Mens 1 Match Report V Swansea A - 13th October 2018
By Tracy Hodge
Devizes 1st XI vs Swansea A
Another Saturday, another trip to a nondescript artificial surface for Devizes’ ‘finest’ male hockey players.
A typically ‘Welsh’ day of weather greeted the Dmen as they crossed the border into the ‘Land of our Fathers’ via the famous Toll bridge – into the ‘Tempest’ we headed.
This week’s matchday squad saw Devizes’ without the services of coach, Steve Doesn’ttravelaway and the timeless Charles Hansen but spirits weren’t to be dampened as the side selected were more than capable of returning from the valleys with a point or 3.
The side welcomed back the young Tom Stoner this weekend who, after several smart performances in the 2nd XI, had earned his starting berth back in the ones. He returned to the fray a reformed character, a bounce in his step, this was a man very much in love…with the game of hockey, and he was eager to put in a performance worthy of a text message match report to a special someone (Mr & Mrs Stoner made the trip to Swansea so you can rule them out as recipients…)
Anyway, back to the hockey…pre-match dressing room rituals and warm up complete the boys headed pitch side in anticipation of another thrilling affair. It was at this point, about 15 minutes before pushback, that concerns grew around the whereabouts of missing goalkeeper Joseph Edwards.
His lift, Callum Lavens, and fellow passenger Kofi Pegden, were obviously important, but having a keeper was fairly crucial. Whatsapp messages were exchanged, hurried phone calls were made, and eventually, the lads made it with minutes to spare. It is still a mystery as to why or how Mr Lavens and co were so late, but rumours are that, in charge of his Dad’s Jaguar for the day, petrolhead Callum fancied a few extra detours to get the most out of his supercar experience; I don’t imagine Port Talbot town centre made the detour list.
The game began in frantic fashion, both sides eager to stamp their authority on the match, but it was fair to say Devizes had the lions (or dragons) share of possession and control of the game in that first period. Some slick build up play saw the men in black consistently pierce the Swansea 25 and heap pressure on their back line.
The pressure told midway through the first half when Devizes won a short corner which was exquisitely despatched into the netting by Devizes legend Roger Edwards. It was like stepping back in time to the late 90s, such was the way Edwards poetically put Devizes 1 up.
Devizes continued to push for an illusive 2nd goal, Alex Carter going close with a cute deflection onto the post, and a couple of short corner routines went begging, but ended the half by conceding a gut-wrenching equaliser.
The 2nd half went much the same way as the first, except there was a juxtaposition in roles as Swansea were the ones on the front foot this time. Devizes struggled to breach the half way line in the early part of the half and were camped in their own half; a scene representing nothing too dissimilar to the now defunct Calais ‘Jungle’ at the height of the refugee crisis.
Unfortunately for Devizes the Welsh pressure told, and quicker than you could say: “**** sake we’ve got to go back to Swansea again this season” the Swans were 2-1 up.
The Dmen dug deep for the remainder of the game, and they huffed, and they puffed, but they couldn’t blow the Welsh D down, despite some superb work from the midfield maestros: Henry Chadwick and Tom Taylor.
The final whistle blew, and once again Devizes were left to rue what might have been, suffering a Welsh heartbreak that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Dylan Thomas poem.
Again, not the result the boys feel they wanted or deserved, but as the drug binging, rule defying, AFL genius Ben Cousins once said “such is life”.
Final Score: Swansea A 2-1 Devizes
Goals: Roger Edwards (worldie goal)
Cards: Kofi Pegden (a green for an errant ‘shoulder’, a harsh call against a lad that wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose.)
Dick of the Day: Callum Lavens – arriving 50 minutes after the meet-time, holding the goalkeeper hostage in the process and forgetting his socks
Man of the Match: Thomas Stoner – a terrific return to the side for young Stoney, but this award is also as the result of some of his performances off the pitch in recent weeks, if you know, you know. (Special mention should go to Russell McQuillan who was also superb.)