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1st XI Hockey: Eton 1 Radley 2

An undercooked Eton side lacking match fitness almost hung on for the draw, but the Radley winner two minutes from time was deserved.

This was the first year since 2005 when Eton had not toured, and snowy conditions and a relatively late start back to school scuppered meaningful preparation.

Radley, confident from a Spanish trip and virtually fielding last year’s side, looked more assured, more familiar with one another and better adapted to this year’s rule changes, notably the ‘self-pass’. Their opening goal, from a short corner on the quarter hour, was not unexpected, but Eton’s best period was to follow. Arwas and Senaratne began to secure more ball, H.Lighton and Ashcroft became more confident in possession, Kelway-Bamber tightened up in defence and Funnell finished crisply to level matters at the break.
 
The third quarter was closely fought but Eton legs inevitably began to tire, resulting in poorer control, looser distribution and excessive dribbling. Turnovers resulted and a spate of penalty corners was conceded, the last of which was well dispatched tight inside Furse’s right post. Eton’s eight debutants will have plenty to reflect upon before the Harrow match on Tuesday but also some optimism: fitness, ball control and decision making should all improve with match experience.
 
TA 16.1.10
 
DATE POSTED: 17 January 2010

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