LEICESTER FINISH ON A HIGH
The last game of the season, the sun shining and no pressure as both teams have secured promotion into the new league no matter the outcome. However, every team wants to win their last game and it was clear that both Leicester and Belper still wanted to put on a good performance to see out the season.
Leicester started the game dominantly, putting a lot of pressure on Belper’s defence and keeping the ball around the D. Only 5 minutes into the game, Lizzie Honarmand bagged carried the ball nicely into the D, using some nice skill to take the ball around a couple of defenders and struck the ball nicely to bag the first goal of the match for Leicester to put them in the lead; 1-0. Leicester continued to dominate the match in the first half retaining the majority of possession, however Belper were able to hold them to only a 1-0 lead into half time.
The second half resembled a style of ‘ping-pong’ hockey with the majority of play between the two 25m lines. Frustrations from the Leicester side began to show towards the end of the match as first a yellow card was given to Leicester’s Katie Mason after a questionable umpire decision, followed shortly by a green card to Leicester player’s Emma Yanzi leaving Leicester down to nine men.
Even with the player shortage Leicester retained their 1-0 lead. Soon after having 11 men back on the field, Leicester scored their second and final goal of the match – a cross ball through from Katie Long found Olive Richmond unmarked on the back post for a tap in.
Leicester came away successful with another win under their belt. The players walked off the pitch tired but overall pleased having had a hugely successful season only having lost two games! Now for a well-deserved rest and re-charge ready for next season!
SECONDS INTO PLAYOFFS
Leicester traveled to Lichfield knowing that nothing but a win was good enough to avoid the relegation play off. After missing skorts, physio confusion and parking hell the game finally got underway.
It was the home side who started the brighter and pinned Leicester back into their own 25. However, the visitors grew into the game and started to look more threatening and began taking advantage of the space Lichfield had left in their efforts to attack. A Leicester counter attack resulted in a penalty corner from which Lauren Osgood scored a close range effort after the initial shot was saved.
The first half went backwards and forwards but Leicester began to dominate possession and Lichfield only threatened when Leicester made unforced error resulting in turnovers.
Knowing they needed a win Lichfield came out fighting. With the robust physical contact and a very supportive home crowd Lichfield dominated much of the second half. Jenna in goal made a number of exceptional saves but despite her heroics Lichfield found an equaliser.
Leicesters best chance to win the game came from a counter attack where Mina rounded the goal keeper and with only the defender on the line to beat her shot was deflected onto the Lichfield players body on the goal line. No foul, play on. Leicester had a penalty corner cleared off the line in the closing stages and the game finished 1-1.
Leicester will now play Sutton 2s on April 13th where the winner will secure Midlands Prem status.
THREES FADE IN THE HEAT
Final game of the season and a bit of a damp squib.
Losing 3 players late in the week, a hot sunny day and one sub. People were on their knees by the end of the game. It was a very evenly matched contest and we were losing 1-0 at half time despite conceding a flick when Jess hoofed the ball off the line.
Half time, the team took care of themselves, settled on a plan to respond and executed it in the second half. We went unfairly 2-0 down before getting 1 back through Lauren. The loss seemed a little unfair but demonstrated again how lack of numbers and not being clinical in the circle will restrict our ability to really compete against the better teams.
Much to work on over the summer and no reason to be disheartened. We are creating chances, we simply need to turn pressure into goals.
Squad: Cas Evans (GK), Nat Gear, Lauren Clough, Karen Dixon, Jess Duffy, Ellie Lineham, Jodie Masser, Casey Humphreys, Emily Kendall, Anna Kendall, Simran Sambi and Elsbeth Woodgate
FOURS MISS OUT AWAY AT MELTON
Leicester 4s played Melton on Saturday hoping for the win that would ensure safety. It was always going to be a difficult ask with Melton having a strong season and Leicester 4s losing a few players due to availability.
The team competed well in the first half and a goal by Sophie Levy left the game balanced at 2-1 as they entered the second half.
Unfortunately Melton found their stride in the second half and despite a number of super performances from the Leicester 4s players they could not prevent a further 3 goals. The 5-1 scoreline did not reflect the balance of the game and although was disappointing there was many positives that the squad can take away with them.
Well done to Sophie Levy who was awarded Player of The Match.
Squad: Aleena Moti (GK), Ab Archer, Georgia Allen, Chiara Bensi, Tara Bahra, Lauren Ellis, Anna Godwin, Sarah Levy, Sophie Levy, Eve Moss, Alexia Scudamore, Josie Rule, Jane Worlding
Unfortunately the 5ths had to concede their final game of the season to league leaders Charnwood/Sileby due to a lack of players
CITY FINISH ON A HIGH
Leicester City were keen to shake off memories of the last game going into the final game of the season. Lacking the usual numbers and heavy traffic on every road between Leicester and Derby meant the side didn't quite get the expected start. Only 4 players at the pitch with 15 minutes until pushback...Thankfully Derby were willing to delay the start and Elsbeth and Paul arrived last at the planned pushback time with shirts and balls ready to get the game started.
Messy tackling from the opposition and some interesting language and umpiring decisions followed pushback. Leicester kept their heads though and in the heat worked hard to keep the ball in the Derby half. Leicester continued to force the ball down the middle however and into a camped out Derby defence.
Leicester broke the deadlock after 20 minutes which Nic took a long corner quickly driving forward and Dan touching into the goal. It came with some controversy however as 90% of the City players agreed the ball didn't go 5 before entering the D but both Umpires awarded the goal and the opposition didn't question it so neither did we...
The second goal came 5 minutes later from another quickly taken free hit by Nic and a quick slap on goal from Jamie on the left. It looked as though another might fall shortly afterwards as a great solo run from Dan down the right and resulting cross was narrowly missed by David M in the air.
A positive talk at half time, oranges and a clear game plan and off we went for round two.
Jason was called on early in the second half to make a good save but wasn't troubled much the rest of the half.
Leicester were unfair to not be awarded a short corner but play continued and a recycled ball to Declan was narrowly missed on the back post when David M was unlucky with his touch. More interesting language from the opposition and no cards or warnings given by the umpires so Leicester kept chipping away at the Derby defence eagerly seeking to pull away on the score sheet. A period of intense pressure with opportunities for Paul, Jamie and Declan was finally pushed hard out of reach of the keeper by Captain Nic to take the score to 3-0.
A couple of good short corner chances came and went and good transfers in the attacking 23 continued to apply the pressure in the Derby D and Leicester looked by far the dominant side. A great right hand line carry into the D saw Tim hit the ball hard to part the defenders before Dan took a nick on the ball to guarantee what was definitely already a goal!
Leicester then began to take the game by the scruff of the neck and played fluid passing hockey to get round the static Derby defence showing some real quality in their attacks. Paul, stepping into a forward role for the game, scored a wonder goal firing in a top corner strike from a tight right hand angle. Paul maintained his composure after 3 diving stick tackles from the Derby defence to pull the ball back from Tim who slid it under the keeper for his first.
Paul and the keeper then decided on a game of short tennis- hockey which at the time felt like it went on for minutes but can only have been seconds as they continued to pass and return in the goal mouth, neither quite getting a decent touch on the ball to avoid the other! A short corner was awarded and broke down at the top of the circle, however Tim bogged down by defenders and rolling left and right- amid calls to slip the ball- managed to drag the ball wide right passed the defenders and score his second- turns out he didn't need to slip it...
Apologies to Mark as I have no idea how he scored but the game ended a dominant 8-0!
The defensive team of Boycie, Ross and Henry weren't redundant as they worked hard to disrupt the Derby attacking opportunities and recycled the ball to create meaningful opportunities going forward. Nic, Declan and Jamie worked tirelessly in midfield all game and Ross and Boycie were both effective replacements when they swapped into midfield, both working hard up the right hand channel to great scoring opportunities. Jason to control the D confidently, saving and clearing well when called upon and making his voice heard!
A huge change in performance from the last game and nothing but positives to end the season- no arguments or appeals, just really classy hockey! A huge thanks to all players and volunteers for making the first season of Men's hockey at Leicester a success. Thank you also to the travelling supporters and the 'Go Daddy Go' calls! Season one ends with promotion- let's see what the 2019/20 season brings- see you all at the End of Season Dinner to celebrate!
Squad: Jason Clothier (GK), Dan Fathers, Daryl Boyce, David Magill, Declan Shepherd, Henry Young, Jamie Sinclair, Paul Lineham, Mark Baggott, Nic White, Ross Harrison, Tim Dyke
JUNIOR ACADEMY MOTHERS DAY TOURNAMENT
A glorious spring day on Sunday witnessed the inaugural ‘Junior Academy Mother’s Day Tournament’.
The brainchild of our wonderful U10 Manager/Coach Heidi, Junior Academy members were invited to bring along their Mums in training gear to join in a fun mixed Tournament between our U8, U10 and U12 Squads.
On the day, we also had sisters, brothers and Dads too! The four teams had a fabulous ‘round robin’ Tournament in which Academy Members were able to play alongside their family members in the beautiful spring sunshine. Eventual winners were ‘Team Orange, who were presented with an enormous box of chocolates (which were duly immediately devoured!!).
Players were also invited to bring along a Mother’s Day cake. All entries were judged in a tightly fought Competition, with Megan Leadbetter coming out as overall winner and taking home the cuddly bear prize (and a bottle of wine for Mum!). The entries were then devoured by all those present, along with mugs of tea (to revive flagging parents!).
A huge thank you to all of our Managers and Coaches, but especially to Heidi (uber efficient as ever), Oriwa (first class tea maker and clearer upper), the effervescent Gaynor Nash (for leading and compering the day), and a special mention to our Argentinian Super Coach Emma, who flies home to Argentina this week after completing her Season with the 1st Team Squad – we will miss you!!!!