Harry Hoffen returns from injury in Vets Cup defeat
Despite the disappointing 4-1 defeat to the Old Chigwellians in the semi-finals of the Vets Cup on Sunday morning, there was a distinct silver lining in the shape of the return to action of legendary striker Harry Hoffen following nearly two-and-a-half years on the sidelines following his horrific double leg fracture suffered whilst playing against the Old Malvernians in January 2019.
After several procedures to set and correct the break, including replacing the metal plate which snapped during the early stages of his recovery, countless hours of physio and rehab, Harry finally pronounced himself ready to return to action midway through the second half of Sunday's game: his entrance onto the pitch a wonderful moment not only for Harry himself, but also for his teammates, who wondered if they would ever get to play with him again.
Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long for Harry to remind everyone of just what they had been missing: a quick shift of the ball to his left and a driven strike across goal so nearly hauling the OHAFC back into the tie - a flash of quicksilver skill and opportunism that has terrorised defences in the Arthurian League for over twenty years. He completed the twenty minutes without any issue and can now spend the summer building up his fitness ahead of next season.
Indeed, Harry was not the only OHAFC player to return from a lengthy spell out - full-back Charlie Tweddle had also hung up his boots following the Malvern game, but returned here with a very solid second half outing at right-back. The presence of both players next season would provide a huge boost to the OHAFC in their quest to regain the Cup they last lifted in 2016.