For the fourth consecutive year, Cranleighian hockey players recently visited Almere ( east of Amsterdam ). Seventeen players benefitted greatly from nine hours of training and enjoyed competing against teams from Almeerse HC in three matches, all packed into a three day programme.
There was a relaxed, yet very purposeful atmosphere during the skills sessions, each player having analysed areas of their game which they wished to improve: they reacted quickly and positively to the ideas discussed. In the outdoor match against Almeerse JB2, Cranleigh won 7-3, with a hard-working and committed squad lead by Nathanael Farrant, which included the industrious Charlie Cutting before he became injured. They were warmly entertained by the hosts at club supper and watched the Almeerse Ladies 1st XI play a friendly match of a very high standard against Bloemendaal afterwards (National 2nd League).
In the first indoor match against Almeerse JB1 (U16A), Cranleigh surprised their hosts, and after the first two quarters were on level pegging at 1-1. There were plenty of chances for both teams after that, but the opposition were more clinical in the D and ran out as 4-1 winners. Harry Binnion and Jamie Bloomfield were particularly strong performers, but were well supported by Ben Yakas, Charlie Firth, Freddie Austin, Will Boddington, Will Warner and Alex Hadden-Wight in what turned out to be a much tighter contest than expected.
In the second Indoor encounter against Almeerse JA1 (U18A ), Cranleigh put up a most creditable performance, holding back a side who are in the top Dutch national league to 3-6. Like the U16’s, this was a tight contest until the last ten minutes. Our players twice lead , at 2-1 and 3-2, adapting quickly to the high tempo and pressing tactics of the opposition. Special mention should be made of the outstanding performances of Max Gwilliam, Nathanael Farrant and Rory Kennedy, who popped up with a couple of goals: but is was a squad effort and they were impressively supported by Ollie Taylor, Oli Rodriguez, Charlie Gilbert, Weston Lord, and Nick Going.