Mens 1st XI
Sat 10 Feb 2024  ·  North East Men's Division 1
Newcastle Hockey Club
Mens 1st XI
Norton 1
The Kids Aren’t Alright

The Kids Aren’t Alright

Brian Coult21 Feb - 04:41
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Captain-less, early push-back, ‘unfamiliar’ home changing room; the Men’s 1st XI’s match-up against Norton had all the makings of a stumbling block in the relentless charge for back-to-back promotions.

However the lads were buoyant and welcomed call ups for the experience heads of Neil Dale and Alex ‘Robbo’ Robinson, as well as the return of Joe Milledge from lengthy ‘undisclosed’ absence.

The eagle-eyed amongst the group quickly spotted the opposition were under-strength, and under-age, relishing the opportunity to claim three points and improve on the already excellent goal difference. The irony of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit” blaring from the speaker was not lost on this observer; these teens would need more than a whiff of ‘spirit’ to overcome the ferocious Newcastle.

Newcastle started strongly, with a decent early period of pressure eventually leading to the first short corner opportunity for Newcastle, and the first chance to unleash the ‘Durban Dragger’ – up stepped John McAlery… and we all know the result – 1-0 and a sheepish looking post-man.

Wor John was on one; 11 minutes played and Newcastle had their second short corner opportunity and once again the result was all too familiar – 2-0 and a goalkeeper wishing he was taller.

And again! The hattrick was wrapped up within 22 minutes, something his MUFC idols’ could only dream of – 3-0 and a concerned looking Norton coach (he had every right to be… more on that later).

The burgeoning crowd egged on the lads as they continued to push for more. An unassuming left sideline hit made its way across the back four, through to the midfield trio, out to the right wing, and driven in to the centre to be met by a sliding Neil Dale to slot away. Team goal of the season by all accounts. The umpires had seen enough of this half, as had Ed Sephton, who seemed to spend a large part of the first 35 recreating moves from an infamous Indian text – 4-0 to the good guys.

A slow start to the second half by Newcastle was suddenly jolted in to life by a freak incident involving the veteran Adam King and Norton’s coach. Frustrated at being manhandled by a cocky youth, and perhaps with one eye on the post-match soft play birthday party, a mistimed ‘trademark’ clearance struck Norton’s coach firmly in the ribs and King was (incorrectly) given a two-minute breather; a welcome break at his age.

Newcastle were eager to put this behind them, and continued to play some excellent hockey pressing Norton further back in to their half, resulting in a well taken goal by Matt Thomson – 5-0 and a question raised, “Has Tom Mcdermid touched the ball yet?”

An excellent day was capped off when scorer-turned-provider Matt Thomson expertly lobbed the Norton ‘keeper and Joe Milledge tapped in at the back post. Was it going in? Was it going wide? Who cares – 6-0 and the Newcastle juggernaut keeps rolling.

Assists for Mike Smailes, James Roake, Neil Dale, Johnny Zajac and Matt Thomson. MoM deservedly awarded to John McAlery and DoD fairly awarded to Adam King.

5 more to go...

Match report by Adam King

Match details

Match date

Sat 10 Feb 2024



Meet time





North East Men's Division 1

League position

Newcastle 1
Norton 1
Team overview
Further reading