Rye 1s welcomed two new club members for Saturday’s late-afternoon game against Islanders 2s. Both Spanish and both named Jorge, they were a vital addition as a new-look Rye team searched desperately for players on an unfamiliar non-Sunday match day. Crucially, club stalwarts, von Thien, Shipton, Winterson, Khadapkar and Sequiera, not to mention the indefatigable goalkeeper-cum-striker Johnstone, were each man enough to double-up from a tough men’s 2s game earlier in the afternoon.
With Baker taking the captain’s arm-band for the afternoon, Rye started strongly against an Islanders team that were clearly more than happy to sit back and defend, while looking to throw long-balls to their quick forwards at any opportunity. But it didn’t take Rye long to get on the board. A quick interchange on the right-hand side led to Winterson feeding a ball into the danger zone and it was put away for 1-0 lead. Islanders came back hard but an incredibly handsome back-line of Baker, von Thien and Shipton, with the ageless Stubel in goal behind them, meant the Islanders never got as much as a sniff past their dazzling good lucks and vast amounts of hair (Shipton won the battle of the hirsute).
The half continued to unfold as one might expect, with a gracious crowd enjoying watching Rye slowly pick away at the opponents. No one has any idea who scored the next goals, but at some point Cheetham put away the worst ball this once-man-mountain has ever hit and at some point else both of the Jorges scored with some serious Spanish style. Olé. Winterson scored too. And Khadapkar. Baker tried, but failed because he was too busy thinking about what he was going to wear to the burger bar after. Someone who certainly wasn’t thinking about whether his favorite Ben Sherman shirt was ironed was ex-goalkeeper Johnston who got what is rumored to be his first ever goal in a sport other than bowling. Cruising/falling/bumbling through several tackles, the diving Zimbabwean put the fake kookaburra ball into the very place he swore to forever defend. With his life if necessary. He went mental in celebration.
The one blot on the day for Rye came from a defensive penalty corner that was dragged high and away from the grasping reached of Steubel, a man who had covered himself in glory shortly before with two exceptional saves from the same PC option. Still, the day very much belonged to Rye. Eventually running at 12-1 winners, they played some genuinely decent hockey at times. A remarkable feat considering that menagerie of a team that came together to cry “Rye!” at the beginning of the game. But come together they did, and in doing so preserved Rye 1s 100% start to the season.
Goals: Civico (3) Cheetham (2) Khadapkar (2) Jorge1 (1) Jorge2 (1) Winterson (1) Johnston (1) Shipton (1)