A game of two halves!
By Nicholas Heyward
Men's 1s back to winning ways with second-half rout
Report by Phil Kelly
After a difficult start to 2018 not helped by typical January weather, JPC Men's 1s were keen to rediscover some form and were faced with the task of overcoming an organised Newcastle University side, who turned up over two hours early. It was hoped the extra hour in bed thanks to fixture-time-gate could only work in JPC's favour. However, they suffered a setback midweek when goal machine Michael Davison revealed he picked up an injury while out walking (happens to the best of us). In fairness he was quick to point out it was a seven mile walk, with those long walks often proving particularly dangerous.
Thankfully after a long struggle, Michael succeeded in putting his hockey shoes on and confirmed he was fine to play. Boosted by the great news, JPC got off to a flyer. The game had barely started when Dan Clarke received the ball on top D, turned and smashed the ball into the corner. 1-0. Some sustained pressure saw JPC come close to doubling their lead, with captain Nick Heyward managing a deflected shot over the crossbar from only a couple of yards out - encouraging signs ahead of the upcoming Six Nations. Unfortunately, JPC paid the price for not scoring more. Uni equalised from a short corner - Matt Nicholson was in the right place twice to clear off the line, unfortunately not quite stopping the second shot. 1-1. Minutes later another counter saw the loose ball picked up on the edge of the D, for a Uni player to drill in a stunning effort into the roof of the net. 1-2.
A rousing team talk from Nick saw a completely transformed JPC after the break. Michael 'the salmon' Davison proved he hasn't forgotten his scoring touch, lunging one-handed brilliantly to finish Dan's accurate pass, shortly after the restart. 2-2. So impressed by Uni's second goal, Craig Duffy then decided he would replicate it moments later - only to possibly score an even better goal - doubling his value in the current transfer window. "Have you seen Craig's finishing?!" exclaimed a shocked Michael in the dressing room earlier after Nick suggested Craig may have to play up front for a bit. 3-2.
From then on it just got better. Dan picked up the ball deep in his own half, eliminated/outpaced several players before seconds later finding himself in the opposition D, opting not to shoot and instead set up unmarked Michael for a second goal. 4-2 and less than ten minutes into the second-half had gone. Now with the two-goal cushion, JPC made sure not to be complacent. Unmarked Steve Allen (affectionately known as 'Stallen') made no mistake to make it five; having pounced on a defensive error following a skilful assist/mis-control from Phil Kelly. 5-2. Moments later, Dan (who by now you may realise is quite important to the team) stroke home a sixth. 6-2. With JPC in complete dominance and keeper Jonny Greenshields enjoying a spot of spectating, Michael returned to the pitch to find Andrew Cockerill, who emphatically continued his goal-scoring form first time. 7-2.
It was a stunning turnaround from he boys in blue and yellow, who celebrated in style by eating fantastic tea cooked by George Moore (/George and his girlfriend). George Darling capped off an excellent display with a man of the match award in front of his cheerleaders.
We did a hockey.