SECONDS SEE OUT THE SEASON IN FIFTH
An in-form Leicester welcomed Leamington to LGS as the second eleven looked to finish the season off with a win.
The match started brightly for Leicester as they put the pressure on a depleted Leamington. However, after the first 10 minutes the match turned into a lethargic encounter with both sides showing no sign of energy. Leicester took the lead on the counter with Bea Bridge controlling the ball into the path of Hattie Barnes, who rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home, 1-0 Leicester.
The game continued in a passive fashion with no real intent shown by either side. Leamington created some half chances but with no one on the end to tap the ball in the game drifted to a 1-0 finish in favour of Leicester.
Leicester will be happy with the result but not with the overall performance.
As for the season, the Leicester ladies will be very happy with the overall points tally with it being the highest since the 2007/08 season.
PLATE WINNERS: GETTING YOUR MONEYS WORTH
This game was always going to bring about goals with both sides putting 5 past the other during the season. It was probably a good thing there was a multitude of camera men and women at the camera capturing the event, due to the end to end nature of the game. I shall try to summarise.
Leicester began the brighter of the two sides, taking the game to Half Century for the first 10 minutes, pressing hard all over the pitch to ensure that it was very difficult for them to escape. I feel like I’ve said that a lot recently, and usually followed by “however it was the opposition that took the lead”. Not the case on Saturday however, it would be Leicester who struck first. A good piece of link up play through Nat, Tilly, Annie and Karen found Rachel unmarked on the back post to slot home. 1-0.
Alas, Half Century worked their way back into the game very quickly. They took the centre and looked like a completely different outfit to the one Leicester faced in the first 10 minutes. They came hard and fast down the middle of the pitch, which appeared to take us by surprise and would eventually reward them with a goal. Leicester defended the top of their circle well and managed to force Century wide, which is exactly the idea of defending, forcing the attack away from the goal. The pressure told regrettably as Half Century entered the circle on the angle and fired home. 1-1.
This appeared to shake up Leicester.
Leicester looked shaken by the goal as 5 minutes later Century scored their second. After the defensive line of Ruby, Eleanor, Gemma, Emma and Megan saw off 3 penalty corners in a row it would be the 4th which was slipped and slotted home, although the side of the stick used was questionable. But again as with the week before against Uni, Leicester fought back after a goal. It would be a defensive player who would score, and by the end of the game another would join them on the score sheet.
A sequence of events led to the PC which Ruby would eventually score from. Nat got fouled in the middle of the pitch and off the resulting free hit played the ball to Etta, who sized up her opponent and decided that the knock and run tactic would be best and it proved to be right. Eliminating her defender and driving to the 23m line before a recovering player knocked the ball out. Etta quickly played the ball to Nat who went passed one, passed two, passed 3 laying the ball off the Karen, who proceeded to go through and over a Half Century player to win a PC.
Now PC’s have been the thorn in Leicester’s side all season but this is a rare occasion we scored. Ruby injected the ball for Ellie C to strike, the keeper saved well only for the ball to fall to Ruby to slot home over the defenders stick on the line.
Half time 2-2
Leicester began strongly again and took the lead early on. Some excellent defensive unit play saw the ball fall to Eleanor in the middle of the park who played a pin point ball to Tilly who isolated and eliminated the half back and slip the ball inside to Annie for the shot, which was well saved by the keeper again and fell to Rachel for her to slot away her second of the game. 3-2 (keeping up?). Half Century however would not be deterred and scored again soon after. After a long spell of pressure, which was absorbed really well by Jenny, Gemma, Ruby, Nat and Emma, a momentary lapse in concentration (probably due to the heat), saw a player left unmarked who was able to enter the circle and execute a shot which Megan just couldn’t quite get a full connection on as the ball dropped into the goal. 3-3.
It would appear that this stirred Leicester on to secure the game. With Half Century continuing to pressure hard and look for their 4th goal, they over committed and left space at the back. Leicester executed counter attacking hockey perfectly. A quick free hit on our own 23m found Annie who eliminated a player beautifully and switched the ball wide to Tilly, who drove hard down the wing and into the D where she engaged the keeper before calmly slotting the ball down the keeper's left hand side. 4-3, 10 minutes to go.
Leicester continued to apply the pressure and won another PC, which would turn out to be 3 PCs without a foul actually being committed! So for a PC the defence are allowed 4 back plus a keeper, the players can’t cross the line until the ball has been injected, if they do so they must go to the half way line. Rachel shaped up for the injection, umpire calls play, Half century player breaks early, 3 back. Reset. Rachel shapes up again, umpire calls play, player breaks early again! 2 back. Now 7 players around the top of the circle versus 3 defenders should lead to a goal, correct? Well sort of….! Reset again. Ball injected, stopped at the top, straight strike by Karen, saved. Follow up, saved. Third time luck right? Who should it fall to? Emma who calmly slotted the ball home like it was nothing. 5-3. 5 minutes to go.
Leicester did a Chelsea and parked the bus and almost parked it superbly. Keeping the Half Century onslaught at bay and even when they did get through they met the on rushing Megan who smothered everything before her. Unfortunately, though there would be a 4th goal for Century. A PC 1:30 from time was neatly slotted into the corner of the goal to make for a nail biting last 90 seconds. 5-4. Now some of you may know Carol the club’s president as a calm person who never loses her cool, well I can tell you she also has a loud, very loud, voice which can silence all around her when she calls for the ball to played into the corner. Which Leicester did of sorts, although I’m sure it’s usually the corner furthest from your own goal. when you have Eleanor and Nat stood over the ball, who are more than capable of keeping the ball I felt pretty calm and rightfully so as the clock wound down and the game ended.
Final Whistle. 5-4. Leicester Win.
Squad: Megan Lowe, Gemma Newton, Emma Mack, Karen Barnes, Ellie Copeland (C), Rachel East, Natalie Gear, Tilly Johnson, Ruby Barham, Abi Hart, Annie Wiffen, Eleanor Godwin, Etta Magill
MIXED FOURTHS AND FIFTHS FRIENDLY VS BOURNE DEEPING
So this game is always an exciting venture to make, I am always grateful for Leicester players to come over this way, it's great for me to have slightly less to travel compared to most other days during the season and working week!
It's a challenging pitch to work on, as more bouncy a bit like a water based pitch so it took a while for players to adjust.
With some early penetration Leicester couldn't quite make the breakthrough, then it took a good break from the Deeping cohort of strong players to counter attack and got a good shot at goal. Leicester unfazed Emma Sleeman, determined in midfield and Sophie Levy on the right hand side made a stunning dribble down the right hand side around the base line and attempted a shot and found its way into the goal. 1-1.
Bourne Deeping then managed to rummage for a short corner which with Charlotte Parker, and thanks to Coral Wimbury for stepping in, and Jennifer P playing in defence too, couldn't hold out for a good strike, so 2-1 down. Another move from Deeping down the right hand side let them have players free to slot the ball home, but Caitlin Geraghty had a storming game in goal.
So ½ time in was and despite us being 3-1 down I think most players stayed positive, but the tale of the second half was a different story. Hatty Lester made a fantastic run and player/coach Jen P took the ball and dribbled into the D, passed to Hatty and scored a super set piece. Leicester now inspired Joy and Emma York were holding their own and trying to create more opportunities which fell to Hatty again and out of a jumble beat the keeper. There were rumours from the opposition when is the number 5 going to make the run up the pitch, she did which led to a goal. Sarah Levy was fantastic where ever she was and so was Lydia Cross everywhere causing frustration to Deeping which led to Deeping having one green card due to pushing the ball away at a free hit.
Will look to have another game later in the summer near the new season. Teas were fantastic as Emma Sleeman had 5 takings of Peas and Charlotte P sausages and Peas.
Team: Caitlin Geraghty (GK), Coral Wimbury, Charlotte Parker, Emma York, Emma Sleeman (c) Sarah Levy, Hatty Lester, Sophie Levy, Lydia Cross, Joy York, and Jennifer Pollock and were grateful for the use of 2 players Under 14 boys for about 5 mins Ethan and Sam but it looked as though we were too strong Deeping took them off and put them on their team.
UNDER FOURTEEN TOURNAMENT!
Yesterday the U14's hosted Reading, Cirencester and Harleston Magpies in the England Hockey Tier 2 Championship.
In the first game the girls battled hard but narrowly lost to a late reverse stick goal.
The second match again resulted in a narrow loss to eventual winners Reading before tiring bodies lost once more to Harleston.
This experience will do all players good in their long term development as life long hockey players at our club.