March 25th. The 84th day in the year 2018, or for the Chinese readers under us: the 37th day in the year of the Dog. A quick look on Wikipedia teaches us that March 25th is historically quite an uneventful day, except in 1958 when on this date a processor of the European Union was established. But after today, the 25th of March would be known for the day that DHC A (men section) became THE champion of the second hockey league in Hong Kong. The overcrowded trophy case of the Club and most of its individual A team members was about to increase.
A lot can be said about DHC’s A team. Some interesting facts you should know about them:
• The number 1 position in the league had been permanently captured since the second play round, however the league’s number 2 had been catching up closely since the winter break. DHC therefore needed to win their last match against KCC to become the champion!
• Thomas ‘Wanchai Warrior’ Kluijtmans had the doubtful honor of the least minutes played this season for the Club, shortly followed by Rene van Mill (also known as ‘The Ghost’ for obvious reasons). Two very rare species. If we combine their total number of minutes on the pitch this season, the outcome will show us the exact number of women Michael shared his bed with during University, which by the way, is also close to zero.
• The Dutch National Anthem played shortly before commencement of the last game, and especially its reference to ‘German Blood’ (The Dutch sing in the first line they are of German Blood), had a dual significance because of the two German star players in the team. After half a year playing with them, we can confirm it is true what they say about the Germans: no sense of humor. But brilliant hockey players!!
• Sjoerd Reniers proudly worn the ‘captains belt’ around his arm this season. We have heard from his wife that he sleeps with this belt around his arm all year through! And yes, it is true that Sjoerd’s Linkedin page makes a reference of being our captain. It is to be hoped for the team that he continues. Great job, Sjoerd!
• DHC A is the most productive team in their league this season, with a massive total number of goals scored. 75. Gareth made it to team topscorer by netting 15 of them. - Personal facts about my team members’ productivity other than on the pitch are available with me upon request. Some of them are very interesting -
• DHC A conceded one of the least number of goals this season in their league (27). Credits to DHC’s goalie Frank Li, who had an excellent (and perhaps boring) season. For those who are interested in collector’s items: Frankie’s unwashed toque shall be auctioned during the General Meeting in May. Stay tuned!
• Apparently, the mailbox of the DHC has been flooded this year, mainly with questions related to the status of Berend. The DHC board regretted replying to all this fanmail that Berend actually has a girlfriend (of the non-inflatable sort). However, if you are female in the age category of 50-59, have blond hair and size 42 or above, you stand a little chance for a flirt (every Friday evening at Pastis might be your best shot!).
Anyway, let’s get back to DHC A writing history. Many spectators found their way to Kowloon and were responsible for a fantastic atmosphere hanging over Kings Park’ stadium, where the game begun at 6 PM local time. DHC took the initiative immediately after the first whistle blow, and it didn’t take long before they started to create chances. Marius converted a rebound into a goal, after a shot of Gareth which got saved by KCC’s goalie in the fifth minute. DHC’s defense was resolute, though KCC got a huge chance not much later. A long ball from their sweeper reached KCC’s attacker which took a shot from the head of the D. Fortunately for the DHC, the shot just went wide.
DHC quickly wrestled their way back into the game. Julian passed the ball to Koene who dribbled into the D and shot the ball in the far corner (2-0). After about 20 minutes DHC scored their third goal of the day, which came off Tom’s stick after a nice combination with Marius.
DHC continued their attacking game resulting in 2 penalty corners, but unfortunately, they failed to make use of both opportunities.
After about half an hour Berend made the score 4-0, thanks to a superb solo via the side and on baseline. Thanks to his quick hand-eye coordination he managed to mislead the goalie and pushed it high into the net (4-0). If goals could be framed, then this one would surely have made it into Hong Kong Museum of Art’ spring collection.
Shortly before halftime, KCC managed to make a goal as well. After a personal mistake in DHC’s defense, KCC was awarded with a penalty corner which they converted with a bit of luck.
As the break arrived, Ali readied some stern words and suggested some new tactics. DHC began strongly in the second half. Thanks to the tireless running of the midfielders & attackers, Julian was able to pass the ball into deeper positions. Berend, Koene, Gareth, Tom, Marius and Daan were all unlucky with shots on goal which went narrowly wide or got saved. Also the 2 penaltycorners which DHC got awarded within the second half, were not converted.
Defensively, DHC worked hard as a unit – marshalled by Sjoerd & Michael – denying the opponent space in attacking areas. KCC wasn’t able to create any chance in the second half.
The 4-1 end result was certainly justified, and in fact could and should have been higher.
I think it is appropriate to say thank you to our trainer Ali, all of the board members and obviously our very own captain. It is because of their efforts that we can play on a weekly basis.
It was a pleasure playing with you all, DHC A. My conclusion of the past 7 months (and the preceding 8 seasons) is that we are a bunch of nutcases with a shared interest in chasing a small ball with a stick and drinking a beer afterwards. I am looking forward seeing you on the remaining activities.
PS: For all whom missed the epic championship battle: there is still a chance to see the DHC heroes of today shining on April 15th in their Cup game. Cards are personally being taken care of by the undersigned, while goals are personally guaranteed by all of our strikers (rumors has it that even Daan promised to score one goal, although that could have been the champagne talking – after all alcohol and overconfidence are close siblings).
The DHC Committee unites the club with a series of social events, co-ordination of the season. Hear more about what the Dutch Hockey Club in Hong Kong is up to. Remember all welcome!