Crack­les pops up as Staines go snap

Ce­real killer Rob milks it as he strikes within 30 sec­onds to prompt a 14-0 tri­umph for run­away Ash­ford

Staines Informer - - SPORT - Hockey

ASH­FORD men's first XI are get­ting into their stride as Shu­jah ur Rehman again took cen­tre stage af­ter Rob Crack­les started the ball rolling in 30 sec­onds.

An av­er­age draw on the open­ing day fol­lowed by a win in their sec­ond out­ing was fol­lowed by a 14-0 crush­ing of Staines 2nd XI in this one-sided MBBO Re­gional One clash.

Ash­ford started ex­tremely quickly, nick­ing the ball off the Staines defence to cre­ate that quick­fire op­por­tu­nity.

Full of en­ergy, Crack­les snapped the ball onto his favourite re­verse side be­fore pop­ping the ball into the top cor­ner with a crisp strike.

That first-minute hit set the tone as Staines 2s wilted un­der the pres­sure.

An­other two quick goals fol­lowed, with good work down the left-hand side by ur Rehman, whose shot across goal was tapped home by Alex Betts at the back post.

Ur Rehman soon added his name to the score­sheet, with a trade­mark tricky run and fin­ish, giv­ing the vis­i­tors a three-goal lead in the open­ing three min­utes.

The game set­tled down and Ash­ford had to wait an­other six min­utes to add to their lead. This time it was the ma­raud­ing run of Jamie Hem­phrey, who burst through the Staines defence and un­leashed a thun­der­ous shot into the cor­ner.

Staines were un­der­stand­ably de­flated by the free-scor­ing vis­i­tors and Ash­ford ran out im­pres­sive win­ners, Reh- man net­ting four, while Hem­phrey and Betts grabbed hat-tricks. An­drew Whit­ing scored a brace, with Pa­trick Fisher join­ing Crack­les on the score­sheet.

Ash­ford men's sec­ond XI came from be­hind to earn a wor­thy draw, com­ing back from 2-0 and 4-2, to even­tu­ally fin­ish level at 4-4 with Wit­ney. Both sides had chances to win it al­though Wit­ney were prob­a­bly more dis­ap­pointed not to have taken all three points.

Ash­ford showed some bat­tling qual­i­ties with a de­pleted team, Dave Baker scor­ing twice, both from straight strikes at short cor­ners, Matt Jenk­ins-Emerton and Andy Son­den – ap­par­ently nick­named Shaggy by his team­mates – grab­bing the oth­ers, the Wit­ney defence not hav­ing a Scooby Doo how to deal with Son­den's threat.

Mean­while, Ash­ford Ladies warmed up for a clash with top of the ta­ble Staines 2s with a bril­liant 4-1 win at PHC Chiswick in the third XI in the Mid­dle­sex Women's Pre­mier.

Miss­ing reg­u­lar for­ward Maria Cav­illa, Ta­tum Col­clough stepped up for her de­but and al­though reg­u­lar sweeper Sarah Symes was also un­avail­able, a reshuf­fle at the back meant Ash­ford were just as strong.

Af­ter con­sis­tent pe­ri­ods of pos­i­tive play from ev­ery mem­ber of the team, Ash­ford were the more likely team to get a num­ber of early goals.

The first did de­servedly come af­ter some beau­ti­ful play from mid­field­ers Kelly Tay­lor and Nicky Bene­dict as well as for­wards Lucy Downs and Col­clough, Bene­dict's pass ul­ti­mately find­ing Downs who fin­ished well.

The sec­ond goal came rapidly af­ter some in­di­vid­ual bril­liance from Downs which al­lowed Col­clough to fire her first goal for Ash­ford.

Against the run of play PHC Chiswick scored what Ash­ford thought was a de­bat­able goal min­utes be­fore the half-time whis­tle so Ash­ford went into the break 2-1 ahead.

Dis­as­trously, Kelly Tay­lor then took a fall and badly twisted her an­kle, re­sult­ing in her hob­bling off and tak­ing no fur­ther part in the game, with Liz Achengo re­turn­ing in her place, hav­ing ear­lier limped off af­ter bang­ing her knee.

De­spite plenty of at­tack­ing for­ays, Ash­ford were still not scor­ing in open play.

With legs tir­ing and no subs to re­ju­ve­nate the side, the Red & Blacks con­tin­ued to for­age. They were fi­nally re­warded when two speed­i­ly­in­jected cor­ners by Anna Protheroe to Bene­dict were even­tu­ally smacked home by Lucy Downs in well-worked rou­tines.

Son­den strike: Andy Son­den grabs a goal for Ash­ford 2s in a thriller against Wit­ney.

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