LONDON VARSITY SERIES 2019- Hockey

Report by Sunil Thakur

To kick off the 2019 Varsity series, we had Hockey, beginning with the women’s match the late afternoon and the men’s to follow. As the women’s teams of both Colleges warmed up, the crowds flooded in, with the noise slowly being turned up. Among the King’s spectators for the matches were the KCL Men’s rugby team, so we were bound to have a raucous evening. As music started blaring from the speakers, the Ladies walked out onto the field, game on!

It was a tough start for our ladies in red, as UCL’s attacking mentality was definitely shown on the field, with any KCL move forward almost immediately countered. UCL proved to be the strongest team in the first half, as it didn’t take too long for a successful attack as a short corner was award to the Gower, and despite the move leading to a player missing the ball completely, the ball managed to find itself in KCL’s goal following confusion in the shooting circle. Unfortunately the KCL ladies were conceding too many short corners, even though they had some great moves forward, but leading nowhere. In this first half, another two goals were scored by UCL, which fired up the King’s support in the stands, especially because of the harsh commentary from UCL’s side coming out of the loudspeakers. As the second half started, UCL dominated once again, proving too tough for the pride of the Strand. KCL managed to pull off a great attacking move, with some stunning display of skill from nº11 down the field, leading to our first short corner. Hopes of turning the match around were high, but a shot towards goal was wide. Again, UCL’s team ran the game, scoring a fourth, although controversy sparked as nº2 of the KCL ladies was struck in the head, and had to be taken off, whilst UCL were given another short corner. Ultimately UCL dominated the match, with the final result being 8-0 to UCL despite a rallying effort from our girls.

As the Men’s game started, it was instantly different to the Women’s one. Spurred on by lyrical genius from the stands, the KCL Men’s put up a strong fight. They started off more in control of the ball, and quickly scored the first goal. A couple of attacking moves forward here and there from UCL lead nowhere for them, eventually being turned into another King’s goal. Half-time already, and KCL were leading 2-0, but with UCL still not quite out of the picture, our boys still had some work to do. Soon enough the game had restarted, and UCL had definitely stepped up a gear. They were more attacking in this second half, and proved more of a challenge for the KCL boys. The to-and-fro action remained at a stalemate for most of the half, but with about ten minutes to the end of the game, UCL pulled one back. With not much time left, Gower put everything they had into the match, even substituting their goalkeeper for an outfield player. Tensions were flying in the dying minutes of the game, both on and off the pitch, with a fight even starting towards KCL’s goal, promptly sorted by the referee. Finally, the sweet sound of the whistle rang round the stadium, KCL men’s beating UCL two goals to one.

All teams who played on Friday night put in a great shift, and every player deserve congratulation for their effort. Major congratulations to the teams who won, the UCL women’s and the KCL men’s. Although tensions were flying on the pitch and in the stands, at the afterparty everyone enjoyed themselves, joined together in harmony to the truly universal tune of the Baywatch theme song.

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