Teddington 3 Richmond 2
In 1874 Mr C. Stopford led Richmond in the club’s first ever fixture and earned a 1-1 draw with local rivals Teddington. 138 years later and it was Teddington who took the spoils in a gripping and feisty Men’s Hockey League encounter with a 3-2 victory.
Richmond started the brighter of the two sides and quickly made inroads into the Teddington defence. Despite hardly troubling the Richmond defence, a theme that would continue throughout the day, it was Teddington who drew first blood with a penalty corner on 16 minutes. Johannes Kloess stepped up and coolly buried a drag flick into the bottom corner. Unperturbed, Richmond fought back into the game and within ten minutes of the restart Richmond’s junior international, Noah Sharples, had evened the scores at the breakdown of a penalty corner. The first half ended without serious incident leaving the teams all square in the un-floodlit and dimming light.
Teddington coach Giles clearly changed tack at half time and the hosts flew out of the blocks in the second half, immediately putting the Richmond defence under a full press and attempting to put half backs Coppin and Smid under incredible amounts of pressure. The Richmond defence coped admirably with the pressure and largely nullified the Teddington press until, on the 41st minute, Teddington were awarded another penalty corner. Kloess converted again, bouncing the ball in off the prostrate Richmond keeper’s pads. Showing great character Richmond rallied and fought back from the restart. Josh Smith’s tireless work and dedication being rewarded with a goal just before the hour mark to even things up.
Buoyed by their captain’s goal, Richmond threw the kitchen sink, washing machine, tumble drier and everything else at Teddington but to no avail. The Teddington goal lived a charmed life in those final ten minutes of play with penalty corners being deflected onto the keeper’s helmet and saved by a defender on the line. Numerous other Richmond chances went begging before, at the very death of the game, Teddington were awarded a controversial third penalty corner as the umpire deemed Richmond veteran Mark Vowles had played the ball with his body rather than his stick. The final whistle was blown and all that remained was for the penalty corner to be played out. Johannes Kloess rose to the occasion and completed his hat trick, and lesson in clinical finishing, by repeating his first half strike into the bottom corner.
Confusion reigned after the game as the Richmond players’ struggled to digest that they’d lost a game in which they’d dominated possession for long periods and restricted the opposition to five meaningful attempts on target. Richmond need to learn their lessons quickly over the week if they intend to bounce back and earn a victory next Saturday over bottom of the table Indian Gymkhana