of possession saw some good link-work from the middle of the park and Jim Barker on the left, Eddie Sadler-Barker looked to thread a ball into D, a deflection into a crowded area saw Mark Farmer-Wright win the first short corner of the game.
Already pre-prepped with routines in the armoury, such as Hendo’s Nose and Jimmy’s Balls, the 1sts were more than prepared. The first injection going straight to Jimmy Barker on the top left of the D, who showed in training that he could unleash the beast with a venemous flick. In almost slow motion Jimmy shaped up to send a rocket into the top right corner of the net, but the silver bullet came in the form of a miss-stroked bouncing bobbler that found its way under the keeper to set North Norfolk up with a 100% ratio to start the season.
Newmarket however, didn’t blush at this point, although probably should have done only minutes later as sticking to their game plan of a half court press being 1-0 down could only have come out of a misinterpretation of “Hockey Tactics for Dummies”.
North Norfolk’s work rate continued, winning battles all over the pitch, with Andrew Whitby and Ben Miles continually winning the ball back in the middle and distributing out wide to Hammond and Barker who terrorised their opposite numbers. Henry Sayer’s movement at the top of the pitch created plenty of openings, and created some fantastic chances which were thwarted by a resolute Newmarket centre-back. But it was the continous pressure of these chances which eventually got to the centre-back, who failed to clear first time and presented the opportunity for Farmer-Wright to flick into the right-hand corner of the goal whilst the centre-back simultaneously blind sighted the goalkeeper.
For a short period of time North Norfolk switched off completely, and were punished for doing so, with Newmarket putting in a long ball to their forward who found themselves with plenty of time and space to rocket one home at close range leaving Dale Bartram with no chance of recovering for the team. For a period of time it looked as though Newmarket could find a second, but Dale Bartram kept the doors well and truly closed, having saved 3 or 4 well hit shots in a row.
Heads switched back on, and Ollie Whitwood started play out from the back quickly, with Whitby moving the ball on in equally quick fashion, Farmer-Wright held up the play with some space and sent the ball onto Eddie Sadler-Barker who put in some tremendous legwork to make the most of the available space before sliding in a pin point cross for Sayer to slide into the net in trade mark fashion. The well worked move was received with shock and praise from the opposition and their crowd who will have been delighted with this feast for the eyes as by this stage their munchies will have well and truly set in from smoking what I’m sure really was for medical reasons.
Half time arrived, with Miles urging his players to continue to punish the bizarre half court press which was unbelievably insulting to him and the game. North Norfolk continued to fashion chances throughout the half, and the back line of Kevin Hart, Ollie Whitwood and Callum Gibson (in a new role) were solid as ever. The forth goal, again came through some fantastic work from Sayer who hit a 45 degree angled run cutting through the Newmarket midfield and defence like a hot knife through butter, Sayer reached the D leaving scrambling Newmarket players in his wake and sent the ball onwards to the far post. Whilst it’s still debatable whether it was on target or not, Farmer-Wright’s eyes lit up at the prospect of an easy tap-in and did so in (probably) world-class fashion.
Another sleepy period, saw Newmarket punish North Norfolk again as they continued play whilst the Norfolk boys were more concerned about establishing whether Hammond’s knee colour was more a shade of Pillar Box Red or Ruby.
Following this, the game was all North Norfolk’s and after a scrappy bit of play in the D, Ben Miles couldn’t it take any longer and swooped in to finish the game with a lifted shot above the keeper and into the roof of the net.
A solid 5-2 win to return to Division 3NE was more than was expected, and the boys can be pleased with the result and the performance. Barring a couple of sleepy periods, it was a professional and clinical performance which sees the boys return to their winning ways…Business as usual resumes!