Hockey round-up: Kempton admits promotion is unlikely for Maidenhead
Maidenhead men’s 1sts captain believes his team will improve as the season progresses, but a tilt at promotion might be beyond them.
Speaking after Maids had lost 3-0 to Oxford Hawks 2nds, Rob Kempton said his side’s season has been a slow-burner, but that improvements will come over time as young players find their confidence.
Maids ended last season in MBB&O Regional 1 in fourth place, missing out on a play-off place by just five points in an exciting climax to the campaign.
Changes in personnel have meant that Maids have had to regroup , although Saturday’s loss to Hawks was their first of the season.
“The score line was justified,” said Kempton.
“We had a weakened team, missing three from our regular starting XI, and Oxford are a well-organised side.
“I’m sure they’ll be involved in the promotion race at the end of the year.
“They deserved the victory.”
Kempton was less enthusiastic about his own team’s chances of mounting another title push.
He said: “We have a good team spirit and ethos, like last season. Defensively we are well organised, but scoring goals is a problem.
“We are not working our way through the thirds and creating opportunities in the final third.
“Will we win promotion?
“Probably not, but I see no reason why we can’t be a top four side.
“If we had won on Saturday we would have been second, so it’s very tight.
“I’d say there are two leagues in one; three or four very strong sides and three or four very weak ones.”
He added: “We have had some changes in personnel and they need time to settle in.
“We have a number of younger players who have not played at this level before.
“They will take time to get used to the pace, but I believe we will develop and improve.
“I’m confident we will have a good season. It’ll come.”
Maids entertain Wycombe at Altwood on Saturday, push back 1pm.
Both teams are level on eight points from five matches.
Maidenhead Mystics’ second league game of the season ended in a 3-2 defeat at Tring 3rds.
Determined def-ending from Colin Byrne, Randy Rottier, Chris Maury Callum Wellman and Zac Gordon-Smith kept the home side at bay, but the pressure told when Tring scored their first from open play.
A second soon followed from a short corner.
Mystics regrouped at half-time and pulled a goal back when Matthew Worsfold applied a finish to Luke Byrne’s cross.
However, the comeback was brief as Tring went back on the attack and a cross wasn’t dealt with, allowing their striker to tuck home their third.
Towards the end the Mystics won a short corner and Aran Wellman teed up David Gordan-Smith for their second goal.
Maidenhead Monarchs were at their intense best as Oxford 7ths were beaten 4-1.
The hosts displayed the right amount of tenacity and took the lead when Chad Fitzgibbon’s pass was diverted in by Viren Wallia after 10 minutes.
They made it 2-0 when a free-hit from Jason Perry teed up Karsten Smet whose shot rebounded off the keeper’s pads to Fitzgibbon who turned in the ball.
The Monarchs added to their goal tally at the start of the second half when Smets’ driving run produced a chance for Greg Scholes to shoot home from inside the D.
Jones, Thorpe and Douglas all cleared off the line as Oxford threatened and the visitors pulled a goal back through a well-worked set-piece, but Richard Tapner-Evans found Fitz- gibbon, who slotted home his second to make the points safe.
There was a hat-trick of hat-tricks as Maidenhead Merlins cast a spell over a youthful Slough Ramgarhia 2nds in Saturday’s 14-1 win.
Ramgarhia were a late replacement after the Merlins’ league opponents failed to raise a side, but it was clear from the start the sides were poles apart in terms of strength and experience.
Andy Ivey scored the first of his four before Rhys Edwards set up the forward for his second.
George Wallace scored with a reverse stick sweep to make it 3-0 and Bob Brown poached two from close range after Ramgarhia had the temerity to score themselves.
David Rennie was on target and Lawrence Castle’s delivery enabled Ivey to guide home a first-half hat-trick.
Brown completed his treble after the break, Wallace scored from a narrow angle and Ivey bagg- ed a fourth as the goals kept coming.
Wallace scored a third and Brown rounded off a miserable game for Ramgarhia with two goals.
After a week off, Maidenhead women’s 1sts are back in Conference East action on Saturday when they make the trip to face bottom-placed Ipswich.
The match starts at 6pm.
Marlow men’s 1sts still have just one victory to their name after losing 2-1 at home to Tulse Hill & Dulwich.
The visitors took the lead, but just before the interval skipper Alex Land deflected home a short corner routine to level proceedings.
Marlow started the second half strongly, but a lack of discipline held them back.
Tulse Hill managed to retake the lead, but this time – despite plenty of possession – the hosts could not find a way back, ultimately losing a game from which they should have at least earned a point.
Marlow are away to West Hampstead on Saturday.
Great Britain women played Marlow men at Pound Lane on Tuesday evening in a practice match.