Football: Mid-Season Update
The 1st XI go into the Christmas break in the top half of the table thanks to a fine recovery following a fairly ignominious start to the season. Four of the first six games ended in defeat, including a 2-3 Arthur Dunn Cup first round loss at Eton, which left the OKs languishing in the relegation zone of the Arthurian League Premier Division. However, a six-game unbeaten run has seen the side climb the table steadily and progress to the last-16 of the AFA Senior Cup for only the second time in our history. Wins against Old Tonbridgians and Old Chigwellians (both 2-0) were coupled with hard-earned draws against Old Carthusians and in the return fixture against Tonbridge while progress in the cup was secured with a 2-1 victory over Old Bromleians and a 5-1 dismantling of UCL Academicals.
The side has been led for the second year running by Alex Angel (OK 2010) and he has been ably assisted by the senior player group of Ben Harries (2008), Oly Hewitt (2011), Jack Stevenson (2011) and Nick Perry (2003). Perry is far from being the only “veteran” in the side as Andy Tyler (2001) has has a fine season in goal and Jonny Corbett (2002) has embarked on a record-equalling 11th consecutive season in the 1st XI. Centre-back George Dunne (2013) and forward Barney Oates (2011) have come into the squad this season to prove that there is a bright future for the club.
The 2nd XI also find themselves with 12 points from nine games and looking up the Division 2 table rather than down. Solid victories against Old Harrovians II (2-1), Old Lancing II (3-1) and Old Carthusians III (2-0) were interspersed with losses against Old Carthusians II (twice), Old Alleynians (1-3), Old Etonians II (1-3) and regrettable last minute defeat in the return fixture vs Harrovians (1-2). The OKs saved their best until last, though, when they faced an Eton side who had only lost once all season, including a 3-1 victory against us in September, and ran out 3-0 winners following an inspired performance.
Ramon Selvakumaran (2007) is in his fifth year as 2nd XI captain and is ably supported by vice-captians Charlie Westcott and Maz Tappuni (both 2005). There is a blend of youth and experience across the rest of the squad with regular players ranging from 2002 leavers through to 2013 leavers.
The 3rd XI mid-season report reads “room for improvement” as they find themselves at the foot of Division 5 South. An unkind fixture list left the side with a run of very tricky games at the beginning of the season while some inconsistency in availability has meant some regular chopping and changing of personnel.
However, a much kinder post-Christmas fixture card and a new leadership team headed up by young captain Rory Desmond (2011) means that the side enter the New Year full of hope.
One notable development at the club this season has been, thanks to the ever-strengthening relationship with The School, the introduction of a number of school 1st XI players to the club. This has proved a real success with eight Upper Sixth boys representing the Old Boys throughout the Autumn Term with the most notable being Matt Burditt, who won the man of the match vote for all three XIs during his first five games for the club.
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