With the ladies not playing this weekend it was left to the men.
Neston Men’s 5s 0 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3
Whitchurch travelled away looking to return to winning form. Neston pressured from the start of the match forcing Whitchurch to defend in numbers, against the run of play Ben Kimberley broke down the right wing and into the Neston dee and slipped the ball to Craig Hockenhull who flicked in the opener.
Neston continued to push forward but the Whitchurch defence remained solid with the back three of Ryan Murtagh, Danny Foulkes and Steve Kay breaking down Neston’s attacks. With ten minutes to go in the half a collision between Steve Kay and the Neston forward saw him side-lined for the remainder of the match and Whitchurch playing with only 10 men.
Whitchurch faced a storm of pressure from the Neston forwards for the final ten minutes of the half but manged to retain the lead due to the work rate and tackling of Rob Chappell, Jake Wood and Airan Jones in the midfield.
The half time talk focussed around maintaining possession and making best use of the ball as all feared with 10 players the game was going to be one sided in the second half.
Neston again came on the attack and again Whitchurch defended in numbers and frustrated the Neston attackers. An interception in midfield saw Alex Fry break into the Neston dee and shoot, the rebound off the keeper’s pads bounced to Hockenhull to fire in his second with a reverse stick shot.
Neston began to get frustrated and as they pushed forward Kimberley began to create havoc with his pacey runs and this continued to give Whitchurch opportunities with Tom Leonard firing just past the post and Airan Jones deflecting just wide of the goal.
As the game went on Neston’s frustration began to affect their play and from a penalty corner Alex Fry fired in an unstoppable shot to give Whitchurch a three-goal lead.
Whitchurch rode their luck in the remaining minutes as the players struggled with fatigue and a superb save from goalkeeper Paul Leigh topped a strong performance giving Whitchurch a clean sheet and a well-deserved three points.
Whitchurch Men’s 2s 4 Neston Men’s 8s 4
Whitchurch Men’s 2s faced Neston Men’s 8s, with Whitchurch keen to bounce back from their defeat of the previous weekend. The game started with Neston coming out all guns blazing and dominating the game for the first 10 minutes, but Whitchurch rode out the pressure with a strong back four of Richard Leigh, Ian Bones, Thomas Molenaar and Rupert Yeoward shutting down any of Neston’s efforts that got into their D.
As Neston’s initial momentum tired, Whitchurch moved from the defensive strategy they’d been forced to adopt, and the midfield line of Matt Brooks supported by father and son Wyn and Euan Morris were able to push further up the pitch and take the game back to Neston. Although Whitchurch were now controlling the tempo of the play, Neston were still very much in the game and play rapidly alternated between one end of the pitch and the other, with an attack from Neston seeing a cross fed to one of their players on the back post who placed it into the goal to open the scoring.
Whitchurch continued to push hard, with Joseph Coburn and Fred Egerton on the wings taking the ball around Neston and feeding it into Whitchurch’s strikers, Martin Beecher and Josh Parry. Before long, Beecher responded to Neston’s lead with a powerful shot from the edge of the D that brought the scores to 1-1.
Play continued in the same vein, with both teams quickly moving from attacking to defending, Neston scoring a second goal but Beecher adding to his tally to bring the score back to 2-2. A short corner awarded to Whitchurch saw the reds skilfully playing the ball around the Neston D and drawing the Neston defence, with Ian Bones taking the opportunity to hammer it home to give Whitchurch a 3-2 lead at half time.
Neston came out strong for the second half, and despite possession still being balanced, Whitchurch were at times unable to meet Neston’s attacks man-for-man allowing Neston freedom within the Whitchurch D that allowed them to convert two more crosses into goals, snatching the lead to go 4-3 up. Whitchurch refused to let their spirits drop, and their commitment was rewarded as Beecher scored his hat trick, bringing the score up to 4-4.
Unwilling to settle for a draw and despite tiring, both teams continued to push hard with Neston continuing to test Whitchurch keeper Neil Jones, and Whitchurch also racing into counter attacks, one of which saw Beecher rocket a shot into the Neston crossbar, but with neither team unable to secure victory, the final whistle of what had been a thrilling game ending in a 4-4 final score.