St John's School, Leatherhead Boys 1st XI vs St Benedict's School, Ealing
On: Saturday, 11 Mar 2017
Six goals from support striker Anthony Kiely led the way in a supreme performance away in west London. This was the first encounter at first-team level between St John's and St Benedict's and it was the Surrey outfit that proved superior with a thumping 11-0 victory.
St Benedict's were short of a couple of key players but nothing should be taken be away from St John's who put together some scintillating hockey after the previous week's stuttering performance at Eton. Reverting to a zonal defence, it took quarter of an hour for the system to click but soon St Benedict's were devoid of options as John's picked off every attack. Will Ferguson has one of his best games of the campaign in central midfield, stealing balls and setting counter-attacks with a fine array of passes. It was fitting that he should open the scoring with a precision-placed flick from John's first penalty corner. The opener led to two more goals in quick succession with Kiely latching onto a cross from the right and Orr poking home on the left post.
Into the second period and Ferguson's midfield partner, Olly Penfold, took over much of the play-making: he was beginning to sit deeper in space to transfer the ball from one flank to the other and a tiring St Benedict's struggled to cope. Timpson and Freeman were often the beneficiaries on the right and they worked well together all day to cause their hosts problems. As John's stretched the game, clear-cut chances started to come and most fell to Kiely whose finishing was near faultless. His second was a fine bit of skill ending with a volley home on the back-hand and, after completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot, he raced to six goals with some clinical strikes. Goal of the game, though, goes to Will Freeman who reached full-stretch to complete a move started by Josh Smart at centre back, worked through midfield to Kerslake on the left-wing before his cross found his strike partner. It was a slick move built on the training ground and sealed the win that showed what an attacking threat the boys can be when passing is accurate.
Two harder games remain but captain Kerslake is in buoyant mood: "we go into them with confidence; we know we can score against anyone and if we get our defensive press right, we will have a great chance of victory."