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Gryphon Hockey UK

Gryphon Hockey UK

Mens 2

Captain : Fraser Galloway

Team Photo 2013/14



  02/09/2017   3.30pm   Friendly   Club Game   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  09/09/2017   12.00pm   Friendly   North Notts 2   Nottingham Hockey Centre   2-3
  16/09/2017   2.00pm   Friendly   Derby 2   Nottingham Hockey Centre   4-1
  30/09/2017     Friendly   Mansfield   Away  
  07/10/2017     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Market Harborough    
  14/10/2017   5.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Nuneaton   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  21/10/2017     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   North Notts 2    
  28/10/2017   3.30pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Ashby 2   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  04/11/2017     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Derwent    
  11/11/2017   12.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Buxton   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  18/11/2017     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Derby 2    
  25/11/2017   2.30pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Atherstone Adders   QESSC  
  02/12/2017   3.30pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Sikh Union [Coventry]   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  09/12/2017     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Barton    
  16/12/2017   2.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Leamington   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  13/01/2018   12.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Market Harborough   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  20/01/2018     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Nuneaton    
  27/01/2018   5.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   North Notts 2   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  03/02/2018   1.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Ashby 2   Ivanhoe  
  10/02/2018   12.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Derwent   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  17/02/2018   1.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Buxton   Buxton CS  
  24/02/2018   12.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Derby 2   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  03/03/2018   3.30pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Atherstone Adders   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  10/03/2018     2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Sikh Union [Coventry]    
  17/03/2018   2.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Barton   Nottingham Hockey Centre  
  24/03/2018   12.00pm   2nd XI East Mids. Div. 1   Leamington   NLS  

Last 5 Match reports

A week early for the scarefest.....

Despite a nice Saturday and another outing on the sand the 2s decided that this week was Halloween and dished up a frightful performance which put paid to the hopes that there was something to get out of the game.  Maybe we shifted the clocks a day early?  But for the first 20 minutes we were awful and I think the scoreline not only reflected the dominance of Newark but quite possibly the number of passes we managed to string together in that period.  There were "interesting decisions" being made by players as well as some very below par performances. But we found ourselves 5-0 down and not looking pretty!!  Just before half time we managed to scramble a goal.

Half time chat.  If only we played quarters then we could correct things sooner :-).  The chat was a mix a "encouragement" and tactical tweaks.

The second half was much better and ended up being 1-1 so a final score of 6-2.  There were a lot more positives in the second half as we actually put into practice what we should have done in the first half.  Joe Humphries quite rightly got MoM with an improving performance and to be honest he was one of the few that minimised any mistakes in the first half.  The DoD was Ben Maher who collected a ball to the face whilst making a tackle and had a tooth knocked loose.  In the aftermath of the incident he casually wandered over to the dugout and got his gum shield  out of his bag to hold his tooth in.  Lesson: If you have one wear one!  (This goes for lots of things in life :-)).  For the record Matt Parker and Ben Maher scored.

Learning points from this game are focused around minimising mistakes and actually starting properly and not waiting until half time to get some confirmation!  In an ideal world the game plan will be working in the first half and it can be improved in the second.  At the moment we are off the pace, game and plan in the first and then the half time Sat Nav kicks in and we often look like a different team in the second half!  The side is still a young and not very experienced side but a work in progress has downs as well as ups!

What a difference a few yards makes.....

The 2s set off to play Barton 2s.  We had all been given various instructions by our Logistics Co-Ordinator (aka Dave Thorpe).  These consisted of no location and a location that was wrong.  The no location car ended up at a really nice facility next to Barton HC club house, where we saw some players.  They pointed us in the direction of the pitch a few metres up the drive.  After waiting around for about 20 minutes I wandered back out to the car only to meet someone who recognised me and asked "what are you doing here?"  followed by an answer to a question of "where should we be?" of "in Uttoxeter".  This was a "few miles" down the road! Dash back to the changing room drag the 3 peeps put and dash across country.....

We arrived with enough time to have a chat on the side of the pitch.  Ideally, this would have been longer as due to the available players we were playing a different formation.  So everyone was given the plan and we then set about putting it in to action....

The game was a very even affair with both teams creating chances, but in the first half Barton had the edge mainly through the middle of the park due to a new centre half partnership of Players equivalents of the "Mitchell Brothers" the "Green Brothers" and a very composed young player for them!  They took the lead from a PC which was given after our stand-in Keeper, Alex Henderson, managed to slide challenge their forward win the ball and slide outside of the D with it still in contact with his leg, in the process collecting a green card.  I personally think this was a bit harsh and for the life of me can't remember what the actual Umpire guidance is in this situation but I am pretty certain I have done this in my past and not been penalised in this way, but hey ho!

We regrouped at half time and discussed a couple of things and then we put them in to play.

The second half was much the same as the first, except that we noticeably were able to keep going for longer and the shorter "Green Brother" aka Dave Green managed to bounce on a partial saved PC and casually slotted the ball into the bottom corner.  They had one absolutely gilt edged chance which after the attempted lob from their forward resulted in the following sequence of contacts:

  • Glove save onto bar
  • Bar on to helmet
  • Helmet on to base of far post
  • Forward swish from 6 inches out on to post
  • Defender step in clear to another forward
  • Forward tries to shoot
  • Defender closes down and blocks
  • Defender gets rid of the ball

After this close shave (a bit like the "Green Brothers" haircuts) we composed ourselves and pretty much kept them out of our 25 whilst generating a couple of chances ourselves and the current leading goalscorer Tom Dickin would have been disappointed not to get his chance on target.  The only other action of note was when the taller "Green Brother" (Mark Green) lived up to his name and collected a card for "dissent".  This "dissent" was a muttering after being shoulder barged off the ball.  The closest umpire "missed it" then the other one gave it, Mark Green got a card, the captains were called together and told to "stamp this behaviour out".


As there had been no chat from Players in this game at ANY point and Barton had one bloke told to calm down once, so why it had to escalate with the threat of "yellow for anyone opening their mouth and a green for the Captains as it is your responsibility to control your players" is beyond me! Perhaps the over reaction was due to "missed" incident or professional embarrassment I don't know.  But everyone on the pitch has a responsibility to "control" the situation!

Last point, after the defensive battering that we have had over the last few weeks it was a revelation of a performance by our defence! The youngsters stepped up and looked like different players this week not only in defence but in surging forward and creating overloads and issues for Barton.  It is really good to see this kind of real life play decisions being made and in the most part being made at the right time.  There are things to work on but we are definitely moving in the right direction.  Its Newark this week at Highfields so hopefully we move on up the curve!!!

Why the title?  Well it could relate to the venues, directions or our back fours positioning!

How steep is the learning curve for the Mens 2s?

Depending on what you are trying to learn and how you want to report it the "curve" can go up, down or sigmoid.  There is a school of thought that indicates that the learning of a technical sport, e.g. hockey, is broadly an S shape.  It takes you a while to master the basics, but once you get going you rapidly improve the core skills and then you will plateau out as you reach the top of your game.  So how do you explain leaps in peoples technical ability?  There must be more at play here than the ability to simply trap, pass, hit and flick. What is the "top of your game"?

Well in my experience the journey is not a simple "S-Curve", you will go in surges up steep sides and plateau for a while as you (and your mind) processes and understands what is being asked of you.  At some point you will reach the top, but for most of us we slide up/down a couple of levels and eventually find a place where we feel comfortable.  So what has this got to do with the match against Chesterfield on Saturday 11th October?

I did a bit of research this week on who we were playing and how come they are in our league; well it appears we might have got a promotion, but it is hard to say!  There are 5 teams who were in the division above so did we go up or did they come down, it doesn't actually matter. What it has done is create an environment that could allow the 2s to "step up a level" (where do you think these phrases come from?) on one of their "learning curves".........

What happened in the game?  Well we rocked up and snoozed a little bit and suddenly found ourselves 3-0 down, through a ridiculously simple tactic; smash the ball to your forward who was allowed to receive it and turn, then we back off and let him in the D where he did one of 2 things, he shot or he won a corner.

  • Lesson 1: when you can do so step in front and win the ball before he gets it.
  • Lesson 2: defend each line, stop him turning and don't back off
  • Lesson 3: Cut out the simple mistakes learnt from last weeks but one that must be reinforced
  • Lesson 4: Patience - we don't have to go flying up the pitch every time we win the ball.  There is a time for building and a time for counter attacking
  • Lesson 5:PC Defence, have a plan

They scored a couple more and at half time we were 5-0 down and had only really had a couple of chances but nothing concrete.  A little chat about the learning experiences of the first half (see above) and hey presto look what happens.....

We actually started to create real goal scoring chances and more pleasingly we managed to open our league account for the season with Tom Dickin and Mark Wilson both capitalising in the D.  Yes they scored 3 more but from where we were 2 weeks ago to where we are at the end of this game we are on a different level already.

The team structure was helped by having Will Gunn in the middle of the park (and a guest appearance by Mark Green in centre half roll during the second half) and the fact that Max, Joe and Michael all corrected some of the first half mistakes with considerably better performances in the second half.  The "regulars" from last season were forced to step up and it showed.  What this has done is prove that for 20 mins or so we were able to be as good as one of the higher rated teams.  What do we need to do now?  Keep that level as our "low" marker and keep moving upwards.  Yes mistakes will be made but its how the team react and cope with them that is crucial.

  • Lesson 1: when you can do so step in front and win the ball before he gets it.
    • showed signs of learning in the second half, Max, Joe and Michael snuffed out several attacks further up the pitch
  • Lesson 2: defend each line, stop him turning and don't back off
    • green shoots here, we really need to get stronger
  • Lesson 4: Patience - we don't have to go flying up the pitch every time we win the ball.  There is a time for building and a time for counter attacking
    • Like a different team in the second half. So much so that despite being 5-2 up Chesterfield defended at times with 9 players in their own 25 and were more than happy to smash the ball off the opposite end of the pitch
  • Lesson 5: PC defence
    • Was much better in the 2nd half, I have no idea if we have a plan no longer my responsibility 😉 Over to you Dave.....
  • Lesson 6: clinical in and around the D.
  • Lesson 7: How to deal with a crowded 25 and D

Lesson 7 is good one for all teams to solve.  How do you make "good" goal scoring chances when the D is crowded with players?  There may be a few ways but one really obvious one is to reduce the number of defenders in there.  How do you do that?  One way is to upgrade your D penetration into a PC.  Now as if by magic the attacking team have a numerical advantage (usually!) and a controlled situation where a chance can be created!

So on to next week to see where we are.... Are we on a plateau or are we on curve going up?

Lost - In The Hampton Maze

Early morning rain greeted the early starters on Saturday.  Luckily for us we were playing later on in the day and had glorious October sunshine!  On arrival in Hampton-In-Arden there was slight tinge of disappointment that we didn't find a Royal Palace and famous maze but then we realised that Sat Navs aren't really fallible devices and probably didn't send us to the wrong place.

Looking around the changing room it is clear that the Mens 2s are going to be a team in transition this year!  There were hardly any faces from last seasons side and the new ones were youngsters!  This is a compliment to the club that we are producing players that are looking to progress up the teams.  We knew very little about the opposition so just discussed our game plan and how we were going to play.

I'll mention the "issue" that has been talked about as it did over shadow the rest of the game.  Dougie managed to "Traffic Light" himself about 15 mins into the second half, which resulted in us having to play a large portion of the game with only 10 players.  The Umpire was completely justified in the actions taken and everyone in the Club needs to make sure that we don't reinforce the "image" that some people in the Midlands have about Our Club.  We can do this by managing our own performance and attitude on the pitch.  we MUST get on with the game, we MUST remember the Umpires give up their free time so that we can play the game in a managed environment, we MUST remember that everyone makes mistakes, so before you complain about a decision, think have I made a mistake yet?  If the answer is yes then shut up.  if the answer is no then shut up, because by the end of the game you are guaranteed to have made one!  On with the game.....

Well the final score was a 5-0 loss. But that didn't truly reflect how even this game was.  Yes they were better and deserved the win, but as a work in progress we did well.  We created several chances and won several PCs and this is where the changing of the guard in the team is hurting us.  We need to identify who is going to be our attacking threats and build then encourage them!  After the game during the paperwork session the Umpires did comment on how well we played and they thought the score line was more a result of the situation rather than over whelming dominance.

During the game we built several phases of play and it was the occasional poor decision that was letting us down.  The problem at the moment is that when we make these poor decisions we are doing them around our 25 and not the oppositions 25;  this quite simply allows them to attack and cause problems too quickly.  The 2 Daves both played well with the padded version making several good saves, the more mobile version working well in the middle of the pitch and deservedly winning MoM.  The DoD was an obvious one but there were other contenders so this season could see this award swinging this and that in the 2s!

All-in-all an OK start to the league campaign but we can expect more games like this and we will need to improve as 5 of the league teams we will be playing this year have come from the division above there are some candidates for the proverbial 6 pointers all we can do is rock up and do our thing and the results will come!



Do as I say not as I do.......

In a previous life I used to write the match reports for the other teams that I played in but something has changed.....  I used to write them whilst stood at the back watching the game from behind a mask, the series of reports were titled "Behind The Mask" a title I nicked from the biography of a childhood hero, Ian Taylor, he was someone who opened my eyes to the kind of crazy things a Keeper could do and more importantly the  level of commitment that is needed to achieve anything that you set your mind to!

Right that's enough of the romantising.....

The last friendly of the season was against Boots 3rd XI; in an open league structure I would put them above us so we had set ourselves another challenging target! Looking to build on the awesome performance by the youngsters who are coming through the club they were all selected again and bolstered by a couple of 1s players (who didn't have a game) we set about our job.

The first half was a very even affair and both sides had good chances they won a 'slightly controversial' PC which they converted, not to be down hearted we carried on doing our game plan, we had shots and chances but kept not quite finishing. Half time arrived and we were only 1-0 down so not much to say...... Really, there is always something to work on!

There was the reinforcement of what we are trying to do and a couple of minor points we needed to correct.

Well we corrected it! Pressure on them, turnovers generated in all areas of the pitch and eventually they cracked and we won a PS. From the side line one of the young guns was nominated and David Bond slotted it home. Whilst he was doing that the team huddled up and was made to listen to the "chat" Boots were getting which provided an insight in to what we had done well!!

The next 10 mins or so was pretty even, but eventually our inexperience was set to tell and their quickest and most influential forward managed to create a couple of really good chances from which he scored and won and converted another PC. Not to be out done we kept on doing what we set out to do and forced their Keeper into a couple of pretty smart saves and generally made the "easy life" they might have expected being 3-1 up a figment of their imagination.

The last 10 minutes proved that they were that touch better as they scored three more goals.

But we had done a good job, we stuck to what we set out to do and the work rate and composure of some of the youngs guns was excellent to see!

Next week we start the league campaign with a trip to Hampton-in-Arden, no idea where they are, who they are or how they play.

Why the title of the post? Well when one of the senior players and coach rocks up 15 minutes before the pushback what else is there to say 😉