City wait on news of this week’s walking wounded!
There is another bumper set of home fixtures this Saturday, with five fixtures at Bretton Gate and another three off-site at the Thomas Deacon Academy.
Understandably, the biggest and most anticipated home match of the day is the Men’s 1st XI game, who entertain Dereham at 1pm. They will be desperately hoping to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of the loss away at Harleston Magpies.
The squad have been hit badly recently with injuries which are not helping their progress in the league. A very nasty collision with teammate Cam Heald on Saturday appears to have put fan’s favourite Ben Read (pictured left) out of this weekend’s game with a bad knock to his knee. Also, still on the sideline is defender Neil Evans, who has yet to recover from being hit on the foot two weeks ago.
Better news though is that two forwards, Tom Hagues and Simon Shorter are both close to getting back to full fitness. Hagues will be in the 1st team squad for the Dereham match, having gingerly come through the match last week, and Shorter’s troublesome hamstring may be tested this week too with a game somewhere (and hopefully it will last more than a couple of minutes!).
City are also boosted by the return to the midfield of Alex Armstrong (right), who was unavailable last week, plus Aussie Brett Churchill will play his first game at “The Gate” too, after a solid start last week away at Harleston. The biggest bonus though is that Jonny Appleton returned last weekend. He looks to have lost none of his tenaciousness in the tackle in six months down under and certainly will sure up the defence. Goalkeeper, Chris Vine’s MoM votes for some weeks to come are not difficult to guess…..
Also at home at Bretton Gate is the Men’s 3rd team, who won well away last week. A balance between the talented youth players and experience of veterans Milner, Andrews and Sullivan has been found and they will hope to continue their fine form and take all three points from visiting Waltham Forest in the 2.30pm game.
Starting off the day is the Men’s 8th team at the club, who play at 10am against St Ives 4ths. Both teams are winless so far, so there is a lot on the game and any spectators who can get down early to watch are sure to be rewarded by seeing the youngsters playing some good hockey.
The other even younger team, the Men’s 9ths (in fact the only unbeaten Men’s team so far) has a 4pm pushback at home, against Spalding’s 4th team, which we expect to be a similarly young opposition, so again a nice game to finish the day at the Gate.
The other game at Bretton Gate sees Emma Faux’s 2nd team with a difficult game against Shefford & Sandy. After last week’s win, they will hope for more points at home this time in the 11.30am pushback.
The off-site home games are the inconsistent Men’s 5th team, who host Long Sutton 2nds at 11.30am at the TDA. Preceding that is the (unbeaten again) Ladies 3rd team, taking on local rivals Bourne Deeping 2nds at 10am. Closing the games at the Academy is the Men’s 7th team, who play March 2nds at 1pm.
In the away trips, the Ladies 1st team go to Saffron Walden, a team in second place in Div 1N. Lawrie will surely have more rousing speeches and film quotes to drive on the Ladies, who were inspired to a good result at home last week against Wisbech. Something from Braveheart is favourite with the bookies, so if you see him covered in blue facepaint on Saturday morning, expect something along the lines of “they make take our lives, but they’ll never take our three points!”.
With two CoP men’s teams in Prem B, it’s not really clear yet how things will pan out, as Andrew Cave’s 2nd team have played a different set of teams to Shayne Andrew’s 3rd team. This week is no different with the 2nds travelling to Ipswich Men’s 1st, so it will therefore not be clear until next week who is in the ascendency, as this is when Ipswich travel up to play the 3rds.
The top of the table Men’s 4th team go to Cambridge City 4ths. You would imagine this is a good match up of the top Cambridgeshire clubs in Div 3NW, but CoP actually have six teams lower than our 4ths, whereas the Cambridge club only have two. In the end, the strength of the our 4th team should therefore be enough to take all the points and keep them on top of their division.
The other away games are:
- Men’s 6th v Alford & District, at Skegness Grammar School
- Men’s Veterans v Spalding 3rds, at Glen Park, Surfleet, near Spalding
- Ladies 4th v Louth 2nds, at Louth