2XI Match Reports
Folkestone 2XI 2-1 Gore Court 2XI
Court travelled away with a bare eleven to a blustery Folkestone to face a team they beat 3-0 in pre-season, the optimism from the previous week was slightly tempered as we knew we had to push and pull for a full seventy minutes without rest.
Chances aplenty through open play and short corners could not be converted by Court and Folkestone didn’t show much threat in return through the first half but won a penalty flick to make it 1-0 at half time. Court started the second half with a solid ten minute passage of play which deserved reward but went without and then found themselves 2-0 down through a fumbled passage of open play. More close misses through open play and short corners further frustrated Court but rallied their intensity and desire, finding ourselves with a short corner at the final whistle which Nicholls drilled home to make it 2-1.
A tough day when long passes were a stretch too far, aerial balls bounced unpredictably and sticks were in the wrong place for easy deflections. Folkestone took two goals from half a dozen chances and Court took one goal from two dozen chances. Man of the match went to Harry Todd while a young Alfie Short continues to impress at right back and the team hope their talisman Gary Clarke can fix his goal scoring as well as he can water leaks.
Gore Court 2XI 3-2 Cliftonville 1XI
The 2XI knew if they could learn from their hard lessons and training over the last three weeks then they could change their fortunes, and if an unbeaten top of the league Cliftonville 1XI fancied a smash and grab at the Dragon’s den then it wasn’t being given away easily.
All across the pitch a more disciplined and higher intensity Court kept a clean sheet until half time with the only goal coming from a Jamie Brook drag flicked short corner. In the second half Brook pressed replay for another drag flicked short corner once again. Cliftonville took it to 2-2 both through short corners. It was familiar territory for Court and now was the time to see if we could manage a game on our terms.
With all to play for Sam Miller walked into the opposition D and finally delivered a decent reverse stick shot to make it 3-2. A further three Cliftonville short corners were snuffed out like candles and Court held the lead over the final whistle.
Testament to the team performance half the squad found themselves in with a shout for man of the match. Next week Court travel away to meet Folkestone 2XI.
Gore Court 2XI 5-6 K-Sports 1XI
A reshuffled side arrived at the K-Sports complex in body but not in mind. Before fifteen minutes had passed Court had picked the ball out of the back of the net four times through a series of poor mistakes from each member of the defence, and made little progress at the other end. Court wiped the sleep from their eyes, Sam Miller returned to the field and what followed was a fifty minute period of play where Court scored five without reply. After several Court shots went wide, K-Sports found the resolve to re-build pressure as the game became stretched with each side looking to secure a victory they thought they deserved. Several decisions went wanting, half a pitch plagued by tree debris and a lack of composure saw the lead back in K-Sports favour as the final whistle blew. Three losses in three games does not reflect the capability of the team that can find a goal at their choosing, but yet to protect a lead over the full distance. The Team look forward to a return to home turf next week against Cliftonville 1XI.
Tunbridge Wells 2XI 1-8 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI travelled to Tunbridge Wells 2XI this week looking to build upon the momentum gained with a victory in the previous week. In truly appalling conditions, it was Court who started the brighter of the teams, testing the defence and goalkeeper with regular short corners. A foot on the line by a T Wells defender meant that Sam Miller had the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot, which he dispatched with aplomb. Another scrappy passage of play ended with some neat skill in the D from Culum Annand, who squeezed a shot through the keeper for Josh Ollerenshaw to poke home. Just before half-time, Sam Miller added his second of the game, Court's third, with an absolute bullet of a reverse stick strike, giving the keeper no chance.
The howling wind and torrential rain continued throughout the second half, but this did not stop Court pushing for more. From the very start of the half, a loose pass was capitalised upon and punished by Miller, completing his hat-trick. T Wells started to press higher after this, but the Court defence held firm and repelled the onslaught. Court re-asserted their dominance when two short corners were expertly finished by Miller, taking his tally to five. A lapse in concentration gifted T Wells what was only a consolation, with Miller subsequently converting two more chances, taking him up to seven for the day (and propelling him up the Club's top scorer charts) and Court onto eight. A thoroughly professional and controlled performance, which Court will hope stands them in good stead ahead of the visit to Westlands of the league leaders next Saturday.
Maidstone 2XI 6-4 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court came into their final game knowing that they were safe from relegation so pressure was off, however they still wanted to finish the season on a high. Court piled on early pressure, but were caught off guard by swift counter attacks and Maidstone finished their first three chances on goal, firstly from a quick passing move splitting the Court defence leading to a tap in at the back post, a very similar passing goal for their second, and a short corner for their third. Stunned into being three goals down, Court tightened up and began to play some hockey. There was plenty of time in the half left for a comeback, beginning with Alex Nicholls finishing off a short corner with a flick into the left hand side of the net. The next goal for Court came quickly after with another short corner. The first shot was saved, but the ball was worked back to Matt Jonas who first time volleyed a reverse into the side netting.
Maidstone replied with a stunning strike from the left hand side of the D into the top left. However, Ian Jennings answered minutes later with his own rocked hitting the top of the net with a powerful strike, for his first goal of the season. The half ended 4-3 with court still in it.
The second half was a bit tighter with both teams getting chances. Tired legs began to open up gaps, with Maidstone scoring a fifth from another short corner, and a sixth passing round the helpless Tom Miller to finish into an empty net. Court continued to battle. The ball fell to Matt Jonas in the D who slapped high into the top of the net. Chances kept coming as Court pressed to get back, however they couldn’t quite find the net.
The game ended 6-4. Even though it was a loss, Court achieved their aim for the season by staying up in the league that they had been recently promoted to.
Old Bordenians 2XI 4-2 Gore Court 2XI
The start of the match was very balanced, with both sides eager to open to score line on this derby day game. Court saw most of the ball to begin with, with lots of pressure on the Old Boys defence. However, they could not make this pressure count, as in their first meaningful attack, their first short was saved by Tom Miller but rebounded out at the top of the D where their striker slapped home their first goal. With this set back, Gore Court were keen to hit back. After coming off the bench, Ian Jennings made a full pitch run to the Old Bordenian base line, putting a cross in to Pete Hunt, who tapped in an easy goal. More chances fell to both sides, but the score stayed level until half time.
The second half saw Old Bordenians play more attacking hockey. Early in the half, their winger made a run to Courts base line, putting in a cross that was intercepted by Harrison Reynolds who beautifully passed it to the Old Bordenians centre forward, who pushed it into an open goal. A couple of minutes later, from a short corner, Old Bordenians struck again when the first flicked was saved but fell to their striker who hit the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Being 3-1 down in a must win game, Court knew that they needed to strike back quickly. With a well worked attack, George Spillett found himself in space in the Old Boys D, turned nicely and flicked into the bottom right hand corner. Court continued with pressure. With the score line being 3-2, Court felt they could go on to gain an equaliser. However, with Court pressing, Old Bordenians counter attacked and won a very controversial short corner. This consequently led to Old Bordenians scoring the resulting short corner, giving them a two goal cushion. Court despairingly could not come back in the remaining time. The game ended 4-2 to Old Bordenians.
Cliftonville 1XI 3-3 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court this week travelled to St Lawrence college for an early morning game, and eager to stop their poor run of form. Court began slowly, weathering early pressure from the home side. This paid off when a powerful strike from the right hand side of the D broke the deadlock for Cliftonville. Minutes after, Court were again unlocked by a well worked passing move, leading to an easy tap in at the back post. At 2-0 down, Court began to wake up and get used to the pitch, with Barry Walker wining a short corner and Matt Jonas flicking into the bottom left corner just before half time. The comeback was on.
The second half was tightly fought with both sides getting chances and numerous short corners. A quick counter attack saw another short corner being won for Court, with Matt Jonas again dispatching down the opposite side. At 2-2, Court looked on top with some great passing moves, inspired by their comeback. An attacking run by Jack Walker resulting in a foul in the box saw another opportunity. This time Alex Nicholls took it and the flick was saved, although rebounding to the veteran Barry Walker who reverse flicked it into an empty net. At 3-2 up, Court had to hold to gather a much needed 3 points. However, quickly after Court had scored, Cliftonville piled on the pressure, leading to a rebounding and mis-trapped cross finding a Cliftonville striker who flicked home. At 3-3, chances fell at both sides, however no team could take all the points. The game ended a fair result of 3-3.
University of Kent 1XI 2-2 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court travelled to the University of Kent to the fortress of Park Wood for their game this week, eager to get a win with University of Kent being bottom of the league on 0 points. The first half was very sloppy, with both teams failing to capitalise on chances. University of Kent had 2 players without proper shirts on, and these were the only 2 with any skill. However they ran the game and kept things level. First half finished 0-0.
Second half was much more open, with Alex Nicholls converting an early short corner putting Court 1-0 up. Soon after, Kent stuck with one of their Numberless players taking it past a couple of defenders and slotting in the front post. They quickly capitalised as Court got frustrated, and finished a short corner. With 2-1 down, Court heads began to drop, until Pete Hunt found space in the Kent D, and a deflected shot wrong footed the goal keeper. Chances continued to fall on for both sides, but no team could finish.
The game ended a frustrating 2-2.
Gore Court 2XI 3-7 Holcombe 2a
Gore Court hosted a keen Holcombe side this week, with both teams eager to gain some points after a bad run of form. Court weathered some early pressure, but counterattacked straight away with Matt Jonas creating a move on the right hand side leading to a very well struck reverse hit finding the bottom corner. Holcombe reacted and levelled straight away with a short corner. Court's short's were suddenly pulled down as Holcombe fired in goal two, three, four and five in very quick succession. Alex Nicholls managed to gain a goal back from a well taken short corner just before half time. Court were stunned by the clinical finishing of Holcombe. Something needed changing.
Court began the second half much more positive and it looked a much more even battle. Holcombe however added to their lead with a short corner being struck in, and a freakish goal rebounding off the crossbar into the path of their striker who slotted in an empty goal. Court managed to bundle a goal in through Andy Pittard and Pete Hunt combining in the D, resulting in Andy flicking home into the net. There was no time to continue the come back and the game ended a bitter 7-3 defeat.
Gore Court 2XI 1-1 Sevenoaks 3XI
Gore Court’s 2XI entertained Sevenoaks on Saturday hoping to bounce back from a couple of defeats on the spin. In a sometimes scrappy game, both sides turned the ball over cheaply in the early exchanges, although it was Court who looked the more likely team to score. However it was the visitors who took the lead from a short corner midway through the first half. To their credit though, the Sittingbourne side didn’t panic and started to cause Sevenoaks problems, particularly through Chris Orr’s excellent runs and crosses from the right wing. It was no real surprise then when Court drew level when a shot was stopped illegally on the goal line. Andy Pittard made no mistake from the resulting flick.
Level at the break, and that is how it stayed, thanks mainly to two excellent saves on the line from man of the match Culum Annand, and some excellent keeping from Tom Miller in the Court goal. All in all, an encouraging performance from Court who travel to University of Kent next week, hoping they can take all 3 points.
Blackheath & Elthamians 2XI 5-1 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2XI travelled through the snow to Blackheath this week, ready for the storm that Blackheath would bring to the Court defence. Court weathered the early pressure with Blackheath getting no clear cut chances, until a weak clearance found a Blackheath defender who picked out a team mate at the back post to score an easy first goal. Gore Court attempted to strike back, trying to put pressure back on the Blackheath defence. However Blackheath had luck on their side with a stray hit into the Court D, being left by everyone hit the post and fell to a Blackheath striker to tap in. Goal 3 came quickly after with a possession being given away at the top of the Court D and finished off round the helpless Court keeper, Tom Miller. The score was lucky to stay at 3 with Miller making some excellent saves before the half finished.
The second half started quickly again, with Blackheath continuing to pile the pressure on, which lead to another goal. Court saw a lot more of the ball in a more evenly matched second half. With the arrival of their super sub Doug Reid, Court won a short corner. The keeper saved the flick from Matt Jonas, but Culum Annand managed to gather the rebound and smartly flicking over the keeper. Blackheath replied, with their sixteenth unsuccessful corner being saved and deflected to a Blackheath striker who finished off. The game ended a disappointing 5-1 defeat.
Gore Court 2XI 2-4 Canterbury 3s
Gore Court 2XI hosted Canterbury 3s this week, eager to build on their winning result from the week previous. Both teams started at pace with chances going either side. Gore Court struck first, with a well placed drag flick from Matt Jonas into the bottom left corner. Court held the lead for a few minutes, before Canterbury replied with a well worked short corner that was stopped on the line by Cully Annand, unfortunately with his chest. The resulting penalty flick was dispatched. With the game at 1-1, Court quickly replied with a counter attack and shot from Nick Orr being saved by the Cantebury keeper, but falling to Matt Jonas who again finished a good reverse hit. Canterbury soon put on the pressure and levelled again with a first time deflection, which goal keeper Tom Miller was unlucky to keep out.
The second half started quickly again, with both teams having key chances, but lacking clinical finishing. Canterbury struck again with with a well taken short corner. At 3-2, Court kept pressing but could not find the net. With Court going for an equaliser, a long ball to the Canterbury striker found him in space and finished with a goal, minutes before the end. There was not any time for Court to reply and the game ended 4-2.
Burnt Ash 2XI 2-3 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2XI travelled to Burnt Ash 2XI this week, eager to get their first win of 2019. Both teams started eagerly, keen to score some goals. It was Burnt Ash who broke the dead lock after a Gore Court turn over in midfield, leading to a Burnt Ash counter attack and forcing through the opening goal. Court quickly replied when Nick Orr, playing a new central midfield role, found Josh Moore with a Steven Gerrard style 40 yard pass, who was calm in front of goal slotting past the Burnt Ash keeper. The first half continued to create chances for both sides, but no more goals.
The second half started quickly again, with both teams being sloppy as they attempted to gain the upper hand. Burnt Ash struck again with the attacker rounding Tom Miller and slotting into an open goal. Again Court had the determination to reply instantly with a simple passing move through midfield into attack, setting up Matt Jonas to strike home from the right side of the D. At 2-2 the game was tight, with both sides getting tired and gaps beginning to appear. Court had learnt however to keep more discipline compared to their last game, and managed to keep all their players on the pitch. This was rewarded in the final minute, when Court won a short corner. In the dying seconds, Matt Jonas perfectly drag flicked into the bottom right corner. There was no time for a Burnt Ash reply. The game ended 3-2 to Court.
Ashford 2XI 6-3 Gore Court 2XI
The mighty Gore Court travelled to Ashford in their first game of 2019, eager to get off to a winning start. Little did they know that this ill fated voyage would turn into a hockey disaster. Court were automatically on the back foot with an injury to a key defender in the week, leaving the team to travel with a bare 11 squad with only one 'recognised' defender. The 2s would have to adapt. Ashford turned up with a strong side so this was going to be a tough battle.
Court began strongly, absorbing early Ashford pressure like a sponge, turning it into a quick counter attack. Nick Orr and Culum Annand combined smartly ending in Andrew Pittard flicking into the Ashford side netting. Goal 2 came from a similar Liverpool-style counter attack leading to a shot from Pete Hunt being well saved by the Ashford goal keeper, however falling to Nick Orr who volleyed in past a helpless keeper. The third for Court was from a short Corner, with Pete Hunt thundering in a well struck hit. With Court 3-0 up, it seemed that the tactical masterclass of Captain Matt Hutson was working with a new 3-5-1-1 formation. What could possibly go wrong?
Two Gore Court players were soon to pick up yellow cards which saw Andrew Pittard and Nick Orr spend a bit of time on the sideline. With nine men Ashford struck back from a lucky mis-hit short corner just before the break.
The tide was turning. In the second half Ashford hit back with two quick goals bringing the score level. More decisions went against Court with Nick Orr being through on goal and the whistle being blown for an unknown reason. Ashford pressed, and when a Court player became injured and Court went down to 10 mobile players, it was obvious that the rest of the game would be a struggle. With hard pressing, Ashford quickly scored goal 4 and 5.
The rest of the game was a bit scrappy. Matt Jonas had a drag flick (a shot) stopped with a defender's chest, but the umpire gave the free hit to Ashford instead of a penalty flick for Gore Court, so the game ended 6-3.
Gore Court 2XI 9-5 Maidstone 2XI
A 9-5 thriller coming up so hold onto your seats.
On a windy Saturday on 8th December, Gore Court arrived at the battlegrounds of Westlands pitch. Their opponents on this final match-week of the year were the keen Maidstone second team.
Gore Court won the toss and started off very quickly, with Andy Pittard tucking away first time under the keeper from a Nick Orr cross.
A second goal quickly came from a Ryan Elvy power strike from the top of the D. Feeling in control, Court eased of the gas which allowed Maidstone back into the game with 2 well worked goals.
With a change of formation, Court quickly hit back with Nick Orr beating the keeper and flicking on the reverse into the corner. Maidstone stayed firm and converted another short corner making the score 3-3. Just before half time, Court stuck again with another smartly taken goal from Nick Orr. The half ended 4-3.
With a crazy seven goal half, surely the second half couldn’t match this?
The second half saw both sides have chances but no goals were converted. This was until Josh Moore won a short corner in the Maidstone D which was converted with a flick by Alex Nicholls. At 5-3 up, Court needed to be careful not to loose another two goal lead and had to tighten up the midfield. Unfortunately this tactic did not work, with Maidstone getting two goals back quickly to bring the score level to 5-5.
Court didn’t let their heads go down, and Nick Orr completed his hat tick, beating three players and slotting into the corner. Andy Pittard added to the lead minutes later making the score 7-5.
Two goals up again, Gore Court made sure they held firm. Alex Nicholls’ shorts had ripped enough to make him a skirt, exposing himself to Maidstone in a Braveheart sort of fashion, striking fear into all who saw. The rain started to fall on the Maidstone players as their moral dropped lower. After stopping a certain goal on the line at his own end, Matt Jonas quickly followed up with a flicked goal into an open net at the opposite end. Andy Pittard completed his hat trick with a reverse flick under the Maidstone keeper. At 9-5, Maidstone had no hope of a come back.
The thriller ended 9-5.
The captain Matt Hutson said in the post match interview “We went into this game aiming to finish the year above Maidstone and to also keep a clean sheet for once. The clean sheet did not happen, but I am very happy with my players for continuing to press and score so many after the resilience of Maidstone. Now let’s get a beer”.
Herne Bay 1XI 1-1 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2XI travelled to in-form Herne Bay on Saturday, looking to bounce back from the previous week’s defeat. Fielding a changed line up to the previous week, they started the stronger of the two teams and played some good hockey in the early stages. For all the good hockey however, chances were limited for the Sittingbourne side while at the other end, Tom Miller had to pull off several smart saves to prevent the home side scoring. It was Court who took the lead midway through the first half when Andrew Middleton latched on to a rebound from a short corner and slotted home.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, with Herne Bay having the majority of possession but having trouble breaking down the well organised Court defence. Gradually the Sittingbourne side started to create more chances as the game opened up, and should have increased their lead although the Bay keeper made several good saves. The home side equalised midway through the second half from a well worked short corner, but couldn’t take any of their later chances as the game ended 1-1. An excellent point for the Sittingbourne side and they will be hoping to notch another win when they host Maidstone on Saturday.
Gore Court 2XI 2-3 Old Bordenians 2XI
In this important Derby clash, Court started very slowly conceding an early goal. Sam Miller responded with a reverse hit striking the post. However, Bordenians continued to take their chances and were 3-0 up going into half time, with Court going down to 10 men with frustration from Sam Miller leading to a yellow card being shown. Court looked beaten at half time.
A change was needed and Court changed their formation, looking much tighter in the midfield and creating many chances, however they couldn’t break through the Old Bordenian defence. Some important saves by Tom Miller kept the scoreline at 3-0. Court kept the pressure up, and eventually one of the short corners taken by Alex Nicholls was stopped on the line with a defender’s body, leading to a p-flick being given. The Court captain Matt Hutson confidently stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way. Minutes later Alex Nicholls flicked in an excellent short corner. However, there was not enough time for Court to find an equaliser, and the game ended 3-2. A classic tale of two halves.
Gore Court 2XI 5-2 Cliftonville 1XI
Gore Court started the game strongly, with an early goal coming from a smart move down the right, finding Pete Hunt in space in the opposition's D who smartly slotted past the keeper. A quick second came from an Alex Nicholls short corner with a nicely placed drag flick. Court kept pushing in the first half and their hard work paid off when they were awarded a p flick which was dispatched by Andrew Pittard, despite the best efforts from the Cliftonville goalkeeper. Minutes later, another short corner was finished off with a classic Andrew Middleton back post deflection. Court went into the break at 4-0.
The second half was a much more even battle, with Cliftonville finding their feet and both sides creating chances. Court keeper Tom Miller kept Cliftonville at bay making numerous saves including an excellent one off his helmet. Cliftonville grabbed a goal from a well worked short corner, but Court replied again with a counterattack down the right hand side, ending with Ryan Elvy neatly putting the ball through the keeper's legs. Cliftonville managed to score another short corner with ten minutes to go, however there was not enough time for a meaningful comeback and the game ended 5-2.
Holcombe 2a 3-2 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court started wastefully, conceding possession early on leading to a sloppy goal for Holcombe. A second for Holcombe came shortly after from a cheap turnover. Gore Court found their feet midway through the first half, and a good move down the left from Ian Jennings found Pete Hunt in the D who smashed in a well struck shot. Just before half time Court won a short corner, which was neatly dispatched by Alex Nicholls. The first half ended 2-2.
The second half was well fought but neither team could finish any of their chances. Holcombe were awarded a penalty stroke for a bad tackle in the box. However Tom Miller managed to psych out the Holcombe attacker who stuck wide of the goal. Gore Court pushed for a winner, however a late turnover for Court court the defenders on the break, leaving a 2 on 1 with the goalkeeper. Holcombe passed the ball round the helpless keeper with minutes to go. The game finished 3-2.
Sevenoaks 3XI 1-2 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court started brightly with an early goal coming from a smart move down the left. Matt Hutson, bursting down the line, latched on to an Alex Nicholls aerial, and a great combination of passes with the midfield led to a simple deflected goal for Culum Annand.
Sevenoaks replied with strong pressure to the Gore Court defence. Chris Orr, Andrew Middleton, Alex Nicholls and Matt Hutson stood strong at the back until a quick counter attack from Sevenoaks from their fast strikers exposed the Court defence. A strong shot from a Sevenoaks attacker was so powerful that the Court goalkeeper Tom Miller had no time to close his legs, leading to a Sevenoaks equaliser. The first half finished 1-1.
The second half saw a tough battle with both sides getting equal opportunities in front of goal, but both teams failed to convert chances. With 10 minutes remaining, the Gore Court striker Josh Moore attempted to outrageously chip the Sevenoaks goalkeeper with a sweeping reverse hit, but was saved on the line by a Sevenoaks defender. However, the marauding Andy Pittard stormed into the Sevenoaks D to latch on the bouncing ball, striking it perfectly on the volley into the Sevenoaks goal. In shock, the Sevenoaks players tried their hardest to influence the umpire and get the goal disallowed with weak and incorrect appeals for “back stick” and “you can’t score a goal like that, it’s not baseball!”. However Gore Court would not be cheated out it for the second week in a row and the goal was eventually given.
Court held on for the remaining time, and the game finished 2-1, for Court’s second win of the season.
Gore Court 2XI 0-1 Blackheath 2XI
Gore Court 2XI stayed strong against early pressure in the first half from Blackheath, and had to work hard to keep the game at 0-0 by half time. The second half saw a more open game with chances for both sides. Midway through the second half a deflection from a Gore Court player outside of his own D saw the ball loop over Tom Miller in goal. Only from the celebrations from the Blackheath players, somehow the Blackheath Umpire gave this as a goal, leaving Gore Court players in bewilderment.
Gore Court attempted to gain one back, with Culum Annand passing to a Blackheath defender rather than putting in an open goal.
The game finished 1-0. Gore Court were wrongly defeated, but had many positives to take from this tough battle.
Gore Court 2XI 4-4 Burnt Ash 2XI
A very entertaining match saw Court’s 2nd string snatch a point from the visitors with a last minute equaliser. In atrocious conditions in the first half, Burnt Ash coped better than the home side and took the lead from a counter-attack. They soon doubled their lead from a penalty corner, although it seemed keeper Tom Miller was impeded. The rest of the half was a scrappy affair but thankfully for Court, the visitors didn’t extend their lead despite them having some good chances.
Halftime saw Court reorganise the formation which had the desired effect as they put Burnt Ash under immediate pressure. The pressure soon told when Alex Nicholls converted a short corner to halve the deficit. The Sittingbourne side had their tails up, as well as the wind and rain behind them, and kept the visitor’s keeper busy and they soon drew level. From a goalmouth scramble the ball eventually found an unmarked Culum Annand and he kept his composure to pick his spot with a flicked finish. The game suddenly became far more open and perhaps surprisingly, it was the visitors who scored next when the home side lost the ball in midfield. Ash then scored again to make it 4-2 with only 8 minutes left on the clock. To their credit however, Court didn’t panic and kept to their 2nd half game plan and kept attacking the visitors down the flanks. Form a free hit just outside the D, Annand drove into the area and slipped the ball to George Spillett who slotted the ball home. Time was running out when Nick Orr picked the ball up in midfield and found Pete Hunt with a long ball to the left of the D. Hunt’s excellent pass to the back post was tapped home by Culum Annand to secure a hard earned point.
Gore Court 2XI 5-4 Ashford 2XI
Gore Court's second team began their campaign back in Kent Division 1 by hosting Ashford at Westlands on Saturday.
Fielding a much changed team from last season, Court settled quickly into their 4-3-3 formation with George Spillett and Sam Miller controlling things in the central midfield area. Some good passing through midfield soon released Ryan Elvy who ran into the opposition D and finished smartly with a shot across goal to put the home side ahead. Court's second goal soon arrived from another good team move - Josh Moore applying the finish from close range. The Sittingbourne side continued to dominate the half and so it was perhaps a surprise when Ashford pulled a goal back. Court however soon restored their 2 goal cushion when Sam Miller converted a short corner with a reverse-stick finish.
The second half was a much more even affair and Ashford reduced the arrears midway through the half when Court lost possession high up the pitch allowing the visitors a clear run on goal. Tom Miller, excellent again in the Court goal kept Ashford's attempts at an equaliser out but could do nothing when they drew level from a well worked corner. This seemed to spark Court into raising their game and Josh Moore put them back in front with another close range effort. Back Ashford came and they equalised again, latching on to a loose ball in the D to finish past the diving Miller. To their credit, Court tightened things up in defence and midfield and started to control the game again. Chances came and went until Josh Moore completed his hatrick with a smart finish to win it for the home side.
A positive start for this young side who play Burnt Ash 2XI next.
Gore Court 2XI 4-2 Holcombe 3s
Gore Court’s 2XI secured promotion to Kent Division 1 on Saturday with an excellent win away at Holcombe. Needing only a point to be sure of promotion, Court came flying out of the traps and had their first short corner after only 30 seconds of the match. Some quick interchange play saw Nick Orr break through the home side’s midfield before he was upended on the edge of the D. Matt Jonas made no mistake with an excellent drag flick high into the Holcombe net. Court sensing this was to be their day swarmed over their opponents and soon had their second goal. Again it was Orr who won another short corner and again, Jonas converted with an even better drag flick than his first. A dream start for the Sittingbourne side and they continued to control the game, building patiently through the midfield areas and creating chance after chance. For all their pressure however, they couldn’t get increase their lead and instead conceded a penalty flick just before half time from which Holcombe reduced the deficit.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was very even with both sides playing some attractive attacking hockey without creating any clear-cut chances. Any threat posed by the home side was comfortably dealt with by Court’s defensive line, and gradually, the Sittingbourne side started to take control of the midfield. They created numerous chances and soon regained their two goal cushion when Orr broke down the right and crossed to Matt Hutson who lifted the ball over the Holcombe keeper for an excellent finish. The home side weren’t beaten yet though and reduced Court’s lead yet again, with a deflected shot from a short corner. There followed some nervous moments for Court in the final ten minutes of the match but as they have done throughout the season, they kept their composure and made things very difficult for the home side. Five minutes from the end, their patience was rewarded. Josh Ollerenshaw played an excellent pass to put Nick Orr through on goal and he coolly took the ball around the keeper before slotting the ball home to make the game safe. An excellent season for this young side who played attractive, attacking hockey throughout, demonstrating excellent team spirit and ending their league campaign unbeaten away from home! Cue the promotion celebrations!
Gore Court 2XI 8-2 Bromley & Beckenham 5XI
Gore Court’s 2XI kept their recent good form going with a crushing 8-2 win against BromBecks 5XI. Although their opponents started the day in the bottom half of the table, Court were determined not to take anything for granted and the early stages of the game were a cagey affair. What chances Court did create went begging as they tried to force the play. However, as soon as they focussed on retaining possession, they began opening up the visitor’s defence at will. They took the lead when a pass from Matt Jonas found Nick Orr in the D and he ran across the defence before lashing the ball in from a narrow angle. They doubled their lead soon afterwards when Paul Birch found Orr from a long corner and he spun into the D before flicking the ball past the Bromley keeper. Orr then completed a first half hat trick when a Matt Jonas drag flick rebounded to him and he gave the keeper no chance, rifling the ball into the net.
The 2nd half saw the Sittingbourne side in complete control and they created several chances before they extended their lead further. It was Orr again with his fourth of the game, picking the ball up just inside the D and beating the last defenders and keeper before shooting into the net from another tight angle. Soon afterwards, a good team move down the right involving Matt Jonas, saw the ball moved to Orr and he passed to Anthony Brinkman who did the rest with a smart reverse stick finish past the keeper. Sensing a big score and a much needed boost to their goal difference was there for the taking, Court’s midfield and forwards continued to play a high line which allowed Bromley to at last mount some attacks of their own against an exposed defence. From one such attack they scored from a move down the right wing. Court didn’t let this lapse affect them however and soon restored their five goal lead when Matt Hutson ran into the opposition D before feeding the ball to Orr who calmly slotted the ball home for his fifth of the match. Once again, Bromley attacked and surprisingly nicked another goal with a good finish from the right. Court never changed their game plan though and soon had their seventh goal when Culum Annand and Orr combined down the right before that ball was squared across goal for Matt Hutson to slot home. The scoring was completed when another pass from Orr, found Anthony Brinkman at the back post and he made no mistake to score his second of the game.
Ashford 2XI 3-4 Gore Court 2XI
A stunning second half comeback saw Gore Court’s 2XI, displaying the excellent team spirit they have shown all season, fight back from 3-0 down away at league leaders Ashford to snatch an unlikely 4-3 win. As expected, Ashford fielded a much stronger side than they did in the reverse fixture and they were much the better side in the first half. Court managed to stay level for the first 20 minutes thanks to a couple of superb saves from keeper Tom Miller. The pressure did eventually break Court’s resistance however although the opening goal for Ashford took a big deflection off a Court foot. Ashford soon extended their lead when they broke down the right and crossed into the D where the forward made no mistake with a crisp finish.
Whatever was in skipper Paul Birch’s half time talk had the desired effect as Court began to match the home side all over the pitch. For all this early endeavour however, they soon found themselves 3-0 down when Ashford opened them up with a flowing team move converted high into the Court goal. Perhaps thinking they had the game won, Ashford seemed to slow the game down and Court sensed this as they began making inroads in the Ashford D. They scored their opening goal when Nick Orr picked the ball up midway into the Ashford half and beat a couple of defenders before slipping the ball to Josh Ollerenshaw who hit an excellent finish into the far corner. Soon afterwards they scored again when Joe Eves played the ball into the D and it found its way to Culum Annand who slipped the ball through the legs of an Ashford defender and past the keeper. Confidence was now high in the Sittingbourne sides although it took some brave defending particularly from Chris Orr, Alex Nicholls, Paul Birch and Harrison Reynolds to keep Ashford away from goal. Having switched to a 4-3-3 formation, Court were now in the ascendency and they completed the comeback when the ball fell to Joe Eves in the D and he calmly slipped the ball under the advancing keeper to spark jubilant scenes on-pitch and amongst the travelling Court supporters. Not content with just a point, Court continued to press the Ashford midfield and defence and when they won another short corner 5 minutes from time, they had their chance. Keeping their composure, they executed the corner drill perfectly, the ball played across the face of goal to Andrew Middleton who deflected the ball high into the net. Ashford were visibly deflated and had nothing left in the tank and Court comfortably saw out the remaining five minutes to take all three points. A superb team performance from the whole squad in freezing weather conditions.
Gore Court 2X1 7-2 Canterbury Millers
Court entertained Canterbury Millers at Westlands on Saturday in a fairly one sided contest. Straight from the start, Court found their passing range and caused the visitors some problems in defence. For all their early pressure however, it wasn’t until midway through the half that Court took the lead. Alex Nicholls played a long ball through to Nick Orr who rounded the keeper before finishing from a narrow angle. The second goal soon arrived courtesy of a penalty flick awarded when a Canterbury player blocked a Matt Jonas effort with his body, Culum Annand coolly converting low to the keeper’s left. Court were well on top at this stage and extended their lead when Annand cut into the D on the right, beat a couple of Canterbury defenders on the outside before slipping the ball to Josh Ollerenshaw who made no mistake. Just before the break, an Alex Nicholls aerial found Nick Orr wide on the left. He cut inside before squaring to Will Dixon who shot home from the edge of the D to make it 4-0 at the interval.
The second half started much the same with Court still on top but it was Canterbury who scored next when a reverse stick shot deceived Tom Miller in the Court goal. Court responded almost immediately when Nick Orr beat a couple of defenders and racing into the D before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner. There followed a second goal for the visitors although it resulted from a penalty flick, the award of which was dubious given the presence of two covering defenders. Although aggrieved at conceding another goal, Court kept their forward momentum going and from an excellent team move, the ball was fed into James Kennedy on the right wing and he cut inside before passing the ball across the face of the goal for Jack Walker to tap home at the back post. The scoring was completed when Alex Nicholls converted a short corner, beating the onrushing Canterbury runners before flicking the ball past the keeper.
Next up for Court is a top of the table clash away at Ashford.
Gore Court 2X1 4-1 Blackheath 3X1
This match was closer than perhaps the scoreline suggests although Court’s 2nd string thoroughly deserved the win.
The two sides were evenly matched in the early exchanges and Court’s defence had to be alert during a couple of early attacks by the visitors. Gradually, the home side got their link up play sorted in midfield and their pace upfront began to trouble the Blackheath defence. Nick Orr soon won a short corner from which the ball broke to Joe Eves who did the rest with a smart finish, taking the ball past a couple of desperate challenges before sliding the ball home at the far post. Not long after the opening goal, Court extended their lead from another short corner. The ball was slipped to Ian Jennings whose shot bobbled past the visitors defence and found its way to Cullum Annand at the back post and he tapped the ball in. The Sittingbourne side were now well on top and continued to attack the visitors’ goal. The third goal arrived ten minutes before half time. Nick Orr chased a ball into the left hand corner of the pitch, turned the Blackheath defender and cut into the D, before rounding the keeper and firing the ball in.
The second half was a fairly even affair with both sides playing some good hockey. Five minutes into the half, Court wrapped up the points when Annand scored his second goal of the game with a good finish past the Blackheath keeper. To their credit however, the away side never stopped trying to play hockey and began to cause the Court defence some problems and eventually scored what turned out to be a consolation goal that their efforts deserved. Court came close to adding to their tally from a couple of Matt Jonas drag flicks which just missed the target but the game finished 4-1. Next week Court travel to Holcombe, hoping to continue their run of victories in what will be a hard game.
BBHC 2XI 3-4 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI although nowhere their best, still secured all three points away to BBHC on Saturday.
Court quickly found that the slow surface of the BBHC pitch difficult to get to grips with although they nearly took an early lead when a shot from Nick Orr hit the bar. Soon afterwards the same player hit the post and it began to look as though it would be one of those days. This became more of a possibility when completely against the run of play, the home side took the lead which they held going into half time.
The half time team talk seemed to spark a bit of a reaction in the Sittingbourne side although they still struggled to control the midfield. They did however manage to exert some increased pressure on the BBHC goal and drew level with a smart swivel shot from Matt Jonas. Unfortunately they soon found themselves behind again when a defensive lapse let the home side retake the lead with a scrambled finish. The game by now was staring to open up and Court were soon back on level terms when Nick Orr turned sharply in the D and slotted the ball past the BBHC keeper. Amazingly however, they still didn’t tighten their grip on the match and fell behind again following a series of missed tackles. At last this seemed to galvanise them into playing some decent hockey and perhaps finally being used to the pitch, they started to pass the ball around the opposition. Soon, they were level again, Orr picking the ball up just inside the opposition half and racing away into the D before dispatching his shot into the far corner of the goal. They continued to control the final stages of the game and when Barry Walker was upended after surging into the D, they were awarded a penalty flick which Cullum Annand converted for the winner.
Canterbury 4s 1-2 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI travelled to Polo Farm on Saturday to take on a strong Canterbury side who were lying second in the league going into the game.
The match was always going to be a physical contest but to their credit, the Sittingbourne side controlled the first 20 minutes. They took a deserved lead from their first short corner when Matt Jonas dragged the ball towards the bottom left hand corner and it crept over the line via a deflection off the Canterbury keeper. The goal however only seemed to spur Canterbury on and they started to stretch the Court defence which managed to hold firm to take the visitors into half time with a slender lead. The second half again saw Canterbury on top and only some excellent saves by keeper Tom Miller kept Court ahead. Eventually though the home side’s pressure paid off when they converted a short corner. At 1-1 the game became far more open and both sides spurned good opportunities to take the lead, but Court were starting to look the stronger of the two sides, with Paul Mills and Lewis Bennett both excellent in controlling the central midfield area. Fifteen minutes from the end, tough tackling from Ian Jennings saw him break into the Canterbury half and play a through ball for Nick Orr to chase. The onrushing Canterbury keeper looked favourite to get to the ball first, but Orr beat him to it, cleverly deflecting the ball past him and into an empty net. Having taken the lead, Court matched their opponents, winning tackles all over the pitch and closing out a richly deserved win.
Old Williamsonians 2XI 1-4 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI travelled the short distance to Old Williamsonians on Saturday keen on putting their rustiness from the previous week behind them. Dealing with a changed line-up they nevertheless started much the stronger of the two sides and mounted several early attacks on the home goal. The pressure eventually paid off when skipper Paul Birch gratefully accepted the open-legged stance of the Old Willies keeper and fired Gore Court ahead. 1-0 soon became 2-0 when a cross from the left found Nick Orr at the top of the D and he rifled home a shot high into the goal. At this stage, the Sittingbourne side were well on top and very soon a good move down the right, involving Harrison Reynolds and Matt Jonas saw the ball crossed into James Kennedy, and he did the rest with a clever lobbed finish over the on-rushing keeper. The home side tried desperately to get themselves in back in the game but they struggled to make any inroads. Any rare attacks they did manage were quickly broken up by the solid Court defence of Reynolds, Chris Orr, Alex Nicholls and Paul Birch. Such was their dominance that the returning Tom Miller in goal at times must have wished he could return to the warmth of the clubhouse. From yet another Old Willies turnover, Nicholls advanced forward and threaded an excellent pass to Nick Orr on the left edge of the home side’s D. He took the ball into the D, beat the last defender and coolly beat the keeper with a low finish.
The second half began in atrocious weather conditions and perhaps partly due to this, the game became a far more even contest. To their credit, Old Willies were beginning to pass their way through midfield and started to stretch Court’s defence. About 10 minutes in, they got on the scoresheet when Court failed to clear the danger and the OW’s player made no mistake with a smart, reverse stick finish. That however proved the only scare for Court and they saw the game out to secure the points in what could have been a tricky away fixture.
Bromley & Beckenham 5XI 0-5 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI travelled to Bromley & Beckenham on Saturday hoping to go into the mid-season break on a high. In freezing conditions, Court started strongly and looked very comfortable on the ball in the early stages. They soon began to find their way through the home side’s defence and won a short corner after 10 minutes. From the corner Matt Jonas drag flicked the ball into the bottom left of the goal to put the Sittingbourne side ahead. The lead was soon doubled when Nick Orr broke past two Bromley defenders and slipped a reverse pass to Culum Annand who made no mistake from close range. Finding themselves two behind sparked some life into the home side and they soon put Court’s defence under some pressure. As in previous weeks however, Court held firm with some excellent tackling by Paul Birch and Chris Orr in central defence, backed up by fullbacks Harrison Reynolds and Noah Hatchwell. When the defence was breached, Tom Miller was again in superb form in goal, pulling off an exceptional reflex save to keep Bromley at bay. Having soaked up some pressure at the back, they continued attacking the home side’s goal. Harrison Reynolds won the ball and moved it on to Nick Orr who then raced forward into the opposition D. He drew the on-rushing keeper and passed the ball across the D to the supporting Culum Annand who scored his second of the day to put Court 3-0 up at the break.
The half-time team talk from skipper Paul Birch made sure that Court didn’t let complacency creep into their game and they controlled the second half. Their fourth goal came courtesy of an excellent team move. Left back Noah Hatchwell found Nick Orr with a good pass down the left wing. Orr took the ball down the left before cutting inside and finding Pete Hunt unmarked in the D. Hunt controlled the ball before playing an excellent swivel pass across the D and Matt Jonas did the rest with a smart finish at the back post for his second of the match. The scoring was completed when a shot from the edge of the D by Nick Orr was well saved by the Bromley keeper but unfortunately for him, the ball fell to Culum Annand who poked the ball home to complete his hat-trick.
An excellent, disciplined performance from Court’s second string, and they will be hoping they can continue their good form in the New Year.
Gore Court 2XI 6-0 Ashford 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI entertained the league leaders at Westlands on Saturday hoping to build on last week’s win. They looked much the stronger side in the early exchanges and had the majority of the possession which they made count when Richard Dixon opened the scoring. A flowing team move saw Culum Annand break into the opposition D. He slipped the ball to Dixon who slammed the ball home. Court soon had another when an aerial pass from Nick Orr found an advancing Annand unmarked in the D and he did the rest with a clever finish into the far corner. Sensing the visitors were struggling to gain any sort of rhythm, Court made it four when the ball broke to Dixon and he secured his hat-trick following a pass from Harrison Reynolds.
The second half saw no real change in fortunes for Ashford, although they did start to create a few half chances which were quickly snuffed out by strong defending by Court’s centre back pairing of Alex Nicholls and Chris Orr, as well as Tom Miller with another strong performance in goal. Indeed the fifth goal came from a defensive position when skipper Paul Birch played an excellent long pass to Nick Orr. He breezed past the last defender and ran on towards the Ashford goal before finishing low into the right-hand corner of the goal. Chances continued to come and go until Dixon added netted his fourth of the day. A good team move saw the ball moved onto Ian Jennings advancing up the left. He passed the ball inside to Orr whose first time deflected pass found Dixon at the top of the D. He took a touch and hit an excellent shot just inside the post to complete the scoring.
An excellent all-round team performance once again from the 2nds who finish the first half of the season away at Bromley and Beckenham on Saturday.
Canterbury Millers 0-4 Gore Court 2X1
Gore Court 2XI travelled to Canterbury on Saturday hoping to bounce back from defeat the previous week. Fielding a much changed team Court nevertheless held their own in the opening exchanges, although the home side had the best of the chances early on. Keeper Tom Miller made some important stops from a couple of short corners and Chris Orr backed him up with some vital last ditch tackles. The deadlock was eventually broken when a ball from Will Dixon sent Nick Orr racing towards goal. Orr, although probably tempted to go it alone, spotted the supporting run from Peter Hunt and Hunt did the rest to put Court ahead. Five minutes later they doubled their lead. Paul Birch won the ball and fed debutant Ollie Laird who played an excellent ball into Orr who, in a repeat of the first goal, ran into the Canterbury D and slipped the ball to Hunt who slotted home.
The second half began much like the first, with both teams evenly matched. Court's defence held firm with solid defending from Paul Birch, Chris Orr, Ian Jennings and Noah Hatchwell in what was his first game for the 2nds, repelling Canterbury's attacks. Gradually, Court started controlling the midfield more and from another attack down the right, Cullum Annand ran to the by-line and pulled the ball back. From the resulting goalmouth scramble the ball eventually fell to Pete Hunt who completed his hat trick with a superb flick high into the net. few minutes later, Matt Jonas made the result beyond doubt when he gave the home keeper the eyes at a short corner and dragged flicked into the centre of the goal.
Blackheath 3XI 1-4 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2XI travelled to Blackheath on Saturday hoping to keep their recent run of form going. However, for the first time this season, they struggled to get their passing game going in the early exchanges. In spite of this, they took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game when Nick Wilcher found Culum Annand on the right and he crossed for Josh Moore who turned the ball in. They kept the lead for a quarter of an hour thanks mainly to Tom Miller in the Court goal who made a string of excellent reflex saves. Eventually, however, the home side did equalise, when their striker forced the ball over the line.
The second half began much the same as the first, with some scrappy play from both sides, although Court were beginning to take a grip of the game. A good team move resulted in skipper Paul Birch fire home via a deflection from just inside the D. There then followed a sustained period of pressure from the home side who had a succession of short corners which were defended well by Harrison Reynolds, Chris Pettett and Chris Orr at the heart of Court's defence. Perhaps sensing the home side gaining the upper hand, Court began to take control of the game once more, and began carving open the Blackheath defence with some flowing moves. Following one such move, they were awarded a short corner which Pete Hunt slammed home to make it 3-1. Shortly afterwards, Matt Jonas was sent clear on the right, and he finished low into the bottom left hand corner with a reverse stick effort.
Gore Court 2XI 12-2 BBHC 2XI
Gore Court 2XI entertained BBHC 2XI in an extraordinary match at Westlands on Saturday. The game had barely started when the home side found themselves a goal down following a short corner. Any hopes BBHC had of winning the match were destroyed in an amazing 8 minute period in which Court, displaying their usual teamwork, played some superb attacking hockey. The visitors simply had no answer to the speed of the home side's attacks and they were sliced open time and time again as Court remarkably scored 5 quick goals to be 5-1 up after only 9 minutes. The first 3 goals were all scored by Gary Clarke, courtesy of 3 assists from Nick Orr with some pinpoint passing. The fourth goal arrived after Will Reynolds ran unchallenged into the opposition D and slotted past the keeper, into the far corner. Clarke then netted his fourth with a clever finish past the helpless BBHC keeper. Soon afterwards Andrew Middleton added the sixth with his trademark accuracy from a short corner and then Clarke repaid Orr in setting him up to score number seven.
There was to be no let up in the second half for BBHC as Court picked up where they left off, launching attach after attack on the visitors goal. Clarke soon added to his tally when another cross from Orr found him unmarked at the near-post. Soon afterwards, Pete Hunt got in on the act when he slammed home a finish from a short corner. Clarke then incredibly took his tally for the day to seven with a couple more clever finishes. Hunt wrapped up the scoring when he knocked in Court's twelfth and final goal of the day.
Deal 1X1 3-4 Gore Court 2X1
Gore Court 2X1 travelled to Deal on Saturday where another close contest saw them just edge it with a hard earned 4-3 win. The early stages of the match saw both sides create chances, the best of which fell to the home side, and only a couple of good saves by Tom Miller in Court's goal, coupled with calm defending by centre-backs Chris Orr and Alex Nicholls, prevented Deal from taking the lead. After 20 minutes Court took the lead following good work down the right involving James Kennedy and Harrison Reynolds. After some neat interchange play the ball was worked across to an unmarked Nick Orr at the far post, and he forced the ball home from close range. Court continued to create chances through Pete Hunt and Gary Clarke and soon increased their lead. Orr received the ball on the right and played an excellent aerial pass to Ian Jennings at the top of the opposition D. Jennings' first effort was saved by the Deal keeper but he reacted quickest to the rebound and slotted home with a reverse stick finish. The next 15 minutes saw the home side gain a foothold in the game and they soon reduced the arrears from a penalty corner. Soon afterwards they equalised after a Court turnover in midfield.
The 2nd half started much the same as the 1st half ended, with the home side on the front foot, and it was no real surprise when Deal took the lead after Court once again lost possession in midfield. Going behind for the first time in the match sparked a reaction from Court who started to enjoy more of the possession, resulting in them working some good openings. With 20 minutes left, Gary Clarke won the ball in midfield and fed Nick Orr who raced towards the goal before finishing smartly from the top of the D. This seemed to deflate the home side and soon Orr returned the favour to Clarke, finding him with a neat pass just inside the D which Clarke duly finished with an excellent first time shot.
Gore Court 2XI 5-4 Old Williamsonians 2XI
Gore Court's 2XI entertained Old Williamsonians 2XI on Saturday, looking to build on their win the previous week.
The game was always likely to be a close fought match but Court started the game stronger than their opponents. However, it was the visitors who took the lead when Court allowed an OW's forward to cut in from the right, break into the D and finish high into the net. Unperturbed, Court continued with their game plan and a high press by Nick Orr saw him disposess an OW's defender and exchange quick passes with Ian Jennings who made no mistake with a crisp finish. The equaliser resulted in Court quickening the pace of their attacks and from another incisive passing move, Paul Mills put the home side ahead. Soon after, Court went 3-1 up when Nick Orr converted a short corner, rounding 2 OW's defenders and flicking the ball home.
The 2nd half continued to see chances at both ends and only Gary Clements in the home goal prevented the visitors from scoring from 2 clear chances. Eventually however the pressure told and Williamsonians reduced the deficit with a well taken goal. A mix-up in the home side's defence then saw the visitors draw level with another good finish. Court continued to soak up the pressure applied by the visitors who seemed to sense the opportunity to take all 3 points. Pushing up however left them at risk from Court's quick counter-attacks and from one such attack, Nick Orr beat a defender on the left, took the ball into the D and finished from the most improbable angle. 4-3 soon became 5-3 when another swift attack saw Gary Clark played in by Culum Annand, race into the opposition D before calmly slotting the ball underneath the on-rushing keeper and into the goal. That looked to be it but a penalty flick by Williamsonians saw them net their fourth to set up a nervy finish.
Gore Court 3XI 2-5 Gore Court 2XI
Saturday's first league match of the season saw Gore Court's 2XI make the short trip to the away dugout as they took on Court's 3XI. The early exchanges saw the 2XI on top with only Will Dixon preventing them from taking an early lead. The deadlock however was eventually broken when Alex Nicholls converted a short corner. Soon afterwards, Gary Clark finished off a flowing team move to make it 2-0 at the break.
The second half saw the 3XI come more into the game and they started to cause their younger opponents problems. A quick counter attack saw Tom Oyler break into the D and finish low into the bottom left corner. However, the 2XI soon re-established their 2-goal cushion when Gary Clark fashioned a half chance for himself and slotted his second of the game. 3-1 soon became 4-1 when after good work from Nick Wilcher, Clark's shot across the face of the goal found its way in at the far post. Sensing an opportunity for more goals, the 2XI continued to attack, and scored their 5th through a smart reverse stick finish from Nick Orr.
The end of the game finshed with a short corner for the 3XI which Paul Surridge converted to make the final score 5-2.
Maidstone 2XI 2-3 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2XI travelled to Maidstone for their final pre-season game before the start of the season next week. Court quickly settled into their passing game, creating a couple of first half chances. Continued pressure saw them take the lead through a well-worked team move down the right finished by Gary Clark to give Court a 1-0 lead at the break. Second half started much the same as the first with Court continuing to create chances. A neat interchange between Clark and Ian Jennings led to Clark smartly scoring his second after a good pass from Jennings. This sparked a reaction from the home side, who soon levelled through two short-corners. The game remained close with chances at both ends until Alex Nicholls secured a good win through a sweet reverse-hit that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
Gore Court 2XI 8-2 Ashford 3XI
Gore Court 2XI were back on home turf for the first time in 4 weeks and were keen to show their supporters the form that has carried them to third in Kent Division 2. With the wind at their backs in the first half they set about their task skilfully and professionally.
Patrick Brookson opened the scoring with a sublime run, cutting inside one defender and then outpacing a second to give himself just enough space to unleash his backhand with a low hard shot from the edge of the D crashing satisfyingly into the back board. Brookson thought he had doubled the lead minutes later, pouncing on a loose ball from a short corner only to be denied after the umpires conferred regarding the height of the initial shot, which was eventually judged to be high. Josh Moore extended the lead when the ball went loose from another short corner, deftly flicking over the keeper on his reverse stick side. Will Dixon was next on the score sheet with a short corner that most certainly was neither too high nor loose, but might have been judged too fast by the defending keeper as it shot past him. The first half scoring was rounded off by skipper Ian Jennings, finishing an excellently composed play including Josh Moore and Joseph Eves who made the final pass which Jennings calmly slotted with a low back hand shot just inside the near post.
With the change of ends it was the visitors who had the wind behind them in the second half and they started out well. A cheap turnover let them in for their first and the second came in quick succession to suggest that they might be able to find a way back into the match from 4-2, but Gore Court were full of confidence and Patrick Brookson opened the defence up with another run, this time cutting along the baseline before finding Matt Jonas arriving with impeccable timing at the back post to slot home the home side’s 5th. Provider then turned recipient as a long ball out to the left from Conrad Chamberlain was crossed in by Ian Jennings and deflected on to Brookson for his second by Josh Moore. Moore himself notched a second of the match finishing a smart counter attack with a run along the baseline before cutting in and slipping the ball under the advancing keeper. Finally, Andrew Middleton, who had defended well all game stepped up to thump home a short corner and make it 8, for the second time in three matches, for a Gore Court side who are enjoying their hockey and growing into quite a formidable force in this league.
Old Bordenians 3XI 3-8 Gore Court 2XI
Captain Ian Jennings led his troops over to Borden Grammar School on Saturday for their match with arch-rivals Old Bordenians. The team were in great form, winning three games in a row and saw the clash with Old Boys, who were at the foot of the table, a perfect opportunity to keep rising up the league.
The match did not start in an ideal fashion with keeper Dom Annand, leaving his house 10 mins before the start before his car failed to start resulting in Court playing without a keeper for the first 25 minutes. This meant that star striker Alex Nicholls was deployed to a rather unusual position of kicking back, much to his disgust… Court started brightly and dictated the play but were often ruing the choice of the final pass. However, on a couple of occasions, Old Boys caught the Court defence on the break and were perhaps unlikely not to break the deadlock. But it was the team in blue who struck the first blow, with Patrick Brookson notching up his first goal for the 2s to give Court the lead 15 minutes before half time. Sloppy passes and complacency from Court let Bordenians back into the game and with Nicholls still in goal, they were able to secure a way back into the game with 10 minutes till half time. But this only inspired Court, and after a well-worked move from Joe Eves and Will Dixon led to a short corner which Nicholls, now back up front, slotted away with relative ease. Court were not keen to hang on until half time with their fragile lead so went up the other end and scored two goals in two minutes. First of all, after pinball in the D, Matt Jonas slotted away a fine reverse stick finish, and with Old Boys still cursing their misfortune, a 4 on 2 situation was created and a slick passing move resulted in Jennings scoring and making the half time talk a lot easier. A good word must be said for forwards Brookson and Josh Moore who hassled the home team’s defenders throughout, creating countless opportunities.
Court expected a backlash from the home team but were first out of the blocks and broke down the defence to give Richard Minton an opportunity that he was never going to miss. A four goal cushion was opened up and you felt that Court wouldn’t that that slip, but Bordenians gave Court a reminder of their qualities when the forward took the ball skilfully round Annand and put the ball over the line from all of two yards. Some stern words were spoken by Court’s senior players and this inspired an instant response when Alex Nicholls unselfishly squared the ball for Jonas for his second goal of the game with the simplest of finishes. Court and Nicholls in particular always looked threatening in attack and when the visitors next entered the D, Nicholls unleashed an absolute thunderbolt from all of 10 yards which smashed into the goalkeeper’s helmet at the speed of light, knocking him back into the goal. And only minutes later, Ian Jennings took a stick to the face which released vast amounts of blood onto the pitch but instead of going straight to A&E, the captain decided to take multiple selfies of his wounds in the car park, and then uploading them on Social Media before getting some treatment. 15 minutes remained and there was still more time for Court score two goals and Nicholls to complete another hat-trick before Old Boys made the scoreline a tad more respectable with a good short corner routine.
Court sealed the bragging rights with the score after 70 minutes 8-3 and moved up to 3rd in the league. They have a week off now but return to their toughest game of the season against table toppers Folkestone who have a 100% record.
Gore Court 2XI 4-2 Herne Bay 1XI
Building on the current run of good form Gore Court started strongly and controlled the play throughout the first period, with the defence looking solid and the midfield staking their claim to the middle of the park very firmly, there were glimpses of openings, but without enough width and penetration to truly bother the visitors who would have felt pleased to end the half without conceding.
In the second half Court started to play a more open game and the benefit showed when short corner specialist Andrew Middleton stepped up to claim his first goal of the season. Alex Nicholls then added a set piece of his own and Court started to look very much in control of the scoreboard. However, the more expansive approach left some gaps and Herne Bay capitalised to create an overload in open play to close the deficit, before a short corner of their own brought them back level. By this time Gore Court were playing confidently and although they looked more exposed defensively were creating plenty of attacking chances. Alex Nicholls converted two of the resulting short corners to complete a hat-trick on his first outing of the season and Court continued their run of good form marching on to fourth in the league standings.
Holcombe 5XI 1-2 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2s continued their good form with a hard fought win away against Holcombe on Saturday with a competent and mature performance against a gritty opponent.
Court just about had the measure of scrappy match throughout as the defence calmly dealt with everything that was thrown at them and the midfield just about claimed control of the middle of the park against well matched opposition. Chances were not abundant in either half for the forwards, but with Josh Moore’s current form that wasn’t to be a problem, as the ball fell to him outside the back post only a yard or so further out than the penalty spot his team would have anticipated the outcome, 1-0. There were a couple of short corners and an excellent break down the right by Patrick Brookson, but nothing more on the scoreboard until half time.
Holcs levelled against the run of play in the second half from a controversial penalty stroke, it was to be the only goal Dominic Annand would concede in a fortnight. Court kept their calm and continued to control play until Richard Minton got on the end of a cross from Matt Jonas to retake the lead and with Holcs looking increasingly unlikely to get a second held firm until the final whistle. It wasn’t a pretty game, but it was workmanlike in contrast to the previous week’s more appealing affair and showed that there is character as well as skill in this young side.
Old Williamsonians 0-5 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court climbed to 6th in the table with a competent performance that showed a glimpse of what this young side may be capable of in the future.
Gore Court enjoyed the majority of the possession throughout the match with Joseph Eves calmly controlling matters in the midfield with a maturity that belied his youth, first Matt Jonas and then Patrick Brookson managed to narrowly exceed the height of the goal with excellent back hand shots that must have woken up the defence, but it was stalwart Josh Moore who opened the scoring with a typically instinctive finish which was amazingly the only goal of the first half.
As the second half wore on it seemed inevitable that Gore Court would extend their lead and it was Richard Minton who took the second with his first for the club with a well-placed shot to finish a good move down the right with Jonas and Moore. Minton’s second followed shortly as the same weakness was exposed a second time, but not before Patrick Brookson was denied by the umpires after consultation regarding a quickly taken free hit. Keen not to be outdone Moore notched up his second the best of the five, rounding the keeper and then slotting home from a tight angle. A blood injury to Patrick Brookson gave Neil Brookson his debut and with only his second touch, family bragging rights were secured with a calmly taken effort at the back post after Ian Jennings played on a penetrative ball from Minton. 5-0 cannot be allowed to pass without mention of Dominic Annand who was peerless in between the sticks in ensuring the zero on the home side of the scoreboard.
Gore Court 2s will certainly be looking forward to next Saturday based on this performance…
Tunbridge Wells 2 4-1 Gore Court 2XI
Gore Court 2XI succumbed to a defeat in their second outing of the season as Tunbridge Wells took advantage of defensive errors to leap frog them in the league table.
An early defensive mistake allowed Tunbridge Wells a simple tap in at the back post to put their guests on the back foot early on. The first half settled into an open encounter with both sides failing to make shots or short corners out of an even share of D penetrations. Pete Hunt had Gore Court’s best chance when he rounded the T. Wells keeper at the top of the D, but was unable to find a pass for the players waiting inside him. Tunbridge Wells were able to score late in the half from an infeasibly tight angle to take a deserved 2-0 lead into half time.
The second half started brighter for Gore Court, but an injury to Lee Burke required a reshuffle which upset the balance of the midfield as Matt Jonas took up the defensive responsibilities. Tunbridge Wells continued to apply pressure and the game seemed to be over as a contest when they netted a third from another unlikely shooting position. However, Court showed good character to push on and made much better chances throughout the second half, winning a series of short corners from which Hunt was able to score his first of the season. Another flurry of short corners saw Court go close twice, early enough in the game to think that at 3-2 the contest would have been very much alive, but it wasn’t to be and by the time Tunbridge Wells converted a short corner of their own there was not enough time left for the visitors to fight back.
Gore Court 2XI 2-2 Blackheath & OE 3XI
Gore Court 2nd XI looked to be off to an excellent start to the new season when early pressure was turned into a lead by Ryan Elvy, making a strong run into the D and firing a powerful shot to the top corner, leaving the visiting keeper stranded. Unfortunately, whilst pushing forward for a second, the home side left themselves exposed and allowed their guests to equalise just before halftime.
Blackheath took the lead shortly after halftime, opportunistically pouncing on a loose ball in the home D and things seemed to be going against their hosts. To their credit, Gore Court stuck to the task in hand and maintained pressure, with the larger share of territory and possession for the remainder of the second half. Eventually their perseverance paid off and Ian Jennings was able to equalise, slotting the ball into the bottom corner after another good move down the right.
Probably Gore Court had the better of the possession, but in the end, were unable to capitalise on that. The result has to be viewed positively, with the account open for the season and plenty of encouraging performances from this young side.