2ND XI- WIN AGAINST NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Saturdays match against Loughborough Uni 5s had everything. Tears, tantrums, fights, tickles, circus elephants and a green. An early start, again, losing one player on Friday night and gaining another 15 mins before meet time. Exciting stuff with the 3s, never a dull moment.
The hockey was anything but dull as well. We contributed hugely to this in the first 10 minutes by insisting that we gave the opposition as much of the ball and as many chances as they liked. We were clearly feeling generous and wanted to make the match as challenging as possible. “Oh bad luck with that shot, here have another”, “Well played but you ran straight past me, let me catch up and you can do it again”, “If it helps I can simply lean on my stick and clap as you past” etc etc. After 15 minutes we woke up and after 25 minutes were in the lead. Hepz who will normally refuse to shoot under any circumstances (We have seen her pass backwards from the goal line), scored a worldie. Picking the ball up on the 22, jinking past 1 defender, lazily strolling into the circle before creaming the ball into the top right hand corner. Gasps around the pitch spoke volumes, delighted to see the goal and Hepz take on the responsibility. 2 minutes later she had drifted into Hepz world and was withdrawn to the subs bench for 10 minutes so she could get over the adrenaline rush.
We then control proceedings to the end of the first half before starting the second half in much the same way as the first. Across the team players were letting the game and the opposition affect their game.
However, all season, we have broken quickly and successfully. 15 minutes into the second half a controversial goal scored by either Molly or Ellie C. I am not getting into the middle of that fight. Did it hit our foot on the way in, did they stop it on the line with a foot 1 min beforehand. Did anyone know what was going on? Goal given, a question of conscience, more debate, goal given. A fair result in my opinion, as I was going red in the face from shouting so loudly, it was a relief to us all it was given. We missed a hatful of chances as Loughborough pushed forward. We could have scored 6,7,8, the movement great but the final pass or touch letting us down. The key is to get into the right positions though, goals will come eventually. Emma S scored a third to end the tie and we held on to the end, missing another few along the way.
Player of the match was undoubtedly Emma T in goal. Kept us in the game at times and marshalled the “oh flipping heck not again” defending. She wins the green, possibly the ugliest cuddly toy in existence, but now the teams player of the match award. I think we all hope it mysteriously goes missing.
Leicester 4ths 2 Loughborough University 4ths 8 (if you want to take bog standard goals scored)
Or Leicester 4ths 3 Loughborough University 0 (well if you want to be more creative and go for ‘Number of Anna’s on the pitch’)
Or Leicester 4ths 2 Loughborough University 1 (number of cards received - well we only really got 1 but I think Katie body swerving a player whilst forgetting to take the ball with her deserved a second)
Or Leicester 4ths 10 Loughborough University 0 (number of players under 18), I’m going for this one
So how it all happened….
Whether it was the shock of playing in the sunshine, missing the rainfall that has followed us around all season or just their generous nature Leicester gave Loughborough a 2 goal lead in the first 4 minutes. In true style however the team lifted their heads and from the pushback took the game back to Loughborough. Anna K passed the ball to Anna G who released a perfectly paced pass to Chiara who’s shot was deflected into the feet of the oncoming defender. The resulting short corner was very well executed, delivered by Anna C to Margot at the top of the circle who’s shot was aided into the back of the net by Anna C. 2-1. Loughborough gaining inspiration from Leicester’s ‘never say die ‘ attitude continued to attack and despite some super defending, 2 diving saves by Kerry, a save on the line from Georgia, numerous great tackles from Jane and Emily the half ended 6-1.
A rousing team talk from Dave however led to a much better second half. Rachel, Chiara, Caitlin and Abi led the line well with patience, organisation (I think they might have got it Dave!) and well timed runs made it difficult for Loughborough to break through whilst providing opportunities for Leicester. Katie, Anna, Anna, Anna, Tilly and Margot ran with the ball, provided options off the ball and hassled with their endless running. Katie played a reverse stick pass (I know I never knew she could do that either) into the circle that resulted in a short corner. Another accurate delivery from Anna, gave Margot another shot from the top and only the post prevented Tilly adding to our goals. Eventually Anna C ensured Leicester got their rewards, scoring a beautifully placed shot out of the reach of the diving keeper. Players, coaches, umpires and spectators contributed to an excellent game of hockey. Despite losing 8-2 (a scoreline that wasn’t reflective of the game) Leicester can take great pride and optimism from the game. Player of the match Anna Kendall, well deserved.
Thank you Dave for coaching and Wendy, Owen and Abi for helping me (Cas) feed the teams and Anna K, Anna G and Katie for doing a fine clean up job at the end.
2ND XI- LOSS TO BEESTON
UNDER 18 XI:
It was a bitterly cold – but stunning and clear – day when two ‘Goliaths’ came together for a ‘friendly’ match. With Oakham currently one of the top 8 School Teams in the country (and about to contest National Finals at Lee Valley) and our own mighty U18’s currently one of the top 8 Club Teams in the country (and about to contest the Quarter Finals), this was ALWAYS going to be an incredible match with much pride at stake for both Squads.
Oakham were quick to attack – almost catching our usually solid defence asleep. Captain Sophie Skelton was quick to organise her back line, and Eleanor Gemma and Anna were soon forming an imposing prospect to break through. After the initial surprise of the quick Oakham attack, the Leicester girls quickly settled into the smooth, fast passing game that they are becoming renowned for. Despite this, Oakham showed the incredible defensive set up for which they have become feared. Ball after ball was fed through the Leicester Midfield (where Georgina Hampson was masterful) through to a domineering front line of Tara, Maeve and Bethan. However, Oakham frustrated with large numbers of players in the D, and – of course – their GB goalkeeper.
A PC was eventually won, but a rocket by Tara from the top of the D was saved on the line. Bethan was hugely dangerous as well, but several balls seemed to whistle past the post with a cm to spare. Georgina made a spectacular individual run and sent a beautiful ball whistling across the Oakham D, but we couldn’t quite get a player on the end to convert it.
Oakham also had some dangerous – and furiously fast forwards. Despite their defensive game, they would send ominous balls whistling up field to their forwards who were almost impossible to catch. Our defensive line had to remain strong, and stand in keeper Jenna was kept on her toes. Martha was a rock in defence, Gemma and Eleanor were utterly dependable – as ever - barely putting a foot wrong. Sophie remained commanding, and Anna used her speed and skill time and time again to get balls up the wing and into our to the midfield. Despite Hattie, Lucy, Georgina and Hannah having first class games, any ball that was fed to our forward line became the victim of a brutal Oakham defence (no matter how fast Abi ran around, they were almost impossible to break down!).
There followed a period of fast paced, end to end hockey (which was much appreciated by the spectators). A PC awarded to Oakham saw a fine save from Jenna, and an outstanding strike from the edge of the D by Bethan saw a breathtaking save by the Oakham keeper. At Half Time, the score was drawn 0-0.
Both teams went into the Second Half with the same pace and determination, and the Leicester Squad ran down every ball. More chances came and went, but Leicester were eventually awarded a PC. An initial strike by Tara was saved. What followed was magnificent, with the rebounded ball caught smartly off Sophie’s reverse stick and the ball smashed at high pace into the net by Lydia – an incredible goal, possibly best of the season.
With several of the Leicester Squad involved in afternoon games and training, the Coach had to rest players more. At this point Oakham raised their intensity. With another of their trademark breaks we were left with a flying Oakham player wide on the D with no defence other than Jenna in goal. The ball was brilliantly smashed away.
The last 5 minutes was physical and full of attrition – good practice for our Squad in the forthcoming Cup Match v Harleston. The match finished 1-1. Probably a fair result if based on pure energy and determination from both squads, but possibly disappointing for the Leicester girls after so many shots on goal. We wish Oakham the best of luck in their quest at National Finals – that defence is a thing of beauty ……………. and incredible frustration!!!!!!!!
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Georgina Hampson – majestic in midfield
MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Eleanor sending a sideline pass direct to an Oakham player and watching for 30 seconds wondering why they were ‘going in the wrong direction’ …… “OH !!!!”