No beating Havering sport
Senior teams unbeaten in 15 games
IT TURNS out it was a very good week for our senior sports teams in Havering.
And dare I say it, maybe even an unprecedented few days?
Across what I consider to be our four main winter sports – football, rugby, hockey and ice hockey – we had eight senior teams in action, playing a combined total of 15 matches.
And they produced 12 wins, 3 draws and not one single defeat.
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I wonder what the odds would have been on Hornchurch, Romford (football), Campion, Romford & Gidea Park, Old Cooperians, Upminster (rugby), Havering, Romford, Upminster (hockey) and Romford Raiders (ice hockey) remaining unbeaten across their respective sporting assignments.
Hornchurch and Romford had been in impressive form in Ryman League and FA Trophy action over the past few weeks, but Boro were visiting bogey side Waltham Abbey, where they managed a rare away win. Urchins notched up a sixth successive win against rivals Concord, but had to come from behind to earn a draw at lowly Folkestone in midweek.
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Our four senior rugby clubs celebrated wins in their knockout cup and vase matches, which I don’t think could have been forseen
Campion went to Finchley on the back of a heavy defeat at Norwich, but ran out 28-7 winners; Romford & Gidea Park had lost their last two league matches but came from behind to end Hammersmith & Fulham’s seven-match winning streak; Old Cooperians were probably favourites in their tie, to be fair, but Upminster enjoyed their most productive afternoon of the campaign, running in four tries, after struggling to cross the white paint in league play so far.
As for our hockey clubs, Havering’s men bounced back from their first defeat of the East League season to earn a hard-fought win, while the women maintained their high-scoring form with a double-figure romp.
Romford’s men welcomed table-topping Brentwood 2nds to Robert Clack and held them to a 2-2 draw, after the leaders had only conceded three goals in their first six matches this term. And the women came from behind at Essex University to end up comfortable 6-1 winners.
Upminster’s women kept their fine form going with a slender win, while the men battled to a second successive hard-fought victory to suggest their early-season inconsistencies might be behind them.
All of which leaves the Romford Raiders.
They had lost their last three matches in the English National League and were hosting Essex rivals Chelmsford on Saturday.
Anything can happen in derby matches, of course, and Raiders – beaten 1-0 when the sides had met in Chelmsford a week earlier – fell behind again.
But captain Anthony Leone maintained his impressive knack of scoring big goals to haul them level and new import signing Juraj Huska looked to have clinched victory with just over three minutes to go.
But anything can happen in derby matches, as I mentioned, and the Chieftains snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat with just six seconds left on the clock. Not enough time for them to grab a winner, at least, and ruin our unbeaten week.
Sunday’s clash in Oxford was in the balance until Huska put Raiders ahead for the fourth time at 5-4. Player-coach Danny Marshall struck twice in the last five minutes to make sure and now stands on the brink of claiming top spot in the club’s all-time scoring list.
It has been 17 years since Gord Jeffrey scored the last of his 1,231 points in gold and blue, but Marshall has accumulated steadily since making his debut in his mid-teens the year after Jeffrey returned to his native Canada.
Now 33, Romford’s current player-coach stands eight points short of joining Jeffrey at the top of the pile and, given the fact he scored six in Oxford and appears to have struck up an excellent rapport with Huska already, I wonder what the odds would be on him earning the required points in this weekend’s two matches against the Isle of Wight and Streatham.