The Watford Men’s 1st team got their London League Premier Division season up and running with a convincing 13-6 home win against Kent side Beckenham at Woodside on Wednesday evening.
The team were impressive from start to finish and with GB International Goalie Peter Pickford in between the sticks his command of the goal area frustrated the Beckenham attack and allowed our attacking intent to flourish and with Irish GB International Ciaran Walshe playing centre forward the away side struggled to contain his movement in front of goal as we ran out comfortable winners.
Both Peter & Ciaran will represent their countries in next weekend’s EU Nations senior men’s tournament to be held in Prague, Czech Republic between the 18th & 20th May and last night’s game gave each player a work-out before next week’s main event.
The game started with Watford in the ascendency as the team took an early lead via Jack Warman following a man up advantage, the ball was worked round to the wing position on the 2m line and he slotted home from a tight angle, the team soon doubled their lead via a 5m shot from George Sadler but Beckenham cut the deficit in half 90 seconds later when a major foul allowed the visitors to work a man-up move of their own to score from 7m for 2-1. From the restart Watford went on the attack and the ball was fed to Walshe who had lost his man and a neat turn and shot put his side 3-1 up. But with 41 seconds of the first quarter remaining Beckenham’s Paul Cheetham was afforded to much room and he scored from 7m to close the quarter 3-2.
The second quarter started with young centre forward Petar Djordic in attack and after only 51 seconds play his shot from the 5m line into the far corner of the net through the arms of a Beckenham defender to deceive their goalie had Watford winning 4-2. Moments later the team were 5-2 up as another goal from Warman following a steal in defence and break down the wing, all his own work, put his side firmly in control. Beckenham did find a way through the solid goal-keeping of Pickford to make it 5-3 but another exclusion for the away team allowed Junior player Adam Page to score for 6-3.
The visitors kept knocking on the door in attack but found the Watford pit defender Steve Behr in fine form and his constant steals from their centre forward allowed Watford to turn defence into attack however a combination of poor finishing and some good goal keeping prevented Watford from increasing their lead. With 1.12 of the first half to be played Beckenham’s Cheetham scored again for 6-4 but on the final attack of the first half Watford’s Irish international Walshe score a peach of a back hand for a half time lead of 7-4.
Into the second half and again Watford got the first goal of the third period via Petar Djordjic following a man-up advantage however Beckenham soon responded for 8-5 and with 2.39 mins to play in the quarter a goal apiece from Sadler & Walshe had their side 10-5 up going into the final period.
The fourth quarter again opened with Watford extending their lead to 11-5 via a back shot from John Pickford. The visitors pegged one back 30 seconds later but with Watford in control another two goals via Walshe his fourth of the evening & Sadler for his hat-trick gave their side the perfect home start to this season’s London League Premier Division campaign.
Team V Beckenham:
Peter Pickford (GK), Jack Warman, John Pickford, Steve Behr, Ciaran Walshe, Danny Davis, Will Eggleton, Paul Skerm, Matt Irish, Adam Page, Luke Rogers, George Sadler, Petar Djordic.
Next Premier League fixture is on Thursday 24th May with an away trip to face Ealing at the Gurnell Pool in Ruislip.