For a friendly it was feisty and physical and attritional, lots of bullying off the ball and lots of 'early season' tackles going in as Danny so eloquently put it after an attacker had just sweep tackled Martin shins. Despite only being 24 I belong to a something of an old school of Hockey that thinks friendlies should be exactly that, where you own up to your fouls and have a laugh with the opposition. The long term trend in the game is going away from this as more and more the vulgar aspects of the culture of a game like football bleed over into the our own game, so I was somewhat saddened that the 'friendly' tag was not as appropriate as it should be. That said, two sides who both want to be pushing hard in their respective divisions came together on Saturday and I do think it was a positive experience to face that kind of intensity before we get into the meat of games that actually matter.
The result was a 5-4 win. From our point of view it was a much improved display than last week particularly from an attacking point of view. I think we can consider ourselves lucky with some of our goals (Mark) but also be happy that we were able to create sustained periods of pressure that, in turn, made that bit of luck more likely. The most all-round impressive aspect of the game was perhaps the heart and fight that we showed when we found ourselves 4-2 down and turned it around to win for 5-4. I was happier with my display having assisted the first goal (and by assist I mean I had my goal stolen!) and scoring the winner, but I know both myself and the team haven't gotten into that top gear just yet.
That's what we'll be hoping to do next weekend though as our first 'real' game of the season is this Saturday, in the cup AKA the Cheshire Plate (which, yes, technically isn't a cup but let's not argue crockery please). Our opposition are from one league above our own and it is a knock-out winner takes all situation. Last season our cup game had the strange status of being one of the seasons greatest achievements whilst also being undoubtedly the most heartbreaking moment of the season, and maybe even of all my seasons. The details are all in the archive of posts if you're interested but I'll briefly cover the facts. We were playing a team 5 divisions ahead of us in our first fixture of the season (no friendly warm-ups for us!). We matched them for the whole game and came back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1. With 10 seconds remaining on the game clock we conceded a short corner and they equalised. They went on to win 3-2 in extra time as a result of a golden goal. Brutal.
If there is one thing I want to put right this year it is that heart break. We owe this cup a win and I desperatley hope we go out there and deliver one, and aim to match last seasons intensity. This season we have been drawn at home and will be playing at 3pm. This is my official call for support, please come down and help us make that home support count. It doesn't matter who you are or what team, if any, you play for. If you're Sale, get down. Bring your friends, bring your girlfriends, bring a bunch of strangers no one knows that are a bit weird, it doesn't matter just come and support!
Song of the week
Yes the now famous feature of song of the week is back for its 2nd edition. Many people might have believed that this feature would never reach such a prestigious landmark but you've always got to believe! This week, in homage to some of the outrageous tackling that was coming from both teams on Saturday as well as the amount of sheer perspiration put in by our boys i've plumpled for and 80s classic that is surely loved by all: Olivia Newton-John- Physical...
**WARNING: VIDEO MAY CONTAIN BANANA HAMMOCKS AND THRUSTING**
That's all for now folks. I hope to bring tales of a cup win and no more 10 seconds away from glory sob stories next week. Ciao