The 1st XI continued their up and down season, twice taking the lead against a very good Dulwich side, only to succumb to some unlucky moments and excellent play from the visitors. James R put Eltham in the lead after an excellent run and through ball, but Dulwich pegged Eltham back. James scored again, only for Dulwich to answer soon after. Then the moment came, and Eltham was certain they had a penalty, which was turned down and, within 10 seconds, Dulwich had the ball in Eltham’s net to give them a 3-2 lead. One more from Dulwich ensured the game was out of Eltham’s reach, but it was a much-improved performance and another step forward for the team.
The wheels keep on rolling. The 3rd X1 faced a tougher challenge this week with a tricky fixture against Dulwich. The boys went into the match off the back of an impressive display last week. Dulwich scored an early goal, and for much of the half, Eltham was up against it. Chances were created, but Eltham just couldn’t quite put the ball in the back of the net. However, Eltham stole one back just before half time. After some stern words at half time, unfortunately, it was much of the same in the second half with Dulwich scoring an early goal. However, like any good hungry 3rd XI Eltham team, the boys persistently peppered the Dulwich goal and got their rewards late on, to steal a draw and allow for the unbeaten run to continue. Matthew and Ed were fierce in defence to pull out a strong couple of blocks to keep the run alive. The team roll on.
Eltham U15As faced Dulwich this weekend in a fixture which played out an exciting draw last year. Eltham didn’t start particularly well despite lovely conditions, and invited early pressure on themselves through misplaced passes and insufficient work off the ball to make space. Chances came and went for either side but it was Dulwich who took the lead on a fast break to open the scoring. Eltham continued to feel frustrated, and it felt as if the game was slipping away from the boys; only a last ditch goal line clearance from the returning Luke prevented Eltham from facing a two goal deficit at half time. The boys responded well initially to their half time talk and retained more possession as Theo switched to centre back and Blue and Ollie began to assert themselves in the midfield. Unfortunately it was again Dulwich who struck first in this half, and stretched their lead to 2-0 as a fiercely struck shot eluded Jack. Eltham, roused by conceding, fought back quickly as the dangerous Ludo hit a beautiful reverse stick shot into the netting, much to the delight of the travelling Eltham support. In what was becoming an exciting end-to-end second half, a rebound shot from a Dulwich corner struck an Eltham foot on the line. Penalty stroke, and well dispatched by the Dulwich forward to make the score 3-1 to Dulwich with 10 remaining. Eltham threw caution to the wind and sought to hit back, again scoring swiftly after conceding when a break down the right from Freddie found an unmarked David to tap home. 3-2 and the travelling support sensing a comeback was on the cards. Quickly seizing possession and heading ‘route one’ at this stage, Eltham found another chance in the circle after neat stick work from Niall and Ludo, and it was David again who was the right man in the right place to level the game with two goals in as many minutes. An exciting climax to the game and a rallying final five minutes for the crowd to enjoy; but certainly one where a better start would have never given Dulwich the chance to assert a two goal lead. Man of the match awarded to Theo.
The U15B team put on a classy display from start to finish against Dulwich College to bounce back emphatically from a below par display the week before. The boys trained well in the week and were very much up for the contest from the first whistle. In very strange circumstances, Dulwich played the first half without a goalkeeper. The boys made the most of this and put home three well-worked goals — Joe and Keaton from open play and Harry with a composed finish from a short corner. A goalkeeper seemed to appear from nowhere just before half time, but Eltham still managed to dominate the 12 men of Dulwich. The second half was a much more even contest, perhaps as a result of the Dulwich U14As getting a run out against the boys. Eltham didn’t add to their tally but had many good chances to do so. The clinical edge of the first half was slightly lacking come the second, but a convincing 3-1 victory nonetheless. Special mention must go to the back four of Dan, Reuben, Chris and Oli who were all outstanding from the first minute.
The U13As had a good game on Saturday. From the start whistle, the boys worked hard to dominate the game. Dulwich was excellent at block tackling, which forced Eltham to be more creative with their stick skills. This also involved the boys working together to get around their opponents. A couple of excellent reverse hits from Jake and persistence in the D meant the team were 3-0 up at half time. The boys continued to work hard to increase the scoreline. Sam was positioned well in front of the goal, which meant he was able to deflect the ball, scoring another couple of goals for the team. The boys certainly learnt a lot from the game, and there are still areas the squad needs to work on. Needless to say, it was a comfortable win on Saturday for the boys.
The U13B team didn’t have a fair match on their hands. Eltham went three nil up quickly, and it was obvious this was a one-sided affair. The team played well, and Eltham was able to place players in different positions to gain experience. It was 6-0 at half time — two goals from Alex, a two-minute hat trick from Xavier and one goal from Zach. At half time, Dulwich played with eight against Eltham’s seven, and it still didn’t change the game. Eltham ran out 11 nil winners. Scores were lost, but everyone tried their hardest, and it was a good-spirited game for both teams.
The mighty Cs roared to an 8-0 win with a classy hat trick from Dan C and some overall excellent play. The boys used the width to good effect and were keen to get the ball into the D. Regular efforts on goal kept the keeper busy, but by the time the whistle went, the boys had run out deserved winners.
The U13Ds were impressive against Dulwich with a convincing 17-2 win. The boys demonstrated fantastic sportsmanship throughout by accepting to play without a goalkeeper to match Dulwich. They also helped coach the struggling Dulwich players and played some excellent hockey. Dylan and Benedict were star men throughout the game.
The U12A team faced a well-coached and drilled Maths School aiming to improve on a few areas. Daanish has always shown excellent stick control but needed to develop his passing game. He did this in abundance and helped the team to attack with greater width. In the first half, Eltham was in front but hadn’t quite managed to make the improvements the team had aimed for. After a reminder, the second half showed significant improvement. Mathew showed great skill dribbling past defenders and got in some good places to score a couple of great goals. Finley continues to improve his all-round game and is proving to be a real force whether in the middle of the midfield or up front. Along with Sam, they are proving to be the Salah, Firminio and Mane combination of Eltham hockey. For any strong attacking side to be successful, they need a strong defence, and Ollie B continues to be the bossy general guiding his troops. The best goal that Eltham scored was not the most flamboyant finish, but it was the build-up involving slick passing from one side to the other, which resulted in the ball limping over the line. All in all a very accomplished performance with a 5-0 victory for Eltham. Well done everyone involved.
The U12Cs started well, with the defenders holding good ball possession. The team built into some good attacks due to supportive play from the midfield, and Eltham scored after a series of attacks against the opponents, going into the break with a 1-0 lead. The opponents scored immediately after the break, and it was now dependent on how well the boys reacted. The Eltham side created a lot of chances and scored a fine goal, maintaining the lead to finish 2-1.