Hitchin at home, Prem - 21 Oct 2006
For the first quarter this game looked like it would be as tight as the two previous encounters between these two sides. The Purley attack was moving the ball well, and went into a 0-1 lead, but this Hitchin side is always effective and took the lead at 1-2 before Jamie Tasko tied it at 2-2.
It was the second quarter when the wheels really came off for Purley. With Hitchin dominating the face-off they gained plenty of possession, and Purley's lack of a fourth long-stick allowing Hitchin too much time in attack, and they completely dominated the play scoring 5 goals in the quarter to take the score to 2-7.
Purley rallied in the third quarter, with Jesse O'Hanley dropping back to fill in as the fourth long stick to pressure the Hitchin attack, and a change in the face-off helping them gain more possession. In the previous quarters face-off man Luke Smith had often been winning the ball, but the Hitchin wing men were always the ones picking up the ball. Purley switched to using two long sticks on the wings, and this proved to be immediately effective as Purley pulled the score back to 4-7. The Purley face-off was also helped by an injury to the Hitchin face-off man who went down awkwardly after a take-out, and had to be taken to hospital - so we hope he is feeling better (we hear he is ok now, though will miss a few weeks).
However, despite pressuring the ball, Purley weren't able to put a dent in the Hitchin lead, and for the remainder of the match the teams traded goals, taking the final score to 6-10.
We'd also like to thank Adam the Canadian ref, who was officiating his first game since moving to this country. He had a good game, so hopefully we'll see more of him during the season.
Goals: Jamie Tasko 3, Chris Spence 1, Mike Barrett 1, Matt Payne 1
Photos by Steve Cluney.