Whitchurch ladies 1s 4 Neston Ladies 3s 1
Whitchurch ladies 1s hosted Neston 3’s this week and after last weeks defeat Whitchurch took the game to Neston from the start.
Whitchurch took every opportunity they had to push into the Neston Dee. Ellie Windsor, Laura Workman and Phoebe Jones kept Neston on their toes, Grace Berry and Cath Winter-Gresty used their pace, keeping the ball rolling towards the Neston goal.
Short corners came thick and fast for Whitchurch with the first goal coming from a pass in to Emily Hilton. Gwyn Thomas -Rees made several great saves as Neston fought hard to get a goal back but the whistle went for half time.
Neston came back fighting in the second half. Cath R-Gresty and Vicky Price defended well with Helen Machin and Becky Brookfield hanging back to protect the Whitchurch goal. As Whitchurch started to tire, Neston took their opportunity to break and scored.
Whitchurch ladies really didn’t want to loose and you could see the change of play. The ball was passed around well between mid players and soon Whitchurch had another run of shorts with Becky Brookfield slotting past the keeper. This goal really put Whitchurch on a high as more balls were fired into the Dee. Cath W-Gresty ran up the right picking out Sue Read who pushed past the keeper. Minutes later Grace Berry received a pass in from Charlotte Lawder to score their 4th and final goal.
Ellie Windsor was voted best player by Neston.
Ladies 1s are at home again next week playing Warrington.
Runcorn ladies 2s Whitchurch ladies 2s 2
This week the undefeated Ladies 2s team travelled to Runcorn, to face Runcorn ladies 2s. During the first 10 minutes the ladies 2s looked extremely promising, with several attempted shots on goal. Nearly all of the possession was in the Whitchurch half and with several superb runs from Emily Vernon and Beth Sykes they should have took the lead.
Runcorn 2s had a few lucky breaks during the rest of the first half and with 5 players against Emma Clarke in defence, they managed to score. Shortly after, Runcorn scored another, despite Martha Teggin batting off some excellent strikes in defence and Shola Bailey’s fabulous keeping skills. With Whitchurch 2-0 down, they raised their heads and showed how strong a side they were; with their fighting spirit moments before the half time whistle went they were awarded a short corner. A fabulous injection from Hayleigh Busby meant that Jess Kimberley was able to skilfully slip it across to Hebe Dixon; who with an exceptionally powerful and accurate hit, smashed it into the left corner of the goal, putting Whitchurch back on the scoreboard, just as the half-time whistle went.
With a very motivating half-time chat from captain Emma Clarke, Whitchurch came back out fighting. They played strong as a team and with some excellent runs from Natasha Foster, who was doing a great job not playing in her usual position and Helen Hocknell who played a strong midfield setting up chances, it wasn’t long before Whitchurch were awarded another short corner. This time Tracy Tolhurst injected the ball out to Jess Kimberley, who hit it in to the bottom right hand corner, scoring a well-deserved goal bringing them level. Although, the ladies 2s were unlucky not to have won, they came away with a point and showed promise and huge potential for their future games.
This week’s player of the match was awarded to Jess Kimberley. Next week Whitchurch ladies 2s will take on Sandbach 1s away, where no doubt they will put in another strong effort.
Chester Men 6s 6 Whitchurch Mens 2s 0
For their first game of the 2017/18 season, Whitchurch 2s travelled to Chester 6s with a very young side containing a number of academy players making their debuts in men’s hockey.
Chester played their first fixture the previous weekend and were the more cohesive side in the early exchanges. As Whitchurch struggled to find any threatening positions, Chester were much more ruthless on the counter-attack. From an early short corner, Chester took the lead, but Whitchurch felt hard done by as the ball was always above the backboard before deflecting off Craig Hockenhull’s stick.
This pattern of play continued for most of the first half. Despite good work on the left from Airan Jones and Fred Egerton, the tireless running of Craig Hockenhull and Locki Price in midfield and the efforts of debutant James Page on the right, Whitchurch couldn’t get the ball into positions to threaten the opposition goal.
Chester were content to concede territory and possession but hit hard on the counter-attack. The Whitchurch defence of Iain Bones, Luke Davies and Doug Buckeridge did well to repel the Chester attacks, but ultimately they were exposed too often and Chester worked the ball into a couple of positions where they had players one-on-one with keeper Neil Jones, who was powerless to stop the well struck shots.
As the half wore on, Whitchurch did improve and managed to get the ball into more threatening positions. A number of short corners were won, but a combination of good defending, the Chester keeper and a stray Chester foot prevented a Whitchurch goal.
The 3-0 half time score line seemed a little harsh on Whitchurch. The improvements towards the end of the first half continued into the second, as Whitchurch began the half on the front foot.
Joseph Coburn and Euan Morris, both making their debuts, produced some brilliant interplay on the right wing and Airan Jones and Fred Egerton were becoming more of a threat from the left. Craig Hockenhull was playing higher up the pitch and linking well with Danny Foulkes in and around the Chester dee. But despite the good play, threatening positions and numerous short corners, Whitchurch could not get the ball in the Chester goal.
Chester continued to be a threat on the counter attack during the second half and, as in the first half, the Whitchurch defence was left exposed on a number of occasions. Despite the best efforts of the defenders and Neil Jones, they were powerless to prevent the three second half goals scored by Chester on the counter-attack.
The 6-0 final score was very harsh on this young Whitchurch side. After a tentative start the 2s dominated much of the game. All of the young players acquitted themselves well over the course of the game. Fred Egerton and Locki Price continued their good form from the tail end of last season and Airan Jones produced his best 2s performance. Joseph Coburn, Euan Morris and James Page all made excellent debuts and as they develop over the course of the season will become real assets for the 2s. And after a couple of years away from hockey it was great to welcome Luke Davies into the team.
Next week Whitchurch 2s entertain Warrington 2s.
Whitchurch Mens 1s 0 – Chester Men’s 5s 0
Whitchurch returned to league action this week, promoted to Division 6 South after another successful season, and played against a Chester team who have made Division 6 their home over the last few years. The Reds have lost a few more senior players to other clubs, or to higher education, so it was an opportunity for some of the younger players to step up and cement their places, which they did very well!
Jake Wood was quick on the wings, developing his attacks well, as well as getting back to help defend; Aaron Swain was again strong in goal, with growing confidence proving a handy weapon in closing down attackers, and clearing well. Tom Forster, Ryan Murtagh and Matt Brooks provided strength in defence, getting the ball out wide as well as marking consistently to take their attack out of the game.
Jack Barnes and Alex Fry rotated well in front of the defence, providing cover as well as starting powerful drives up the pitch. Ben Kimberley and Felix Jeffreys gave the defence real trouble out wide on the wings, and Ben Fry maintained his role as a critical player both driving forward and defending well. Tom Leonard and Martin Beecher were, as ever, solid in attack and made the Chester defenders work hard to keep them out.
It is a different team from last year, with personnel changes requiring everyone to step up and take responsibility for their roles rather than relying on a few people, and there were huge positives to take from the game on that front. What there wasn’t was a goal – but not for the want of trying: endless driving runs into the dee, powerful strikes, flicks, short corners galore, but no goal. The Chester keeper had an excellent game, keeping out everything Whitchurch could throw at home – dives, scoops off the line, charging out to break the two-on-ones – helped by the strong defence meant that the Reds, despite having 80% of the possession and only giving away a solitary short corner, could not get onto the score sheet.
Ultimately a frustrating result, but from a good game against a good team, giving Whitchurch something to build on as well as confidence for their chances this season. They play away against Brooklands MU Mens 5s next Saturday.
Bebbington ladies 2s 9 Whitchurch ladies 3s 0
Whitchurch 3s played their very first away match on Saturday 23rd September, against Bebington 2s, on the Wirral. Everybody entered the pitch very enthusiastically, knowing it was probably going to be a tough match!
Bebington had first push back and they attacked strongly, straightaway. Within ten minutes, they were 2 – 0 up. Despite a fantastic performance from our defence line-up, Shola Bailey, Wendy Cooper and Mel Reid, Bebington managed to score another four goals.
Despite this, at half time spirits were still high, as everybody was enjoying the match so much. Throughout the game, Whitchurch had some good chances and made a good number of attacking runs were made by our new junior players, but nothing came of them.
Edina Jones particularly performing well in her first match playing for Whitchurch. However, Bebington were just too strong for this new some-what in-experienced team. Shola Bailey our goalie made some incredible saves making her man of the match, but the final score line was Bebington 9 and Whitchurch 0. We learnt a lot from this match and our next match is a new game!