Whitchurch Men’s 1s 7 – Keele University Men’s 1s 4
Whitchurch returned to action after some weather- and transport-related cancellations with a home game against Keele University 1s, and were able to field a good side, and it gave Whitchurch a good base from which to work. The Reds put the pressure on Keele from the start, prepared for a similar tough start to the game as for the away fixture, and the positive attitude paid dividends with much of the possession going the way of the Whitchurch team.
A short corner call went in Whitchurch’s favour, and Jon Chappell opened the scoring with a good strike past the keeper. Another penalty corner followed shortly after and a well-worked routine came across to Jack Barnes who was also able to sweep the ball past the Keele keeper. At the other end of the pitch, the defence were able to mark their players well, with Matt Brookes and James Partington out wide and Dulson holding the middle. Dulson’s skill and experience showed, with numerous tackles and a superb piece of skill with a flick on the move launching the ball all the way to the Keele 23 line where Jon Chappell was unlucky to be blocked by the keeper.
Rob Chappell, Alex Fry, Ben Fry and Tom Leonard held the centre of the pitch and moved the ball well, combining with Barnes on the left and Ben Kimberley on the right, and the pressure paid off again with another short corner routine with a “Dambusters” shot from Leonard bouncing its way over everyone’s sticks to get the third for Whitchurch. However, Keele were not to be denied when they intercepted another loose pass and a breakaway saw them get the ball to a striker in the dee whose flick beat Partington’s stick and Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh’s pads and gloves on its way into the net to take the score to 3-1 at half time.
The second half was a much more even affair, with some end-to-end play and each team taking it in turn to score: Jon Chappell scored three in the half to continue his excellent record for the season, with each coming from open play and the ball being moved around at speed and with accuracy in the Keele dee. However, a mixture of missed passes, running into trouble, and over-confidence meant that Keele were able to make breakaways and found themselves with more attackers than Whitchurch had defenders, and managed to score three of their own including some excellent pieces of work getting an attacker onto the far post for a tap-in. However, Whitchurch were able to maintain a cushion and Kimberley scored the final goal with a lovely stab-tackle in the dee which took the ball over the keeper. The game finished 7-4 and, with Oxton Mens 5s having withdrawn from the league, there is only the catch-up fixture against Brooklands MU 6s to mark the end of a tough but solid season for Whitchurch and a mid-table finish.
Timperley ladies 4s 2 Whitchurch ladies 1s 4
Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled away to play Timperley 4s this Saturday. When they played them at home earlier on in the season they battled for the win and this time there was no change. From the off both teams seemed very equal, with the ball being passed from one end to the other. Timperley were very skilful and managed to get the ball back in their defence.
They scored first from a slip into the Whitchurch goal corner. Whitchurch fought back up the pitch, with mid players Jessica Carruthers and Catherine Winter-Gresty helping Holly Jepson score her first, a straight strike from top dee.
After this everyone knew it was going to be a tough game to get the win, but Whitchurch were really enjoying the game and Ellie Windsor and Grace Berry kept attacking and putting on the pressure. Timperley were awarded a penalty flick that they managed to score their last.
Whitchurch now came back strong passing through the blues using Helen Machin and Natasha foster on the left and push into the dee to receive a short corner that Laura Workman slotted passed Timperley keeper.
Half time and a well earned rest; Whitchurch continued to fight for the ball and controlled the second half of the game more. Timperley managed to break a couple of times, but the amazing Maddie Sugden saved every shot. Whitchurch had a run of shorts which allowed Hebe Dixon to score receiving a slip from Catherine Winter-Gresty. Timperley were not liking this game and didn’t stop attacking putting plenty of pressure on defence Millie Edwards and Catherine Reece-Gresty but to no avail.
With ten minutes to go the game seemed to be dragging, Whitchurch just needing to hold onto the win. Another short for Whitchurch, a slip to Hebe Dixon from Grace Berry which deflected into the top corner. Whistle went and Whitchurch were overjoyed with a well deserved 4-2 win!
Winnington Park Men’s 4s 5 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 1
Whitchurch Men’s 2s travelled to Northwich, on Saturday, for a lunchtime match with third-placed Winnington Park 4s. With half of the team made up of junior players it was good to welcome Craig Hockenhull back from injury, into the centre of midfield.
True to the disparity in league position between the two teams, Winnington immediately took control of the game, with Whitchurch struggling to get out of their own half. The Northwich team won a series of short corners, bringing some excellent saves out of keeper Neil Jones. Ultimately the pressure on the Whitchurch defence forced a mistake and Winnington pounced to open the scoring.
Further chances came and went, in part due to some excellent last ditch defending from Wyn Morris, Rupert Yeoward and Danny Foulkes, but Winnington soon opened up a two-goal lead.
As the first half wore on, Whitchurch began to get a foothold in the game and started to make inroads into the Winnington half. With Craig Hockenhull the driving force in the centre of the pitch, Joe Coburn, Joe Faithful and Euan Morris were getting good possession on the Whitchurch right. Initially chances were limited to speculative shots and crosses, but better chances did come. The Northwich keeper made an excellent save from Hockenhull and then kicked away a shot by Doug Buckeridge at the near post.
With Whitchurch pushing forward, Winnington ruthlessly exposed them on the counter-attack just before half-time, and went into the break with a 3-0 lead.
The second half was much more even in terms of possession and territory, with the biggest difference between the two sides being the quality of finishing, as the more experienced Winnington side added a further two goals.
Despite this the Whitchurch defence were excellent in the second half. Wyn Morris had a storming game on the right, and Airan Jones grew into the game after a shaky start on the left. Rupert Yeoward and Danny Foulkes dealt with just about anything Winnington could muster in the middle of the pitch.
But Whitchurch had their chances. Euan Morris, Craig Hockenhull and Doug Buckeridge all went close or forced saves from the Winnington keeper. Joe Faithful found some excellent positions on the right wing and Jacob Buckeridge and James Page worked hard to provide width on the left.
Eventually Whitchurch got some reward for their endeavours, as Joe Coburn played an excellent pass through the centre of the pitch, which Doug Buckeridge flicked first time, putting Euan Morris clean through on goal. Despite good support from the Buckeridges, Euan fired across the keeper for a well deserved consolation goal.
Despite the 5-1 defeat, Whitchurch can again be proud of their efforts. Winnington are comfortably the third best team in the division and the Reds young side went toe-to-toe with them for long periods of the game. The young players continue to improve at this level, with Joe Faithful and Euan Morris having great second-halves, and Joe Coburn showing real maturity and tenacity in midfield.
Next Saturday, Whitchurch Men’s 2s entertain Denbigh 2s at SJT.
The under 14’s took to the pitch again this weekend with three matches against Bridgnorth, William Brookes Much Wenlock and Telford and Wrekin.
They started the first match against Bridgnorth attacking strongly with strong drives from Jasmin and Suzie. Unfortunately Bridgnorth saw an opening and managed to take the lead after scoring leaving the final score line 1-0 to Bridgnorth.
The second match was against William Brookes Much Wenlock and again they started with a very strong attack. Numerous attempts on goal resulted in Izzy finding the back of the net and then Ellie followed scoring Whitchurch’s second. Whitchurch had a strong midfielder Fran who kept driving through to feed the ball to the forwards resulting in a 2-0 win for Whitchurch.
The final match was against Telford and Wrekin who were a strong attacking team putting the defensive skills of Holly and Hermione to the test. The opposition quickly put the ball past the defence and the Alice who had stepped in to play goalie for her first time in pads! After more shots from the opposition, which were saved by Alice Whitchurch broke through with an attack but unfortunately were not able to score. Telford then extended their lead by another goal from a short corner. The score line of this match shows how strong the defences didn’t goalkeeping were as Telford had many chances but were not able to optimise on them leaving the full time score as 2-0 to Telford and Wrekin.
The under 14 girls are back in action on 24th March at Wrekin College for their final games of the season.
Whitchurch ladies 3s 4 Neston ladies 5s 2
Whitchurch Ladies 3s arrived at their home pitch in a positive state of mind, as the sun was shining and it actually felt mild for the first time this season! They were due to play Neston Ladies 5s and having beaten them last time, they were hoping for a repeat performance!
Whitchurch had two new players, playing for a senior team for the first time, Fran Dunn and Lauren Turnbull. They both made an excellent debut and their confidence was fantastic for their first senior match. The match did not start well for Whitchurch however, as within the first few minutes Neston scored!
Whitchurch knew they had to refocus and began to fight back, with some great runs from forwards, Helen Hocknell, Victoria Corlett and Lauren Turnbull with wingers Ellie McEvoy and Milly Carruthers interjecting brilliantly. Despite some excellent defending from Mel Reid, Fran Dunn, Wendy Cooper and goalkeeper Evie Whatmough, Neston managed to score another goal before half time.
During the halftime team talk, it was apparent the Whitchurch players knew they could pull this one back in our favour! They went back on with fighting spirit and with some very useful midfield play by Chloe Lloyd, Emily Lister and Captain Kate Goodwin; Milly Carruthers was able to convert it into a great goal. The game was back on! Whitchurch refused to give up and with some excellent play by every team member, Helen Hocknell our player of the match managed to score a hat trick! So, the match finished 4-2 to Whitchurch. They were delighted with their comeback!