Umpiring decisions frustrate Exiles
HOCKEY: ST ALBANS Exiles travelled to Broxbourne II knowing they were in for a difficult game as Broxbourne had been playing at a higher standard until last season when they were relegated. At the final whistle the Exiles had their first competitive defea
HOCKEY: ST ALBANS Exiles travelled to Broxbourne II knowing they were in for a difficult game as Broxbourne had been playing at a higher standard until last season when they were relegated.
At the final whistle the Exiles had their first competitive defeat of the season and came away empty handed.
From the first whistle it was clear that Broxbourne were a very experienced, hard working team and they were able to snuff out the Exiles' breakaway hockey.
The first 15 minutes was pretty one-way traffic with Jerry Fretter making some fine saves to keep the scores level. However, he was not able to stop Broxbourne taking the lead midway through the first half.
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The Exiles stopped playing, expecting the umpire to give a free hit but no decision was forthcoming and the Broxbourne striker was left with an easy strike.
It has to be said that the umpiring was extremely poor with many strange decisions leaving both sides baffled.
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This was born out when Broxbourne doubled their lead with a top class, reverse strike into the top corner. The umpire had signalled 'time-up' about five minutes previous.
At the end of the match the umpire confirmed that they had played 41 minutes, with both umpires thinking that the other was keeping time.
As good as the goal was and Broxbourne clearly deserving their lead, it should not have stood and Exile should have turned round only one down.
The second half was a different affair, and although the Exiles went three down from a short corner, they decided to start playing.
A more attacking formation saw the Exiles have numerous chances to get back into the game and did manage to pull a goal back from Simon White.
However, the attacking formation left large defensive gaps which Broxbourne used to good effect and extended their lead to 4-1 when the striker was allowed a one-on-one chance against Fretter with the attacker calmly slotting in from close range.
The Exiles continued to attack and another strike from White saw the Exiles back into the game. Exiles were now on top and were unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty stroke, when a strike at goal clearly hit a defender in the chest, whilst standing on the line. Strangely both umpires in the game did not see this clear decision. This was another of a number of big decisions which didn't go Exiles' way.
However, Exiles pulled another goal back, when some good inter-play saw Richard O'Toole with a free strike. Exiles were back to 4-3 and set up a frantic final few minutes. However, time ran and Broxbourne had held on for the points.
Exiles wished that had they turned up in the first half they could have come away with something out of the game. Broxbourne are going to be title contenders this season, so Exiles shouldn't be too downhearted.
Next week Exiles play host to another relegated side - Letchworth III - at Dame Alice Owen School with push back at 10.30am and they'll hope to get back on track with three more points.
Exiles: Fretter. James, Winter, O'Toole, Bird, Jones, Lister (c), Cowan, Dorsett, Freedman, White