Whitchurch Men’s 1s 7 Runcorn Mens 3s 0
Whitchurch completed their first season in the North West league with a win over fellow promotion chasers Runcorn. The team secured promotion following an unbeaten season scoring 133 goals and only conceding 16 goals
Runcorn came with a strong team hoping to secure points and gain a valuable promotion place. From the start Runcorn defended resolutely from the start and frustrated the Whitchurch team who had the majority of the possession. Whilst Whitchurch dominated possession Runcorn were restricted to attacking on the break and almost snatched an early goal but for the quick reactions of Paul Leigh in goal.
Whitchurch finally took the lead and scored a second before the interval.
The second half saw Whitchurch step up their game and as Runcorn started to tire Whitchurch took fall advantage to score at will and in the end saw out another comfortable victory.
Denbigh Men’s 2s 3 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 2
Whitchurch 2s travelled to Denbigh for their last fixture of the season. When the fixture was originally scheduled the 2s were unable to field a team and suffered a three-point deduction, but now with a squad of twelve travelling the 2s were looking to finish the season on a high.
Whitchurch pushed forward towards the Denbigh goal straight from the pushback and immediately started to create chances. Within a few minutes, Phil Tranter did really well to keep the ball in play and his pass was finished off with a fine piece of dribbling and shot by captain-for-the-day Sy Briceno.
With Iain Bones playing in midfield, Whitchurch were able to pin Denbigh back in their own half and any counter attacks were well dealt with by the 3-man defence of Mark Sugden, Doug Buckeridge and Jake Wood.
Whitchurch continued to dominate the half with Bones and Richard Leigh strong in the centre of midfield and the attacks assisted by good wing play from Josh Parry. But the 2s had to wait for their second goal. Eventually the ball ricocheted to Jack Barnes, who fired past the Denbigh keeper.
Despite their dominance and the deserved 2-0 lead, the rolling substitutions seemed to cause Whitchurch to lose a bit of shape and Denbigh forced a flurry of short corners towards the end of the half. Neil Jones in goal and Iain Bones both made excellent stops to prevent Denbigh from scoring. But eventually a bit of sustained Denbigh pressure resulted in a well-taken goal.
Whitchurch looked to continue their dominance in the second half, but Denbigh’s goal had galvanised the team and their more experienced players started to take control of midfield.
As Iain Bones dropped back into defence, Whitchurch relinquished territory in favour of long balls looking for the front two and the strong running of Aaron Shackleton and Aaron Swain.
The 2s had a number of promising counter attacks, but they struggled to make the Denbigh keeper work, with attacks floundering on the edge of the D.
Midway through the second half the game changed dramatically with Jack Barnes red carded for a dangerous tackle. Denbigh took advantage of the extra man and forced Whitchurch back. But the defence stood firm, with some great tackles and interceptions by Mark Sugden and Iain Bones. When Denbigh did get their shots away Neil Jones made some excellent stops.
Eventually the pressure told and Denbigh won a short corner, which was smashed home from the edge of the D. Things got worse for the 2s in the last 10 minutes of the game. Jack’s failure to leave the playing area in a timely manner resulted in another Whitchurch player being asked to leave the field of play, forcing Whitchurch to hang on with only 9 men.
Despite a valiant effort, Denbigh won another short corner in the dying seconds of the match. The shot from the edge of the D was deflected into the Whitchurch goal from very close range, leaving the defender on the post and Neil Jones with no chance to react.
This was a deeply disappointing and frustrating result for the 2’s. They played well throughout the match and Denbigh struggled to really threaten the Whitchurch goal even with their numerical advantage in the second half. Ultimately indiscipline cost the team at least one point. It’s safe to say that this away fixture has not been kind to the 2s this season.
The defeat means Whitchurch 2s finish in 7th place in the league table in their first season in the league
There are lots of positives to take from the 2s very first competitive hockey season.
Certainly when the team are able to field a full complement of players they are competitive with most of the teams in this division, as proven by the wins against Runcorn and Winnington Park, both of whom were competing for promotion on the last day of the season.
The young players have grown and blossomed in the team. Aaron Swain has worked extremely hard as an outfield player and both Josh Parry and Jake Wood, who was exceptional against Denbigh, have very bright futures.
The older players who are new, or have returned to hockey after a long absence from the game have also grown as the season has gone on, and the experienced heads of Alex Fry, Craig Hockenhull and Iain Bones have been a constant source of support and encouragement to the inexperienced players.
There is great camaraderie within the group who have played for the 2s, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience through the highs and the lows of the season.
Roll on next season!
Whitchurch ladies 2s 1 vs Neston ladies 4s 1
On Saturday 5th March Whitchurch ladies 2s entertained Neston 4s and Whitchurch and had a point to prove after lasts week result against their 3rd team.
From the first whistle Whitchurch attacked and within five minutes Whitchurch were ahead as Charlotte Lawder burst into the dee and slipped the ball past the advancing keeper. Goalkeeper Shola Bailey kept Whitchurch in the game with a penalty flick save on the stroke of halftime to keep Whitchurch’s advantage.
The second half saw more action with another penalty stoke awarded to Neston but this time Shola couldn’t prevent Neston equalising.
The team continued to work hard with runs and tackles from Martha Teggin, Emily Vernon and Sami Ives down the left side of the pitch resulting Ashleigh Heath almost giving Whitchurch the lead but for a good save from the Neston keeper.
Whitchurch played their hearts out through out this game as they were aiming to keep getting the points. Bringing the total to 5 points in the last four games and the feeling that the season has ended to soon.
Whitchurch will be ending the season at home vs Brooklands Poynton at 12:30 this Saturday.
The ladies 1s travel away to Chester next following the cancellation of the game this weekend against Alderley Edge this weekend due to snow lying on the pitch Alderley pitch.