Denbigh Mens 2s 4 Whitchurch Mens 2s 2
Whitchurch 2s were looking to build on last week’s draw when they travelled to 4th placed Denbigh for a lunchtime pushback.
Denbigh immediately put pressure on the Whitchurch goal, forcing a couple of short corners, one of which drew an excellent low save from keeper Neil Jones. From the resulting long corner, slack marking from Whitchurch left a Denbigh player free in front of goal and he was able to control the pass into the dee and prod home past Jones.
From the resulting push-back, Whitchurch put together a neat passing move to immediately create a chance of their own which narrowly evaded Aaron Swain’s stick at the back post.
The first half continued in a similar vein with both sides taking turns to dominate possession and territory and create chances. But whilst the Whitchurch attacks floundered around the edge of the dee the Denbigh attacks were creating clearer chances, forcing the defence of James Nicholson, Iain Bones, Danny Foulkes and Mark Sugden into some last ditch tackles and blocks.
Eventually the Denbigh pressure told and midway through the first half they doubled their lead.
Whitchurch were undeterred and continued to play some controlled attacking hockey. Good work from Steve Kay and Jake Wood led to a fine strike from Dale Seymour to reduce the arrears, but as Whitchurch pushed forward for an equaliser they were caught on the counter-attack and Denbigh struck to make the score 3-1.
As half-time approached, Whitchurch were awarded a disputed short corner, which was fired towards the back post where Jake Wood brilliantly turned the waist-high ball into the Denbigh goal to make the score 3-2.
In the second half Whitchurch found a little more control in midfield and tried to restrict the opportunities for Denbigh to play on the counter-attack. Repeatedly the Denbigh attacks were thwarted by the Whitchurch defence and keeper Jones had much less work to do than in the first half.
Whitchurch’s neat hockey started to create more chances in front of the Denbigh goal and they forced a number of short corners. However over-commitment at one of these short corners allowed Denbigh to break away in numbers and score a fourth goal.
Despite their best efforts Whitchurch were unable to respond. Sam Conway was constantly involved in the good play leading to the dee, but he was unable to get any chances to shoot at goal. Steve Kay and Dale Seymour had shots fly wide and crosses into the dee seemed to find Whitchurch feet rather than sticks.
This was an entertaining game of hockey, and despite the 4-2 defeat, Whitchurch contributed significantly with some neat, controlled hockey. The team carried a sustained threat throughout the game – something that has been missing in a number of games this season. The additions of Dale Seymour, Danny Foulkes and the return of Steve Kay added some much needed experience and quality to this 2s side.
Next week the 2s entertain an unbeaten Birkenhead 1s side, who have scored 96 goals already this season.
Whitchurch Ladies 1s 2 Wilmslow ladies 3s 2
Whitchurch pressured the Wilmslow defence from the start and took an early lead when Laura Workman swept in at the back post. Wilmslow continued to apply pressure to the Whitchurch defence with well-hit free hits bypassing the midfield. Whitchurch chances came and went as they failed too convert their opportunities. Wilmslow equalised with a well worked penalty corner to leave the half time scores level.
The start of the second half saw Wilmslow grab an early goal much to the frustration of the Whitchurch team, again Whitchurch had many chances to equalise but couldn’t convert the chances they created. It was not until the final minutes of the match that Lucy Ratcliffe shot home to equalise and give Whitchurch a point.
Whitchurch 1s travel away to Trition 2s next week.
Crewe Vagrants ladies 4s 1 Whitchurch ladies 2s 3
This was a must win game against their local rivals as Whitchurch sat second and Crewe third in the league.
The game started late in the cold and dark and both teams struggled to find any early form as the ball bounced around the pitch. Whitchurch took the upper hand when Hayleigh Busby beat the advancing keeper. Crewe then responded running the ball straight through the centre of the Whitchurch midfield and defence to equalise.
This sent panic through the Whitchurch team as they struggled to cope with the pace of the Crewe side and subsequently got caught out of position but managed to get to half time with the scores level.
The second half saw Whitchurch maintain their discipline and force Crewe to play their style of hockey, tight marking by Martha Teggin and Hebe Dixon prevented the quick breaks from the Crewe forwards and allowed the Whitchurch midfield to take control.
Sue Read pounced on a miss-hit 16 yard free hit to fire past the Crewe keeper and put Whitchurch back into the lead, from then on the Whitchurch confidence rose. Goalkeeper Phoebe Jones was left as a spectator as captain Emma Clarke and sweeper Jess Kimberley swept up any chances Crewe had.
When Hayleigh Busby was picked out by Hebe Dixon just outside the dee she drove the baseline and pushed past the advancing keeper to give a much-needed three points and a gap between them in the league.
Whitchurch ladies 2s play Neston ladies 5s next Sunday in a re-arranged fixture.
Whitchurch Mens 1s 6 Runcorn Mens 2s 1
Whitchurch entertained Runcorn in another hard fought contest and kept up their push for promotion. Martin Beecher gave Whitchurch an early lead and then followed end-to-end hockey as neither team managed to get control of the match, from this Runcorn managed to equalise on the break.
Whitchurch then scored two almost identical goals with Tom Leonard breaking through the midfield to find Beecher who laid back the ball to Leonard to tap home.
Their then followed a break in play when defender James Partington sustained an injury to the head and treatment followed. Once play continued further goals from Ben Kimberley and a brace from Martin Beecher gave Whitchurch another well-earned three points.