Category Archives: Match Reports

Blow-by-blow accounts of the latest (hopefully) action…

With the ladies without matches over the half term break it was left to the men this weekend.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3 Neston Men’s 7s 3

In what has turned out to be the last hockey match for at least a month, the Men’s 2s welcomed Neston 7s to a bright and sunny Whitchurch on Saturday. Once again coronavirus had impacted squad selection, so a number of players were drafted in from the 1s game earlier in the afternoon.

A familiar pattern emerged as the older and more powerful Neston team took control of midfield and forced Whitchurch back towards their own dee. But with the home side working hard, Neston found it difficult to threaten the Whitchurch goal. Brendan Coburn, Danny Foulkes, Joel Leese, Sturge and Gareth Teggin put in a succession of blocks and tackles to keep Neston at bay.

Whitchurch were quick to counterattack when the away side lost possession.

Joe Coburn, Ethan Gresty and Luke Beddow combined well in midfield, but couldn’t quite find striker Will Gilbert, or the willing runs of Jacob and Doug Buckeridge on the wings.

Eventually one of Whitchurch’s attacks was rewarded with a short corner. Doug Buckeridge exchanged passes with Joe Coburn and Buckeridge swept home from close range to open the scoring.

The pattern of play continued for much of the half, with Neston enjoying territory and possession, but Whitchurch posing threat on the counter. Ultimately, and despite the best efforts of the Whitchurch defence and keeper Neil Jones, the pressure from the away side brought an equaliser.

With the game level at half time, Whitchurch were looking to retain more of the ball in the second half, but Neston had other ideas. The away side injected more pace into their passing and Whitchurch struggled to get to grips with the change. Neston deservedly took the lead and looked to press home their advantage, but Neil Jones made several excellent stops to thwart the Wirral side.

Whitchurch eventually settled and with Tom Forster and Jack Barnes adding more power in midfield, they worked their way back into the game. Once again Joe Coburn was instrumental in Whitchurch’s best attacking moments, and as his ball into the dee flicked off a defender’s stick and looped up over the keeper, Luke Beddow raced through to get a vital touch and equalise.

Soon after another defence splitting pass found Fred Egerton, who rounded the Neston keeper and fired home from an acute angle to give Whitchurch the lead. The home side continued to create chances but were unable to add to their advantage.

Buoyed by their lead, Whitchurch began to commit more players forward and Neston were forced to play on the counterattack. With only a few minutes left, a Whitchurch move broke down and as the away side drove forward the Reds defence found themselves outnumbered and Neston took full advantage to equalise.

The 3-3 draw was probably a fair result. Both sides enjoyed good spells during the game, and both sides were grateful for good goalkeeping and poor finishing. At times Whitchurch were a little disjointed, with a number of new players on the pitch, but those players also added some much-needed physical presence.

With the national lockdown imminent, the Men’s 2s next game will hopefully be in early December.

 

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 2 – Chester Men’s 4/5s 2

With another scheduled game lost to local restrictions, Whitchurch played a friendly against a Chester team made up of a mixture of their two teams in the Division 3 South league. With heavy rain having soaked the pitch in the morning, there were questions about whether the game would go ahead, but the rain stopped, the sun came out and the match was played in glorious sunshine.

It was an evenly matched game, played in good spirit and with some excellent play by both teams. A shortage of senior players gave a number of the younger 2s players an opportunity to step up, with Alex Leigh, Luke Beddow, Ethan Gresty and Will Gilbert joining Joe Coburn and Fred Egerton as the next generation of 1s players, and all represented themselves well, showing pace and skill against an equally youthful opposition.

With some decent end-to-end hockey, the game always felt like it had goals in it, and Whitchurch broke the deadlock with a well-worked short corner, fired in by Danny Foulkes to Jack Barnes at the top of the dee, whose powerful flick went through the keeper. A few minutes later, the scores were level as a Chester drive broke through the Reds’ defence and managed to get the ball past a diving Sturge in goal.

As with last week’s game, Whitchurch settled well to their task, and maintained their efforts through both halves, which is the step up they needed to make from previous seasons where games could tail off in the second half. There was some great use of width, starting at the back with the defenders happy to go across the pitch multiple times before finding their pass out. The midfield were equally happy dropping the ball back to the defence rather than running into trouble and it set the game up well. Some great running down both wings put pressure on the Chester defence, and there was strength in the middle of the pitch at all times.

Chester went 2-1 up with an unlucky deflection after they’d made a good run down the middle of the pitch on the break, but Whitchurch got the scores level again with another short corner routine out to the right which was crossed in before Chris Ruscoe got the last touch.

It was another good game, with Whitchurch showing a promising future as their strong youth structure provides the rewards the coaching staff have been working on. Another home game against Chester 4s is scheduled for next weekend, when Whitchurch will go all out for the win.

Match reports 17/10/20

With the Men’s 1s having no game and the 2s postponed due to COVID travel restrictions it was left to the ladies this weekend.

Warrington ladies 1s 3 Whitchurch ladies 1s 4

The ladies 1s travelled away to play Warrington 1s this Saturday in what turned out to be an equal sided game.  Whitchurch started play with great control and passing around the Warrington players having majority of the play. Any possession was quickly intercepted by Anna Latham and Sophie Ward. The reds quickly won a short corner, Hebe Dixon and Sarah Field passing accurately to each other several times for Field to score.

Warrington fought back with a goal from a short corner too. Then it was back to Whitchurch with Kezzie Hutchings and Chloe Lloyd pushing hard up the pitch for captain Catherine Winter-Gresty to drive the base line and fire into Sarah Field who calmly slot past the keeper. Warrington before the half time whistle scored again from a well-practiced short corner.

Half time 2-2, a quick rest a team talk and Whitchurch set up as the start, Izzy Huxley and Stephanie Stanton collecting passes high up the pitch, keeping plenty of play in the Warrington half, Hayleigh Busby received the ball from Dixon and picked out Field for their third. Keeper Maddy Sugden had her work cut out saving many shots as again Warrington pushed forward and scored a third goal from open play.

Whitchurch needed this win and continued to have some great movement up the pitch, a last push for Whitchurch as Millie Edwards passed down the pitch to Sophie Ward who scored their winning goal.

A relief for Whitchurch as the whistle went for a 4-3 win.

Timperley ladies 6s 5 Whitchurch ladies 3s 0

Whitchurch travelled to Altrincham to face a newly formed Timperley team who are currently undefeated and top of the table. They had some very experienced players but Whitchurch held their own with some driving attacks led by centre forward Annie Buckeridge and Amelie Morris at right inner. Kate Buckeridge struggled at left inner to get the ball to Sasha Preece running down the left wing due to the superb pressure from the Timperley defence but the Whitchurch halves, Eryn Cookson on the left, Jan Teggin on the right and Nicky Barber in the centre proved equal to the task firing the ball back into the attacking dee for the forwards to run onto.

In defence, Tabitha Leonard on the right and Emily Lister on the left did a sterling job clearing the Timperley attacks and were backed up by the superb keeping skills of Louise Cottrell who denied some hard strikes of the ball in the Whitchurch dee with both stick and feet. Bella Morris and Heidi Carr linked up well holding the ball on the right supported by some superb tackling and passes from Teggin but after 15 minutes the pressure proved too great and Timperley eventually broke free and scored a good unstoppable goal tight on the left post.

Undeterred by going a goal down, Barber and Cookson tackled hard and prevented many more attacks feeding Buckeridge’s and Morris’s alike through the middle. Unfortunately, Timperley broke free after 10 minutes and scored another scrappy goal despite the sprawling attempts of Cottrell to save it. So stretched was she that she literally fell apart and it took a few minutes and some help to be put back together. This 2nd goal gave Timperley confidence and they went on to score another well-orchestrated hard hit goal shortly before half time, leaving the score 3 – 0.

The second half saw equal possession between the two teams and Whitchurch won a few short corners spurred on from the rousing cheering from the travelling ‘Leonard support team’. Timperley proved very experienced in their defence and tackling skills denying Whitchurch several shots on goal. Barber and Cookson were relentless in their tackles and determination to be first to the ball in midfield allowing Whitchurch to drive through the middle and giving Morris a fine hit right on the edge of the dee into the Timperley goal. This caused debate between umpires whether it was touched by a Whitchurch player inside the dee but unfortunately the goal was ruled out. An injury to a Timperley player unsettled the Whitchurch attack and they drove through the middle to gain a 4th goal against the run of play.

At the final pushback, Annie Buckeridge showed excellent stick skills turning and running forward through the tight Timperley defence linking with both Morris sisters before running into the Timperley dee. Once one on one with the keeper she narrowly missed a link up pass to the right to Bella Morris. Carr showed great tenacity on the left getting ahead of the Timperley players and linking up passes with Morris and Cookson but Timperley drove forward and Kate Buckeridge unluckily conceded a short corner with a kick on the edge of the dee resulting in a fifth goal for Timperley. The last 10 minutes of the game saw most of the possession with Whitchurch and it was felt that a goal would come in time but for the final whistle preventing further play. A valiant effort by all players and making their captain Teggin very proud.

Player’s player was Amelie Morris.

 

Whitchurch ladies 2s 3 Alderley Edge ladies 7s 4

Buoyed on by their success travelling to Macclesfield last week, Whitchurch ladies 2s were looking forward to taking on newly demoted Alderley Edge. With an extremely depleted team, Whitchurch took to the pitch with no keeper and no subs, what we did have was a team who were willing to pull together and support each other.

Head Coach Alex Fry was on hand to advise player positions, lining the team up in a strong attacking formation. Defenders Emma Clarke and Catherine Reece-Gresty pushed forward squashing the Alderley Edge players into their half, with Jess Kimberley sweeping any balls which made it through. Whitchurch started strong, with three short corners in the first 5 minutes and were unlucky not to convert them.

Whitchurch kept up constant pressure in Alderley Edge with Molly Fry in middle playing the ball through to her sister Amy Fry who interacted with Ellie Pearson all showing their skills and precision passing. When Alderley Edge were able to make a break against play, they were stopped by halves Holly Gilbert and Ellie Windsor, but managed to secure a short corner. Whitchurch have a good reputation for defending short corners, but without a keeper Alderley Edge were able to slot the ball through the Whitchurch players feet and score their first goal.

Whitchurch did not let their heads go down, keeping the pressure up using the left side of the pitch with Tracey Pearson and Amelie Morris playing confidently in their regular positions working well with Nicola Forster up front. Alderley Edge made sure Whitchurch’s defence were put under pressure constantly, but the ball was kept well away from Whitchurch’s dee. Unfortunately the youthful legs of Alderley Edge proved too much for Whitchurch and they scored their second on a speedy break against play. Again Whitchurch refused to lie down. And it wasn’t long until they were finally rewarded for their efforts, Tracey Tolhurst reversed the ball to Ellie Pearson on the post and she put it in.

The second goal came shortly before the half time whistle from a short corner, scored by Nicola Forster which was slipped left from the top of the dee.
Our half time talk was supported by coach Alex, who helped with our technique. The whole team was exhausted but believed we could still win.

Unfortunately, the second half proved too much for Whitchurch, with Alderley Edge having three subs and a keeper we were under constant pressure. The team worked hard keeping the ball in the Alderley Edge half as much as possible but they knew the Whitchurch team were flagging and time took its toll, with two more goals being score by Alderley Edge early in the second half.

But there was no way Whitchurch was going to roll over, 5 minutes before the end of the match Molly Fry lead another break down the centre of the pitch, passing to Nicola Forster who swept past the keeper and slotted Whitchurch’s third goal of the match.

Even though we were exhausted Whitchurch pushed back at Alderley Edge chasing the draw, unfortunately it was not to be. The final whistle went and Whitchurch lost 3-4 to Alderley Edge.
Next week the ladies 2s travel to Sale.

Match Reports 10/10/20

Macclesfield ladies 3s 0 Whitchurch ladies 2s 2

After a fantastic first game of the season Whitchurch ladies 2s travelled to Macclesfield with high hopes. Arriving with only 20 mins to spare and one car literally turning up with 5 minutes to go, Whitchurch were disorganised and not warmed up. However, as a team they are they all pulled together and made it on the pitch ready for push back.

From the whistle, Whitchurch were a strong attacking force, with Phoebe Jones as centre forward taking control. For the first 5 minutes of the match Whitchurch dominated and were justifiably rewarded with the first goal of the match, a lovely flick of the ball over a lying down keeper by Phoebe Jones to give Whitchurch the lead and confidence to flourish.

This gave Macclesfield the determination to make some attacking presses which Whitchurch’s defensive cohort, of newbie Eryn Cookson, who had a storming match Catherine Reece-Gresty, Emma Clarke and Jess Kimberley stopped. Jas Williams took on the key role of centre half and kept a cool head and stopping the Macclesfield team equalising.

Each attack by the Macclesfield ladies was expertly quashed and sent back up the field to the safe young hands of Holly Edwards and Ellie Pearson who passed the ball smoothly between themselves to move the ball up the pitch to the awaiting attackers of Amelie Morris who had a highly commendable match, Holly Gilbert and Heidi Carr supporting her with their excellence skills.

This led to Whitchurch being awarded a number of short corners, from which our 2nd goal come eventually, with a left hand short corner, which managed to touch every one of the attackers sticks before Kimberley managed to slot it in behind the keeper, after the umpire had made the decision to play advantage in Whitchurch’s favour.

After a half time talk, where the team were asked to take a breath, Whitchurch came out fully determined to keep their lead. Jones took the ball and played high into the Macclesfield defence; this was the way play was to continue throughout the second half.

Macclesfield continued to attack hard, but our amazing keeper Beth Wright kept strong, she moved around the dee with stunning agility diving at the ball on a number of occasions. Macclesfield won a number of short corners but they were continuously defended and scuppered by the strong Whitchurch defenders.
It was not a tidy match, extremely scrappy but the whole team gave 100% effort and pulled together to make sure we won no matter what.

A clean sheet for Beth Wright, a great win for Whitchurch ladies 2 and MoM to Jess Kimberley. Next week the L2s are home against Alderley Edge Ladies 7.

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 Deeside Ramblers Men’s 5s 4

Whitchurch lost again this week, but in a much more even game. While they were mostly played off the park last week, this week’s game was a more balanced affair and despite going into the half time break at 2-2, the home side felt that Whitchurch should have won it from there. However, it wasn’t to be.

With players still unavailable due to the Welsh restrictions, the Reds were still in their secondary formation albeit it with two substitutes this week. Team captain Danny Foulkes had passed on a game plan, with planned substitutions to keep the players fresh, and game-day captain Chris Ruscoe set about implementing them, again leading the team in effort and commitment.

Ruscoe was flanked by James Partington and Sam Conway, with Steve Kay rotating in, and they were under constant pressure, but worked well to get the ball out. Joel Leese and Jack Barnes had plenty of time in the centre of the pitch at times, and used the space well. Joe Coburn and Ben Kimberley had good games out wide, driving the ball up the wings, and Tom Forster, Martin Beecher, Fred Egerton and Sam Budd had the skills and speed up front to cause the Deeside defenders problems.

It was, though, a game of two halves. In the first, Whitchurch had decent amounts of time on the ball and were able to go up the pitch smoothly, and a series of quick, short passes had Sam Budd picking up his first for the club. The play then came down the other end, and Deeside picked up a goal after Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh’s kicked clearance didn’t make it past the next attacker, who put it away neatly. Then at the other end, Beecher scored with another crisp shot, but Deeside were able to get back on the ball and pick up another. Despite the scores being level at half time, the game absolutely felt like Whitchurch’s for the taking; they had time on the ball, and could mount attacks at will, and were only a few inches away from being two or three more up as shots went wide or were blocked at the last second.

The second-half, though, was another story. It started well enough, with Whitchurch moving the ball well, and getting up the pitch before a ball fired into the dee was deflected by Beecher, and then tapped in at the back post by Budd for his second. At that point, all the Reds needed to do was settle, stay calm and keep the ball, but that’s where things went awry.

Deeside at half-time had tasked their younger players up front with trying to run the ball more, against a slowing defence and it paid off. They kept the ball well, moved it in triangles up the pitch and drove the baseline with confidence and it worked. They got themselves a number of short corners and, despite some good saves and blocks, it kept the pressure all up at the Whitchurch end.

Whitchurch in turn just couldn’t keep hold of the ball. They would clear it out of their dee, and start a good run but would then try for an overly-ambitious pass instead of a simple one (or just hanging on to the ball waiting for support) and the pressure was immediately back on. Eventually a decent short-corner routine paid off and Deeside were level, but it was in the last moments of the game that the Reds were undone. Despite being warned minutes earlier for pushing, a Deeside drive into the dee ended with two Whitchurch players being pushed in the back during attempts to clear the ball, but no foul was called and the resultant shot was given as a goal to hand Deeside an unlikely victory.

It does at least give the Reds confidence that they can compete at this level and in this league, but it was a hugely frustrating end to a very close game. Finer attention to detail, a bit more composure on the ball, and a little more luck and they should find their feet and progress in this division.

Whitchurch ladies 3s 0 Triton ladies 2s 1

Having faced some tough battles against Triton 3’s last season Whitchurch were prepared for an even tougher battle against a newly formed Triton 2’s who were in a lot higher division last season. With a few changes on the right from last week, Poppy Huxley took up the wing position, Alice Page at right half and Bella Morris at right inner. The left stayed the same with Emily Lister at half, Annie Buckeridge at inner and Kate Buckeridge at wing. Nicola Foster made a return to the 3 team at centre forward backed up by our captain Wendy Cooper at centre half with regular backs Jan Teggin on the right and Hermione Ball on the left. Louise Cottrell now with repaired helmet was in goal and could be heard shouting encouragement to our new players.

For the first 20 minutes, Triton were strong in tackles and pacey through the middle but Whitchurch showed resilience and made several early attacks into the Triton dee winning a couple of short corners but were unable to convert due to some fine saves made by the Triton keeper. Buckeridge, Lister and Forster linked up well on the left showing their experience and newbie Sasha Preece subbed on providing some width to the right hand side. Unfortunately the relentless attacks down the middle by the Triton attack rewarded them with a goal about 20 minutes into the first half despite some excellent clearances from Ball and Teggin and goal kicks from Cottrell.

Some reorganisation on the right from captain Cooper resulted in some much better passing shots from Preece, Huxley and Morris and again Whitchurch drove into the Triton half and won a short corner but were unable to convert. Cooper made some magnificent passes to Buckeridge and Forster through the middle before taking a nasty hit to her ankle and was replaced by Page.

Half time arrived quickly ending 0-1 and allowed Whitchurch to regroup. Huxley, Morris and Page were linking up much more effectively on the right and Annie Buckeridge and Lister made some excellent drives down the left supported by Preece on the wing with Forster dropping deep to help out. Kate Buckeridge dropped back to right half feeding to Page on the right wing and Morris supported both forward and back at inner.

Ball made some excellent defensive moves cutting off the Triton attack and firing passes down both left and right wings. Cottrell made some crucial saves and Whitchurch successfully defended a short corner. The last 10 minutes saw Whitchurch making many more counter attacks and proved that the sides were evenly matched but unfortunately the clock ran down and the game finished 0-1 to Triton.

Players player was Nicola Forster.

 

Birkenhead Men’s 2s 4 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 0

Whitchurch Men’s 2s travelled to the Wirral on Saturday to face a Birkenhead 2s side who had also gained promotion last season, but had inflicted two heavy defeats on the Shropshire side in the process.

As expected, the Wirral side enjoyed the upper hand in most aspects of the game and Whitchurch struggled to impose themselves on their opponents. From the first pushback, Birkenhead pressed the Whitchurch players at every opportunity and Whitchurch were unable to maintain any meaningful possession of the ball and struggled to make much progress out of their own half.

When the home side won the ball, their power and experience helped them retain the ball and move into threatening positions. But Whitchurch battled hard and made things difficult for their opponents. Gareth Teggin, Brendan Coburn, Wyn Morris and Will Snaith defended resolutely and Birkenhead struggled to get into the Whitchurch dee and fashion shooting opportunities.

The first real goal scoring chance came at the other end of the pitch. Jacob Buckeridge, Ethan Gresty and Luke Beddow linked up well down the left, but the move broke down before reaching the dee, but Euan Morris was alive to a defensive mistake and ran clear into the dee. His lofted shot was brilliantly smothered by the rapidly advancing Birkenhead keeper.

Ultimately the home side got their deserved breakthrough. After withstanding a number of short corners, the Reds were a little flat-footed reacting to a pass back to the injector, who diverted the ball past a helpless Neil Jones in the Whitchurch goal. It wasn’t long before Birkenhead doubled their lead, again from a short corner that was well struck into the near post.

Whitchurch battled hard and did well to keep the deficit to two by the interval.

The second half saw the 2s change formation to try and provide more protection through the centre of the pitch and give Euan Morris more support up front. But the pattern of the second half was much the same as the first half …. Birkenhead controlled territory and possession, and had Whitchurch pinned in their own half. When the away side won the ball, they were unable to keep it due to a combination of Birkenhead pressure, a little bit of over-eagerness to pass the ball quickly, or the tendency to run into tackles.

Whitchurch did have odd moments; Luke Beddow made some threatening runs into the dee; Will Gilbert was busy around the periphery of the dee; and Euan Morris worked hard with very little reward. However, it was always going to be Birkenhead that impacted the score line, and they duly added another couple of goals in the second-half to run out 4-0 winners.

This was a tough afternoon for the Whitchurch 2s, but they battled away and made a very good Birkenhead side work hard for their victory. Ultimately, power and experience were the deciding factors.

Fred Delf-Rowlandson and Joe Faithfull were eager runners all afternoon, but found it difficult to influence the game in attacking positions and Doug Buckeridge and Richard Leigh worked hard to provide protection to the overworked defenders. Ethan Gresty had another fantastic game. Ethan has always had the talent but sometimes his work rate left a little to be desired, but in both games so far this season, Ethan has been a bundle of energy and had a significant impact on the performance of the team. In this game he tracked back diligently and made some vital interceptions and blocks in the Whitchurch dee, but was also the driving force to get on the team on the front foot, and provided excellent support to Luke Beddow and Euan Morris when Whitchurch tried to attack.

The 2s next game is at home to Bebington 3s at 1:30pm on Saturday 17th October.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 5 Knutsford ladies 1s 3

The ladies 1s entertained Knutsford ladies1s this Saturday in better weather than last weekend. From the whistle Whitchurch took control of the game and in less than five minutes Ellie Windsor collected the ball in front of the keeper and slipped it past her.

The game stayed at a fast pace as Whitchurch played the ball around Knutsford getting plenty of play up in the opposition dee. Captain Catherine Winter-Gresty crossed the ball into Izzy Huxley who calmly deflected into the back of the net.

Knutsford started putting up a fight and found a high player who took on Whitchurch keeper Maddy Sugden forcing her to make a great save, unfortunately minutes later they scored from a short corner. Hebe Dixon had an amazing game taking on multiple players in the dee before scoring a third for Whitchurch.

Half time came and a well-deserved break. Whitchurch reset themselves but found that Knutsford came back out with more aggression and scored again from a clever break.

Some fantastic passing across the width of the pitch from Anna Latham allowed Whitchurch to pick out Huxley again on the post to score a fourth.

Things were looking strong at the back with Millie Edwards, Sophie Ward, Kezzie Hutchings and Chloe Lloyd meeting everything Knutsford could muster. The game moved well for Whitchurch with Lisa Sullivan and Molly Fry distributing the ball out wide, with Hayleigh Busby collecting outside the dee and passing into Dixon to give the reds a good lead.

Within the last few minutes Knutsford managed to convert another short into a goal.

Players player was awarded to Hebe Dixon. Ladies 1s play away at Warrington next week.

Match Reports 03/10/20

Oxton Men’s 3s 5 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 0

Whitchurch travelled to Oxton on the Wirral this week on a very cold and wet October day, and suffered their biggest defeat for a long time. Without four senior players due to lockdowns in the Wrexham area, they were against a very strong Oxton team whose club had a full choice of strong players as their 1s’ game had been cancelled. It was to be a salutary lesson for the Reds as they start their campaign in division 3, having last week played a team who’d also been promoted from division 4 (and who they knew they could beat), and if this is the standard of their new division then they will have their work cut out for them.

The game started under very wet conditions, with the low temperature not helping and with little time to warm up as the previous game had finished late, and Whitchurch struggled to settle in to the game. Their passing lacked finesse, and their ball control was missing it’s normal crispness and against lesser teams they may have got away with it, but Oxton were excellent: their ball control was assured, their passing confident and their fitness levels and ability to get in behind the Reds’ defence were frustratingly good.

Chris Ruscoe, standing in for Danny Foulkes as both captain and centre back, had a very busy game and had to use all of his speed and skill to keep out the Oxton attacks. With Oxton using a high press he, Sam Conway and James Partington were always under pressure at the back, and it was a struggle to get out of defence at times. Paul “Sturge” Leigh was his usual excellent self, making saves that drew praise from the opposition players and umpires. Joel Leese and Jack Barnes played well off each other in the centre, but were always under pressure and couldn’t find space for their normal flowing game. Joe Coburn and Ben Kimberley provided width in midfield and there were genuine moments of excellence from Whitchurch with the team moving the ball around really well and being quite unlucky not to get something from it.

Up front, Tom Forster and Will Gilbert were out wide and were able – when they could be given the ball – to cause the Oxton defence some problems and Sam Budd, playing in his first game for Whitchurch, was really unlucky not to convert some good balls skills into the final scoring shots that would have given the Reds a deserved goal. Ultimately, though, there was just a difference in class between the two teams, although one that the score line doesn’t fully describe. Some of the second half was playing with only ten men, as Partington had taken a deflected aerial ball to the nose just before half time and was sat out waiting for the bleeding to stop (and thanks go to the Oxton team for their excellent first aid) – but the score was still kept down to only two goals in the second half, which is a testament to the effort everyone had put in. Even the last goal only came as a mix-up in the Red’s dee, between keeper and defender each thinking the other was going to make the clearance, so it could have been less.

It was a tough game against excellent opposition, umpired really well, in tough conditions and Whitchurch came up slightly short. It will, however, guide them to the areas they need to improve if they are to survive and flourish in division 3 this year. Next week they are at home against Deeside Ramblers 5s.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 2  Oxton Men’s 4s 4

After a long break, and lots of hard work behind the scenes by the club’s committee, Whitchurch Men’s 2s returned to competitive hockey on Saturday. Their excellent efforts last season had been rewarded with a surprise promotion to Division 5. With a number of home players missing due to local lockdowns, self-isolation and bolstering the 1s squad, the prospect of playing an Oxton 4s team who had racked up a 12-0 win the previous weekend was somewhat daunting.

Oxton took control of the game from the pushback. They moved the ball around nicely, but Whitchurch pressed hard and prevented the visitors from making any meaningful progress up the pitch in the opening stages. The 2s themselves struggled to get into good attacking positions; passes in the final third lacked precision and Oxton defended well.

Whitchurch survived a brief flurry of short corners with some good defending, and then rather against the run of play took the lead. Good play between Doug Buckeridge and Richard Leigh saw Richard thread an incisive ball forward to Luke Beddow. He jinked into the dee and fired beyond the Oxton keeper to open the scoring.

The goal bolstered Whitchurch and seemed to rattle the visitors. Oxton still maintained good possession, but carried very little threat to the home goal, whereas Whitchurch became much more threatening at the other end of the pitch. Will Snaith, Jacob Buckeridge and Euan Morris combined well down the left with Euan unable to finish. Joe Faithfull and Ethan Gresty provided threat on the right, and Euan was unlucky when he rounded the Oxton keeper and hit the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Oxton settled and came back into the game, and an attack down the Whitchurch right led to an equaliser. The goal was all a bit messy from a Whitchurch point of view, with ricochets and bounces not quite falling for the defenders.

As half-time approached, Oxton took the lead. Whitchurch lost the ball as they looked to break forward, and too many players were caught going forward allowing Oxton to outnumber the home defenders. The Oxton forward did well to steer a bouncing cross past keeper Neil Jones.

In the second half Oxton dominated possession and territory but Whitchurch defended resiliently. Wyn Morris and Brendan Coburn were excellent at the back and the visitors found it difficult to get shots at goal. Whitchurch still looked a threat on the counter-attack, and from a foray down the left, Jacob Buckeridge and Euan Morris linked up well to pass the ball across the face of goal where Fred Delf-Rowlandson had made an excellent run to the back post but was unable to steer the ball into the goal.

Although Whitchurch had defended short corners pretty well, Oxton would have been disappointed with their own routines … until eventually they got one right. A good injection gave them the opportunity to strike from the edge of the dee and Neil Jones was unable to prevent the ball hitting the back-board. That goal was quickly followed by a fourth from a reverse stick hit from the top of the dee.

Whitchurch were determined to have the last word and pushed forward looking for a consolation goal. Euan Morris had a goal ruled out from a short corner, but their efforts were rewarded near the end of the game when an excellent passing move involving Gareth Teggin, Joe Faithfull and Luke Beddow presented Euan with the chance to sweep home Whitchurch’s second goal.

Despite the 4-2 defeat, the 2s can take a lot from this game. The team was missing a couple of key players, but they acquitted themselves well against a talented Oxton side. Although the weather conditions were appalling, with heavy rain throughout the game, this was an enjoyable and entertaining match, played in good spirits by both sides. Ultimately, it was just nice to be playing competitive hockey again!

The Men’s 2s next fixture is away to Birkenhead 2s on Saturday 10th October.

 

Timperley ladies 3s 6 Whitchurch ladies 1s 0

The ladies 1s travelled away to Timperley, well what a game…all wet from the off we started strong with Ellie Windsor, Steph Stanton and Cath Winter-Gresty working the ball down the right to get to Sarah Field for a short in goal, sadly missed but we kept on pushing. Timperley with some great play between them transferred the ball around the back and down the wings to their attackers and managed to get the ball into the goal. Whitchurch kept strong in defence with Kezzie Hutchings and Chloe Lloyd doing a tremendous job at the back clearing many of Timperleys chances. We held it together and had a couple of short corners before the half time whistle but sadly couldn’t convert any. Half time 1-0.

Second half heads were up and we could still hold it together and equalise, however it wasn’t to be. Timperley held their own and with quick passes between players scored again. Lisa Sullivan had a great game running around the pitch receiving and passing the ball onto Anna Latham and Holly Gillbert on the right with the support of Hayleigh Busby in defence. Again Timperley broke and the score was 3-0. The rain didn’t stop once and the ball started to slow down and Whitchurch were trying to track back to defence where Maddie Sugden was having a great game, saving many more of Timperleys shots. Whitchurch held their own in defensive short corners not letting any in, but in the last 30 seconds Timperley got the ball and with a hard hit into the bottom left corner the game ended 6-0 to Timperley. A tough game against a very skilled team.

Crewe ladies 4s 1 Whitchurch ladies 3s 6

Very reminiscent of a match in February 2020 last season, where we battled through Storm Denis, Whitchurch Ladies 3’s travelled to Crewe Vagrants with only 11 players right in the middle of Storm Alex.

After a 6 month break of no hockey, Captain Wendy Cooper had cleverly set up the team with players in familiar roles, herself at centre half, Emily Lister and Kate Buckeridge on the left, Jaz Williams and Jan Teggin on the right, Hermione Ball and Emma Stubbs at the back and Cottrell in goal. Annie Buckeridge stepped into the centre forward role and with newbies Nicky Barber on the left and Heidi Carr on the right the team was complete.

Whitchurch were first out of the blocks with numerous attacks down the left wing and several early shots on goal by Kate Buckeridge were denied by an excellent Vagrant goalkeeper. Crewe were quick to set up a counter attack against a startled Whitchurch and scored a goal within the first 10 minutes.

Whitchurch quickly reorganised and were not to be disheartened with Cooper feeding Annie Buckeridge through the midfield, who carried the ball through to score an equaliser. This seemed to lift Whitchurch with Ball feeding Williams and Carr on the right and Lister on the left who went on to score two more quick goals followed up by an excellent strike from Williams. In the last 5 minutes of the half Lister calmly passed round the keeper and used a reverse stick to score again into an empty goal giving her a hat trick and making the score line 5-1 at half time.

After a rousing team talk from Cooper and Cottrell having maintenance on a loose screw in her helmet, the 2nd half proceeded with the rain bashing down even harder. Crewe seemed much better organised and put on fresh legs with multiple subs but the Whitchurch defence were relentless with Cottrell making several timely saves, Teggin feeding Carr and Williams on the right and Stubbs as sweeper making some crucial clearances to Ball and Teggin despite nursing a back injury. Barber was everywhere covering the entire pitch and was even spotted on the right back hand corner in the second half! Eventually, Lister slotted in another early goal to make it 6-1.

Annie Buckeridge and Lister were relentless with their driving attacks through midfield throughout the 2nd half and broke free several times fed by Williams on the right and Barber on the left. Carr battled hard on the right and Kate Buckeridge on the left provided some much needed respite to the sodden team by holding the ball up on the wings and feeding the ball across the dee to Annie Buckeridge, Lister and Williams who were denied several times by some excellent goalkeeping skills from the Vagrant keeper. Several short corners were won but unfortunately Whitchurch were unable to convert the excellent strikes of Barber and Williams.

Hero status goes to Williams and Ball for playing in consecutive games and Lister was rightly nominated as players’ player!