Cheam Summer Men 2–2 Kenley Summer Men
By James Root
Excuse me, who ordered the Desmond?
As the sun went down and the heavens opened above Purley, both Kenley and Cheam went head-to-head in the penultimate summer fixture of the 2018 off-season. Despite some lovely hockey and an outstanding all-round team display, Cheam left feeling like a student who partied a bit *too* hard before a deadline, disappointed to come away with a 2-2.
Cheam began the match with only ten men, including Kenley’s one and only Ben (who proved to be a useful asset down the right flank), and so we were relieved to see Sohail saunter in a few minutes late, who then began his long and arduous process of getting match ready, finally becoming involved shortly after Cheam went a goal down. Just a quick shout-out to this week’s winner of the ‘Houdini Award’, Addi, who despite being available and selected for the team against Kenley, disappeared without a trace. However, not before he managed to conjure up and provide a vehicle for Nick to make it to the match… Truly a mysterious figure indeed.
The barebones team of Cheam got off to a rocky start, and found themselves quickly behind due to the lackadaisical marking and poor concentration from the dim-witted interim-left-back, Chris… Who was swiftly swapped out for Sohail, and placed far away from Cheam’s goal to find his true calling up front! With a full eleven, Cheam began to fire up the engines and put on the pressure. Some lovely build up play saw Doug and Ollie come mighty close, but it took a corker of a shot from Mabin to level the match up. After being fed the ball at the top of the D, Mabin smacked it so hard it was as if he possessed Thor’s hammer, smashing Cheam back onto level terms and setting up an intense battle after the break.
Cheam managed to dominate possession in the second-half, with the back four of Ewan, Dan, Nick, and Sohail comfortably managing Kenley’s forays forward. It was an assured performance with the defence stepping up to meet the challenge of Kenley’s more gifted players, and Blossom being called into action for a few heroics when necessary.
They say diamonds are forever, and Cheam’s midfield quartet certainly didn’t let up. Ollie, Mabin, Doug, and Gaz all put in a phenomenal shift in the second half, pressuring Kenley into making more blunders than Adam Sandler’s film career. Now would be a good time to introduce readers to a much closer inspection of our new summer signing, Doug, who has become an integral figure to our Summer League midfield. Doug is a tricky playmaker, normally operating at the top of the diamond, who has spent his summer creating heaps of chances and dictating Cheam’s forward momentum. On Tuesday, Cheam-work really was making the dream work, and we were playing triangles so lovely they would make even Pythagoras go weak at the knees. All this good work culminated with Gaz sliding the ball into the former-left-back-now-interim-striker, Chris, to somehow slot past the keeper and put Cheam ahead. It was a slippery little move that proved Chris can be a danger to all goalkeepers, friendly or opposition it really didn’t matter to him.
Unfortunately, Chris quickly went from hero-to-zero, losing the ball in a decent forward position which allowed Kenley to make one final pounce. With some quick passing Kenley broke through a high-line to level the score and snatch a point with only seconds to spare. Despite the obvious disappointment to concede in the death-knells of the match, Cheam managed to leave with the comfort of a solid display of hockey and real signs of progress in the build up to pre-season. Things are looking good for 2018/19, watch this space…