As the sun went down on Fortress Longbenton, the entire city of Newcastle held their breath for the most anticipated sporting event of the year, Stan Calvert.
As both teams lined up for the starting whistle the NUHC sideline army erupted into a flurry of encouragement and good natured poly-based insults.
Mere seconds after the whistle had blown ex-1st XI captain and current “champion pound-for-pound drinker in Jesmond” James Veitch dispatched the poly defence and slotted the first goal in with ease.
A further strong 10 minutes of play led to Joey Essex sound-alike Giles Davis rounding off an outstanding piece of link-up play to bury goal number two. As Newcastle went 2-0 up, the sideline army went nuts, rumour has it even Craig cracked a smile.
“In an almost poetic turn of events, president Joe Sutton reminded us all why he is the undisputed ‘big chief’”
The half of hockey that followed wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Croydon Wetherspoon’s at 11:00pm on a Saturday, with 1st XI captain Woodsman and resident anger management patient Dodd-Moore leaving more shoulders in the tackle than a Newcastle Falcons game.
Clearly feeling left out of the physicality, goalkeeper Tim Finnerty seized the opportunity of a poly break on goal and, completely ignoring the ball, booted the Northumbria forward into next week, giving away a penalty flick.
As if to insult the opposition even more, Finnerty read the flicker like a Sunday paper, and pulls off a far too casual save keeping the score at a 2-0 lead heading into the second half.
The next 35 minutes of hockey were far from the prettiest to come out of an NUMHC 1st XI game, however not long into the second half, Ben Stainer’s return from injury yielded a third goal for the uni: 3-0.
Call it complacency, call it sideline distractions, call it a freak of nature, but by some miracle the poly had gained the upper hand for a brief 5 minutes and won themselves a short corner.
6 out of 6 chances missed by 2s captain Hugo Clark
A valiant effort from a carefully planned poly corner routine was met with one of the greatest saves this author has seen in 12 years of the sport, to put the poly firmly back in their place.
A good few minutes later Newcastle stood very much on the front foot but struggled to find the goal, in an almost poetic turn of events, president Joe Sutton reminded us all why he is the undisputed “big chief” and dropped one straight into the back of the poly net; a comfortable 4-0 lead for NUMHC.
The dying 5 minutes of the game consisted of Ben Stainer & co. feeding 2s captain Hugo Clark wonder balls to which he confirmed his place in the 2nd XI by putting 6/6 of his chances wide of the goal.
The 70th minute rolled around and the final whistle blew. As expected but thoroughly deserved, Newcastle University 1st XI walk away with a convincing 4-0 victory and pride in their hearts. For yet another year, The Fortress remains unconquered.