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M2 Open their Account in Style

Stroud A 8 Cleevillians A 3

Goalscorers:Tim Norman (3), Rob Gleed (2), Craig Wathen, Liam Tunney, Zac Lees

A new pitch and a new season materialised on Saturday. Stroud Hockey Club, sponsored by Ecotricity for another year, were joined by Stroud District Council to celebrate Stratford Park Leisure Centre’s first matches on the new surface. To be fair, Stroud Men’s 1st XI, played the opening match but, in truth, it was the 2nd XI who set it alight ! The usual start of season availability issues aside, Stroud’s side looked sound on paper. With Derek Pittaway in the role of manager, Tim Norman led his side into the friendly late summer opener, looking to avoid injury and pass the ball around in style. The presence of Liam Tunney at centre mid was a real asset. His experience and vision soon began to show. Craig Wathen shared the centre with him, but was given a more attacking agenda, while a fit-looking Rob Dove and eager Rob Gleed provided good opportunities down the left and right flanks. Norman belied his age up front with Zac Lees, a player 30 years younger. Stroud passed the ball around well, looking confident and determined. A spread of ages from 19 to 48 produced flair and control. Wathen’s early flurries offered early signs of greatness to come. Reg Gealer looked measured at left back and Alan Edwards was like a dog on a leash at centre back, always looking to break out. Sam Cathie in goal made several important stops and Andy Hines was a welcome addition to the defence. It was Mr Gleed who opened Stroud’s account. The early pressure finally told as he cleaned up after a half-clearance. Shortly afterwards, Wathen worked his magic in the D before tucking the ball into the corner. Tunney’s fine work gave him a shot from top D. Bound for the keeper’s pads, it was deflected into the top corner by Norman. Probably the move of the game followed. Six passes out of defence, down the left to Dove, across and into the path of Tunney to finish off a wonderful move. Tunney then fired in a fine pass to Norman whose stop, turn and shot into the left corner was too quick for the keeper. Cleevillians struck back, 3 times to be precise. It could have worried Stroud, but they were unfazed. Pittaway came on for Hines at left back, testing his ankle for the first time since an operation, and he looked sound alongside Andy Murray in defence.

The second half saw further developments, Stroud seemingly making space all over the pitch. Plenty of movement gave Pittaway, Murray and Gealer many passing opportunities and Stroud were not afraid to retain possession. Gleed scored a second, a cracking finish from the right. Then it was Gealer who fired in the perfect ball to Norman to deflect high into the net. Lees got his just reward for all his hard work at last, finishing off another fine move.

It may have been the first friendly of the season and a month away from the League opener, but the signs were there for good things to come. With players returning from holiday, the presence of Tunney in midfield, Pittaway directing, youngsters to return and experience all round, Stroud should be looking to put out strong teams for 2nd XI and 3rd XI games this season. A fine start indeed, and a nice way to christen the new playing surface. Well done, guys !

This entry was posted on 07 September 2011 at 14:12 and is filed under Mens 2XI | Match Reports | Mens 1XI. You can leave a response here.

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