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1st XI Hockey

1st XI Hockey:  Tonbridge 7 Eton 3
(Shaw Stewart 2, Arwas)

This was an extraordinary encounter. The home side, unbeaten this season and through to the semi-finals of the national competition, produced a devastating period of attacking hockey to take a 6-0 lead after just thirty minutes. Those 6 goals came from 7 shots, including 3 powered short corners, a reverse stick strike from the edge of the circle and a deliberate deflection. The Eton side always knew that Tonbridge, visibly brimming with confidence following a wonderful run of results, would attack hard from the start, and that Eton would require 20 minutes to become accustomed to the water-based Astroturf, but 4 goals had been conceded by that time. One has to give credit to the opposition for their technical ability and clinical finishing, but goals 4 and 5 were soft and came back to haunt Eton in the second half. Eton will have learnt that errors are punished and that damage limitation is crucial in such periods, whilst the ship is being steadied.

The second half response was magnificent. Tonbridge possessed 3 exceptional players, but Arwas and MacInnes nullified 2 of them, whilst the third lapsed into errors. Possession and territory moved in Eton’s favour. Karslake, Holden, Arwas and Shaw Stewart interchanged well, resulting in several short corner awards. Shaw Stewart swept one in to pull back a goal, Arwas followed him and then Shaw Stewart again to make it 6-3. Another well executed Tonbridge deflection from a quickly taken free hit gave the final score.

This was the first time that these players had been exposed to this level of hockey and it yielded a salutary lesson. Naturally downcast after the experience, they now know what it takes to compete against the best that UK schools have to offer, and that such a level can be achieved with discipline. A victory at Windsor Boys’ on Tuesday will equal the best ever season for an Eton hockey 1st XI.

TA

DATE POSTED: 14 March 2009

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