Category Archives: Match Reports

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

Match Reports 08/12/18

Warrington ladies 2s 0   Whitchurch ladies 1s 6

Whitchurch finished top of Cheshire Division 3 as they entered the Christmas break!

Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled away to play Warrington 2s this Saturday. Although the weather was not on their side, Whitchurch were keen to come out strong and get a win to end this half of the season on a high. Whitchurch dominated from the start, pressurising the Warrington defence. Midfielders Catherine Winter-Gresty, Lisa Sullivan and Hebe Dixon made some excellent runs, dodging the Warrington defence into the dee but struggled to find the back of the net due to some excellent saves from the Warrington keeper.

After a sequence of shorts corners awarded to Whitchurch, they were able to open the scoring. After a rebound off the keeper, Grace Berry was able to find space between the defence and push the ball into the right corner of the goal. Just moments after their first goal, Whitchurch were back on the attack with some lightning runs down the right from Sophie Ward and Ellie Windsor, they were able to find Hebe Dixon in the middle of the pitch who used her 3D skills to get around the keeper and smash the ball into the back of the net.

After a positive half time team talk, Whitchurch were determined to increase their goal difference in the second half, which started with another string of short corners for Whitchurch, during which Sullivan found space to flick the ball past the keeper, giving them their third goal of the match. However, with some big hits from the back, Warrington made a break putting pressure on the Whitchurch defence and keeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees. Defenders Millie Edwards, Martha Teggin and Catherine Reece-Gresty made some great tackles stopping the Warrington attack in their tracks.

After this Izzy Huxley and Jessica Carruthers made some incisive one twos down the central channel of the pitch, putting increasing pressure on the Warrington keeper and finding Dixon who calmly slotted the ball into the left-hand corner of the goal. Another short corner followed this, and after a battle on the line, Grace Berry found the back of the net giving Whitchurch their fifth. Whitchurch continued to maintain their dominance for the rest of the match and using great communication and focused passing they held most of the possession. In the final five minutes of the game, after some lovely passing down the middle of the pitch from Lisa Sullivan and Catherine Winter-Gresty, Berry was able to dribble into the dee and fire Whitchurch’s final goal past the keeper, getting her a hat trick.

Lymm Men’s 2s 3   Whitchurch Men’s 1s 2

Whitchurch travelled away to Lymm this week to start the return fixtures for the season and played against a well-drilled and skilful Lymm team who had been excellent opponents in the opening game of the year. Whitchurch started brightly and put together some good hockey in the first half, with good movement and passing. Lymm, in turn, were strong down their wings and Paul “Sturge” Leigh was called on in goal a number of times when the Lymm attackers had slipped their markers.

As play went on, the heavens opened, and the pitch – still recovering from a soaking during the previous game that day – started to pool with water and control and stability started to suffer slightly. It was during this that a Lymm tackle sent the ball flying up directly into Danny Foulkes’ head causing a significant injury which meant he could take no further part in the game. Whitchurch had taken a substitute for the game, which was now critical, and had to restructure the defence with Tom Forster now pairing with James Partington in the centre, and Fred Egerton picking up at right back with Airan Jones continuing to develop well at left back.

Thankfully during this reorganisation the forwards got more of the ball, and a good run into the dee and a number of passes left Craig Hockenhull able to flick the ball into the centre of the netting for the Reds’ first. The game then settled as Alex Fry, Ben Kimberley and Jack Barnes took control of the centre of the field, distributing the ball well to Sam Conway and Hockenhull out wide, and Nick Cooper was a constant threat in the Lymm dee. Whitchurch went into half-time with a deserved but slim lead, and the half-time talk was just about having more of the same good work.

The second half started well, and the highlight saw Barnes run down the left-hand side of the pitch from near the halfway line, past most of the Lymm team and then drive in along the baseline until he could get the ball past the keeper on the near post for the Reds’ second. It was then that two things happened to change the match for Whitchurch: the Lymm formation changed, and those changes weren’t picked up well at all; and Whitchurch allowed themselves to get frustrated again by perceived inconsistencies in the umpiring.

Arguing with officials helps no team, so it was frustrating for Whitchurch letting their concentration drop, especially as Lymm took full advantage. Two quick goals came, as they broke their markers and arrived in the Whitchurch dee in numbers, and were able to work the overload despite some incredible saves by Sturge. The defending and marking from static play was good – Lymm would often have to go back from free hits or sideline balls – but the marking in fluid play was not good enough, and it was some excellent work by Lymm to break free in the last two minutes and get a shot in which Partington partially blocked, but only into the path of the striker who put it over Sturge for the third and decisive goal.

Whitchurch stay in the upper half of the table, but it continues to be a very tightly contested league with only a few points separating a number of teams. They will look to build on the good progress seen at times throughout the games so far to make the 2019 half of the season a successful one.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 4 Runcorn Men’s 3s 0

Whitchurch Men’s 2s welcomed Runcorn 3s to SJT on Saturday afternoon with the Reds looking to build on a really good performance last time out and try to get their first points of the season before the Christmas break. In the reverse fixture, earlier this season, the 2s had played really well but ended up on the wrong side of a tight score line.

The Reds started brightly and immediately went on the front foot. The midfield three of Richard Leigh, Paul Humphries and Joe Coburn got control in the middle of the pitch, breaking up play and neatly passing their way forward, using Ethan Gresty and Joe Faithfull to provide width on the flanks.

Runcorn were defending deep in their own half and relying on big hits down field to create their own attacking moments. But Iain Bones and Doug Buckeridge in the centre of defence were picking up everything and moving the ball calmly into midfield where the Whitchurch restarted their own attacks. Runcorn couldn’t make any progress in wide areas either, with Wyn Morris and Brendan Coburn constantly nicking the ball away from their opponents and driving forward into the visitors’ half.

Whitchurch started to create chances and win short corners, and midway through the half a short corner routine didn’t quite go to plan, but the team improvised brilliantly and after forcing a couple of saves from the Runcorn keeper, the ball was fired across goal and Richard Leigh swept home his first ever goal to open the scoring for Whitchurch.

The Reds continued to drive forward with control and invention, and more chances came and went. Ethan Gresty and Jacob Buckeridge both had chances to shoot at goal, but were unable to make the keeper work. Joe Coburn, Joe Faithfull and Euan Morris all forced the keeper to make saves, but Whitchurch were unable to increase their lead.

Although the Whitchurch goal was relatively untroubled for most of the half, the Reds lost a little control in midfield as subs rotated on, and Runcorn did get one good chance which was brilliantly saved by keeper Gareth Teggin.

The early stages of the second half were much more even. A tactical change from the visitors saw them looking to play more through midfield rather than bypass the middle of the pitch and the rotation of Whitchurch substitutes in midfield disrupted the Reds’ own momentum. The Whitchurch defence continued to restrict the away side, although Teggin did produce another really good save to preserve the home side’s lead.

As the half wore on, the Runcorn players became frustrated and as tempers frayed, at perceived injustices, the umpires started to show cards to the visiting players. This coincided with Whitchurch getting a grip of midfield and the home side proceeded to ruthlessly exploit their numerical advantage.

First Paul Humphries brilliantly drove into the dee and squared for Euan Morris to flick high into the net to double Whitchurch’s lead. This was quickly followed by another sharp piece of play from a long corner where Richard Leigh fed the ball to Euan in the dee and he again flicked the ball past the visiting keeper.

Runcorn did try to press for a goal of their own, but as Whitchurch regained possession their sharp passing through the middle of the pitch brought them more and more chances. Luke Beddow was finding great space on the right and his crosses into the dee caused the visitors all sorts of problems. Despite missed chances, good blocks and smart saves, Whitchurch were not to be denied and Euan Morris duly completed his hat trick when he slammed the ball home after a melee in the Runcorn dee.

As Runcorn returned to full strength they pushed forward looking for a late consolation goal. Phil Tranter and Will Snaith bolstered the Whitchurch midfield and helped the home side see out the game with a clean sheet.

In the end, the 4-0 win was thoroughly deserved. Whitchurch played some excellent hockey, which combined with their high work rate was too much for an experienced Runcorn side. Paul Humphries added some experience to the midfield and Joe Coburn continued to show his huge potential with his ability to win the ball and instigate attacks with his ball carrying or passing.

The defence, supported by the midfield, were again excellent, but Gareth Teggin continues to improve in goal. Always alert and always communicating with the defenders, he made two good, important saves with the score at 1-0. At his current rate of improvement, injured captain and regular keeper Neil Jones might struggle to get his place back!

And a final mention to Richard “Tricky Dicky” Leigh, who thoroughly deserved his first ever goal at ripe old age of ….

The Men’s 2s now have a long Christmas break until they play next, away to Bebington, on 19th January.

Match Reports 02/12/18

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 0 Northrop Hall Men’s 3s 0

Whitchurch Men’s 2s welcomed high-flying Northrop Hall 3s to SJT on Saturday afternoon, looking to build on their good performance from the previous weekend. Although Craig Hockenhull and Joe Coburn were both needed for the 1s, and Martin Beecher was out with injury, the 2s were able to welcome back Iain Bones and Mark Sugden into the heart of the defence.

The opening exchanges were fairly even. Northrop Hall enjoyed more possession and territory, but were unable to create any real goal-scoring opportunities. In turn, Whitchurch were able to counter when they won possession, but despite neat passing up to the dee, they were unable to create any real chances to shoot at goal.

As the half progressed, the Welsh side forced a succession of short corners which were well defended by Bones, Sugden, Wyn Morris and Brendan Coburn, with keeper Gareth Teggin making a number of good stops which were then well cleared by the defenders.

The Whitchurch midfield of Doug Buckeridge and Richard Leigh worked really hard to help out the defenders and also advance the team up the pitch. The younger players were also putting in a lot of effort to influence both ends of the pitch. Ethan Gresty and Will Snaith were carrying the ball purposely through the middle of the pitch and Joe Faithfull, James Page and Jacob Buckeridge we’re providing good options in the wide areas.

As defenders began to tire late in the half, chances started to appear. Gareth Teggin made a couple of excellent saves to keep the Welsh side out, and Joe Faithfull forced the Northrop keeper into a good save at the other end of the pitch. Euan Morris also had the keeper sprawling across the floor in a desperate attempt to get the ball away from the goal. Whitchurch also forced a few short corners which lead to Northrop hacking down Iain Bones as he was about to blast the ball goal ward.

With the game scoreless at halftime, Whitchurch were looking for more of the same in the second half. But early in the second half Whitchurch were caught out by a quick counterattack and, although they had plenty of players back, a collection of missed tackles and failed blocks allowed the ball to be pushed across the face of goal and bundled home for Northrop to open the scoring.

The second half then continued in the same pattern as the first period. Northrop enjoyed more territory and possession than the home side, but the continued hard work of the defence and midfield severely restricted the Northrop threat to the Whitchurch goal. The away team won a few short corners but these were well defended by Teggin, Bones, Sugden, Coburn and Morris.

Whitchurch continued to threaten when they had the ball and made good progress up to the Northrop dee, but struggled to make the away keeper work. Euan Morris worked some good positions but was well marshalled by the defenders and was unable to get clean shots away.

Whitchurch’s best effort was probably a strong flick from the edge of the dee by Ethan Gresty, which was kicked away by the Northrop keeper.

With the home side unable to get on the scoreboard, Northrop ran out 1-0 winners. But this was a strong showing from Whitchurch. With Doug Buckeridge and Richard Leigh adding some strong running and good passing in midfield, and the young lads working incredibly hard to help at both ends of the pitch, Whitchurch proved to be a tough nut for Northrop to crack. The Welsh side were strong and capable, but the Reds never made easy for them. The young players in the side promise an exciting future for the Men’s teams … although that may not be this season or even next.

However, if the young players continue to apply themselves in the way they did in this game, surely the first points of the season can’t be far away.

Next weekend the 2s entertain Runcorn 2s.

Whitchurch ladies 3’s 2  Bebington ladies 2’s 2

The ladies 3rd team were very grateful to start this fast paced game with 3 subsitutes as Bebington 2’s, who were currently lying 2nd in the table, attacked very powerfully from the outset and had several early attacks on the Whitchurch dee.

Whitchurch who were desperate to remain undefeated in their 4th game on the run, responded well with counter attacks led by Fran Ball, Kate Buckeridge, Beth Wright and Eliza Brown who played on the wings, creating numerous options for shots into the dee to Sue Read. Catlin Shaw and Annie Buckeridge playing as inners, drove forward demonstarting some good stick skills, backed up the attack and also tirelessly ran back to help the defence.

Sue Read, who played superbly throughout the game in the position of center forward, managed to slot in the first goal within the first 10 minutes. This spurred on Bebington to counter attack feriously and win a few short corners despite a strong midfield consisting of Emily Lister, Emma Harper and Wendy Cooper who tackled hard to prevent the onslaught. Unfortunately, Bebington scored twice giving a 2-1 scoreline at half time.

Determined not to be beaten, Whitchurch started the 2nd half intent on being first to the ball. Our defence was phenominal with Gayle Ladd, Mel Reid and Jan Teggin keeping control of the ball and playing out to our waiting halves who worked tirelessly driving the ball forward with great enthusiasm.

Our last line of defence, goal keeper Louise Cottrell, who was a little warmer than last week and made some magnificant saves, the tide started to turn with some hard hitting from Beth Wright and tackles from Caitlin Shaw on the right hand side whilst Emily, Emma and Kate linked up well on the left. Annie Buckeridge made a notable reverse stick pass into the dee to Sue Read who narrowly missed the goal. The next attack saw Sue slot her second goal into the goal leveling up the scores to 2-2. The last few minutes saw Whitchurch continue their attack but unfortunately were unable to convert a third goal for a win.

Emily Lister recieved ‘player of the match’ thanks to her, relentless running, outstanding passes and marking.

Whitchurch Mens 1s 2 – Chester Mens 5s 3

Whitchurch were playing away against Chester at the excellent new pitch at Abbey Gate College this week, and were hopeful of another good win against a team at the lower end of the league, but it wasn’t to be. Chester were able to field a team that was much stronger than their results this season would suggest, and they immediately put Whitchurch under pressure, making good runs down both wings, and needing Paul “Sturge” Leigh to make important saves in goal. The Reds were able to put together their own good passages of play, with Craig Hockenhull working well with Alex Fry and Sam Conway in the middle of the field. Nick Cooper and Ben Kimberley worked the high attacks well, and Tom Forster and Fred Egerton provided strength out on the wings, but in a frustrating first half it was only final touches that kept the Reds off the scoresheet.

At the other end, Dale Seymour and James Partington held the centre of the defence, with Joe Coburn back up in the 1s providing strength on the right and Airan Jones continuing to develop well on the left. Marking was generally good, and Seymour provided the calmness and skill in the dee to ensure any incursions were well dealt with, but eventually the Chester pressure caused an overload in numbers, and Sturge’s initial sliding save left him out of position, and the shot on goal clipped the left ankle of Partington as he ran across the goal. Despite Jones also being back to cover, a stroke was awarded for blocking the goal-bound shot, and the Chester striker put it away well to the right of the keeper to let them go into half-time one up.

The second half was another tough affair, but Whitchurch got themselves on the scoresheet with a penalty stroke of their own, which Hockenhull stepped up for and put away with ease. This allowed the Reds to relax a little and they started to play better – more passing, better runs, end-to-end movement, aerials making the distance, and good communication. It was a shame, then, that frustrations started to creep in to the game. A few umpiring decisions seemed to go against Whitchurch (in their opinion) or weren’t spotted, and it caused tempers to flare and earned both teams green cards, but Chester got their heads sorted quicker and won a short corner which they put away well. Another goal followed as Chester were able to break past the Reds’ defence and the shot on goal bounced over Sturge’s pads for their third.

The final goal of the game was a goalmouth scramble in the Chester dee with a number of blocks, challenges, flicks, stops and keepers pads all involved until Cooper got the final touch, but despite a last minute short corner and large amounts of pressure, Chester held on for the win. Whitchurch drop to fourth on goal difference, with only two points covering the teams in second to fifth in the league.

They are away at Lymm next week for the first of the return matches of the season.

Timperley ladies 4s 2 Whitchurch ladies 1s 1

Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled away to play Timperley 4s this Saturday with a young team of several 2s players. Timperley played very strong from the whistle, putting plenty of pressure on the Whitchurch defence Cath Reece-Gresty and Chloe Lloyd. Having a couple of short corners awarded they managed to score. Whitchurch came back with some forceful play from Lisa Sullivan and Millie Edwards. A short corner was taken for whitchurch and Ellie Windsor got a touch on the ball and slipped it through the keeper’s legs. There was alot of running for both teams up until half time as the ball got passed from one end to the other with no more goals scored.

Whitchurch started the second half as the first, passing the ball well and having several shots on goal but Timperley were determined not to let anyone score. As Whitchurch started to tire, Timperley won a short and managed to score in the last 5 minutes. All Whitchurch could do was defend until the last whistle. Final score was 2-1, an unfortunate loss for Whitchurch. Players player went to Sophie ward.

Ladies play away at Warrington next week.

Match Reports 24/11/18

Whitchurch ladies 1s 4 Lymm ladies 3s 1

This week Whitchurch Ladies 1s played Lymm 3s at home. Despite the cold weather, Whitchurch had high spirits and were determined to work hard for another win.

Whitchurch started the first half strong with Catherine Reece-Gresty and Emma Harper making some good tackles and hits out of the Whitchurch dee and Martha Teggin making great runs with the ball. After a few minutes of battling and getting the ball up in the Lymm 25 Whitchurch were awarded a short corner in which captain Catherine Winter-Gresty scored the first goal of the match from a well executed routine assisted by Lisa Sullivan. Whitchurch continued to work hard with Sophie Ward and Catherine Winter-Gresty passing the ball around the Lymm players. After some good tackles made by Jess Carruthers,

Whitchurch were awarded another short corner where Ellie Windsor converted a second goal for Whitchurch making the score 2-0. With Whitchurch putting so much pressure on Lymm, captain Catherine Winter-Gresty quickly scored another goal for Whitchurch from the same short corner routine with the help of Hebe Dixon and Sullivan, making the score 3-0 at half time.

After the half time break, Whitchurch remained strong with Dixon and Sullivan making some great tackles and hits into the Lymm dee. However, nobody was able to get a touch on the ball to score. Both teams continued to play well with goalkeeper Maddy Sugden making more incredible saves. Whitchurch began to tire and even though they kept fighting for the ball, Lymm were awarded a penalty flick and scored, making it 3-1.

Whitchurch didn’t give up and continued to put the pressure on. Stephanie Stanton and Katy Leicester made some good runs and managed to get the ball into the dee to win another short where Sullivan ejected the ball to Catherine Winter-Gresty to deflect into the goal off the keepers pads, giving the captain her first hat trick of the season. The final whistle went and the score remained 4-1. Whitchurch goalkeeper Maddy Sugden received best player.

Next week, Whitchurch Ladies 1s will travel away to play Timperley 4s.

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4 Bowden Men’s 5s 1

Whitchurch were at home this week to Bowden who started the day level on points in the league, so were expecting a tough game against a good team. Bowden started well with strength in the centre of the pitch and the Reds were under pressure from the off. Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal was called on a number of times in the first half, as Bowden showed their confidence in the dee, but as the game progressed the Whitchurch defence settled into their roles and started to pick up their markers well. Danny Foulkes, Airan Jones, James Partington and Tom Forster worked well as a unit, with growing trust in passing around the back and across the field to release pressure and start attacks.

Alex Fry, Rob Chappell, Jack Barnes and Ben Kimberley were strong in midfield when going forward, and also marked their opposite numbers tightly making it hard for Bowden to get out from the back. The forwards rotated well again to ensure Bowden couldn’t relax, with Fred Egerton, Peter Scales and Sam Conway working the wings while Jon Chappell and Nick Cooper were a constant threat in and around the dee.

The first half was a very even affair with both sides building their attacks well, but equally both defences being up to the task. The Bowden keeper was also brave in goal, making a number of good saves, and the Reds’ half time team talk was about building on the positives and just trying to do each thing a little bit better: closing up the marking, ensuring passes were stronger; runs were earlier and generally making small improvements across the board.

The result was an impressive second half including 15 minutes of some of Whitchurch’s best hockey of the season. Jon Chappell started the scoring from a short corner, with the injection being slipped left and his strike taking a deflection off a defender’s foot into the goal. As the pressure built, Whitchurch got another short corner and Barnes continued his impressive scoring with his flick being deflected into the goal by a defender.

Some more flowing play saw the ball slid through to Kimberley on the edge of the dee and his sharp strike beat everyone on its way to the backboard. The fourth goal came from more well-controlled play in the opposition dee before Cooper tapped it through the keeper’s legs. There were also several very close misses as shots were fired across the goal, or inches wide, so it could easily have been more.

Sadly a clean sheet wasn’t to be, as one of the short corners won by Bowden in the dying minutes was converted as the initial over-height hit was deflected into the goal by Partington’s attempted block, but otherwise this was a very positive day for the Whitchurch men who went second in the league with this win. They are away next week at Chester and will hope to build on this momentum as the first half of the season draws to a close.

Oxton ladies 4s 0 Whitchurch ladies 3s 1

Travelling with only 11 players, confidence was riding high in the Whitchurch Ladies 3rd team after winning our last two matches at home. However, the team under no illusions facing Oxton 4’s, knowing that they were a strong team and lying second in the table.

With the coaches advice that ‘Attack was our best form of defence’ the team set out with such a pace that Oxton didn’t know what had hit them! This strong attack led to winning a short corner which was narrowly missed by Emily ‘Odd socks’ Hilton…if only Kate Buckeridge was on the post as instructed!!

The next 15 minutes saw lots of attacks from Whitchurch down both wings following some strong hits from backs Mel Reid and Sal Pearce, with Kate Buckeridge, Emily Lister and Mia Spruce on the left and Phoebe Jones and Emily Hilton linking up nicely on the right. Jan Teggin at right half was also seen running the wing on several occasions and Louise Cottrell, in goal was complaining of being cold!

Wendy Cooper was covering the middle superbly and passing shots up to our centre forward, Annie Buckeridge, who late on in the 1st half managed to slip through the Oxton defence into the dee and took a reverse stick shot which deflected off the goalie and into the goal.

Not wanting to be beaten, Oxton then drove forward with purpose causing Emily Lister to scurry back into defence and take a blow to the ankle 30 seconds before the half time whistle. With icepack in place and wearing everybody’s spare clothes, she cheered us on to a 1-0 score line at half time.

The 2nd half saw an Oxton continue a relentless attack which was fended off by our superb defence with Mel backing up Jan and Sal backing up Emily Lister who insisted on returning to the pitch after only 10 minutes. Oxton were frustrated by Wendy Cooper and Emily Hilton who time after time carried the ball out of the dee and passed it to our waiting attack who then sprinted to the other end of the pitch giving our defence a much needed rest.

After a fair and evenly matched game in the 2nd half, Oxton then won a short corner a millisecond before the final whistle which led to a succession of short corners which time and time again were excellently defended by Whitchurch. Our goalie, Louise Cottrell kicked one off the line, Emily Lister stopped one up high with her stick and Emily Hilton kept bravely running out to stop the big hits coming in from the edge of the dee. It was with great relief that we heard the final whistle and bagged our 3rd win on the trot. Annie Buckeridge was nominated ‘Player player’.

We play Bebington 2’s next week at home who have now replaced Oxton at 2nd in the table but we now believe anything is possible!

Crewe vagrants ladies 4s 1 Whitchurch ladies 2s 1

Whitchurch Ladies 2s travelled to play against Crewe vagrants. Whitchurch knew that this was going to be a tough game against their local rivals. Whitchurch started off the stronger of the two sides with runs from Edina Jones up front and by Emily Vernon and Tracy Tolhurst down the left. Whitchurch pushed up into the Crewe goal but were stopped in their tracks by the advanced Crewe goal keeper. Ellie McEvoy and Amelie Morris worked tirelessly with Molly Fry stepping up to support them in the midfield.

Whitchurch were then awarded a short corner which was knocked just wide from the goal. Crewe started to apply pressure to the Whitchurch goal and goal keeper Gwyneth Thomas-Rees made some crucial saves to keep Whitchurch in the game.

At halftime the score was still 0-0 and Whitchurch knew that they had to get a head of the Crewe team and they came back out stronger than they did before. Crewe also came out strong, Whitchurch used strong quick passes around the Crewe attack and they were awarded with a short corner, Becky Brookfield picked up the ball and fired it into the Crewe goal bringing the score to 1-0 to Whitchurch.With 30 seconds to the end Crewe equalised after a break in the Whitchurch attack.

Player of the match was awarded to Tracy Tolhurst.

Denbigh Men’s 2s 3 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 2

Whitchurch Men’s 2s welcomed Martin Beecher and Craig Hockenhull back to the squad for the trip to Denbigh 2s on Saturday, in the hope that their talent and experience would help arrest the recent run of heavy defeats.

Although the Welsh side went on the offensive from the first whistle, Whitchurch soon grasped an element of control and started to push Denbigh back towards their own dee. With Hockenhull driving the team forward from midfield and Beecher linking up well with the young players, the Reds created a number of half chances. A succession of short corners were won, but Whitchurch were unable to find a breakthrough.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic however. Denbigh resorted to defending deep and playing long hopeful balls forward to their high players. The pace of the right winger was a threat and Wyn Morris, Doug Buckeridge and Richard Leigh were having to work hard in defence to keep the Welsh side at bay. Brendan Coburn was doing well to snuff out the danger on the Denbigh left, but the Welsh side did go close through a couple of well-hit short corners, and then took the lead, slightly against the run of play, from a fierce hit from the edge of the dee.

Denbigh then enjoyed a brief period of dominance forcing Reds keeper Gareth Teggin into an excellent save when a Welsh forward got free in front of goal, and Joe Coburn to track back and get a vital touch when Denbigh looked poised to double their lead.

Whitchurch settled themselves and got back on the offensive. More chances came and went, but eventually a brilliant team move involving Euan Morris, Jacob Buckeridge and Martin Beecher was well finished by Joe Coburn to make the score 1-1 at halftime.

Once again Denbigh flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half, but the Reds weathered the initial storm and the match settled into the same pattern as at the end of the first half. Whitchurch were dominating possession and territory, but Denbigh were content to hit long balls forward relying on pace up front.

The Welsh side’s tactic brought the game’s next goal. As Whitchurch lost possession high up the pitch, a long punt ricocheted away to allow a Denbigh forward to race clear of Doug Buckeridge and finish powerfully past keeper Teggin from a narrow angle. Denbigh quickly added a third goal, as Whitchurch were caught napping from a free hit and a cross was touched home by the on-rushing forward.

Whitchurch continued to press forward, and their endeavour was rewarded when Hockenhull smashed home from a short corner. Invigorated by that goal Whitchurch created a succession of chances. Joe Coburn, Will Snaith and Euan Morris were providing drive from midfield and Jacob Buckeridge, Joe Faithful and Ethan Gresty all had shots blocked or saved. Beecher and Hockenhull forced the Welsh defence into some increasingly desperate challenges and then, following some desperate blocks at a short corner, the Reds were awarded a penalty flick. While the umpire thought the block on the goal line was by a Welsh body, Whitchurch were honest enough to tell the officials that the ball had actually hit a stick and the decision was overturned.

Despite banging on the door right until the final moments of the game, Whitchurch were unable to get their equaliser and the game finished 3-2 to Denbigh.

After their recent hammerings, this was a much better performance by the team, but this was a tough defeat to take. The Whitchurch players felt they’d done enough to get at least a point from the game. The addition of Hockenhull and Beecher gave the Reds much more of a presence all over the pitch and helped guide the younger players against a decent Denbigh side. Whilst everybody played their part, Joe Coburn had an excellent game in midfield, not only scoring and preventing a certain goal at the other end of the pitch, but his tackling and general distribution in midfield was a big factor in the team’s good performance.

Next Saturday the 2s entertain Northrop Hall 3s at SJT.

Match reports 17/11/18

Neston Men’s 5s 1 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 1

Whitchurch travelled away for the second week in a row, this time to play Neston who were only a couple of places and points below them in the league at the start of the day. Whitchurch went with a strong team, but still missing several key players, so knew that they would have to play well for each other and build on the second-half performances from previous matches.

Neston started well and immediately applied a high press to put the Reds under pressure. They made number of good runs and lacked only a final touch to grab an early goal, but the Whitchurch defence settled and started to mark tighter and pick up their runners. Danny Foulkes again provided stability at the back and he, Airan Jones and James Partington were supported this week by Tom Forster, dropping back from his usual roles further up the field to provide strength on the right both tracking back and driving forward.

In the middle, Alex Fry returned to control the centre with Jack Barnes and Craig Hockenhull providing support out wide, and Fred Egerton, Sam Conway, Nick Cooper and Ben Kimberley applied pressure on the Neston defence in a well-balanced first half. While again some of the passing didn’t quite come off, the standard this week from the Reds was much higher: runs off the ball were made and passes got through; balls into the dee were used well rather than spurned and the teamwork was far better.

However, it was Neston who went ahead first, after sustained pressure caused the defence problems with Paul “Sturge” Leigh called on in goal to make several critical saves. They got several short corners, and eventually one paid off with the ball going over a diving keeper. The Reds’ heads didn’t drop, though, and the rest of the half was even and competitive with chances at either end.

The half-time talk this week was essentially “more of the same” as the Reds knew they were doing the basics well and that the game would come to them. The second half was another tight affair, but instead of tiring as time passed, Whitchurch started to apply better pressure on the ball carriers with players combining to ensure the ball was won, or at least that Neston had to go backwards. This led to the Reds having more of the ball, and while some passes were getting cut out, the creativity and confidence meant that it was only a matter of time before an equalizer. It came from some excellent thinking from Hockenhull to take a free hit near the Neston dee quickly, and then lay off a simple pass to Cooper who spun and buried the ball in the Neston goal.

The rest of the half played out with both teams making a combination of strong attacks and simple mistakes, but the momentum was with Whitchurch and at the final whistle, the draw was a fair result but one that gives the Reds a lot of confidence to take on to their home game against Bowden Men’s 5s next week. Whitchurch stay third in the league, level on points with Bowden, but ahead on goal difference.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 0 Chester Men’s 6s 6

The Men’s 2s welcomed high flying Chester 6s to SJT on Saturday. Although able to field a squad of fourteen players, all the “proper” hockey players were seconded into the first team leaving the 2s with their most inexperienced side so far this season – nine of the squad being 15 or under, and the five adults all being products of the “Back-to-Hockey” initiative over the past few years.

After being “out of the game” before half-time in their previous two matches, Whitchurch set out with a game plan to avoid being four or five goals down by halftime. The young forwards and midfield players were encouraged to think more about what was behind them, rather than stay forward looking for goals and the team would set up with a defensive midfielder to screen the defence.

For large parts of the first half the plan worked brilliantly. Although Chester took the lead, midway through the half, from a short corner that was initially well stopped by Gareth Teggin in goal, Chester found chances hard to come by. Paul Humphries was excellent in the deep midfield role and was ably assisted in screening the defence by Joe’s Faithfull and Coburn breaking up play in the Chester
midfield.

The Whitchurch defenders, Wyn Morris, Richard Leigh, Doug Buckeridge and Brendan Coburn backed up the midfield and put in a succession of good tackles and interceptions to thwart the Chester attackers. Chester did have the majority of possession and territory during the first half, but Whitchurch were able to provide a threat of their own on the counterattack. With forward Euan Morris playing a much deeper role to help the midfield, the 2s were forced to work their way up the pitch with short passes rather than long hopeful balls, which they did well when the opportunities arose.

Ethan Gresty and Sam Appleby combined well with Euan Morris to create attacks down the right flank, and Euan linked well with Joe Coburn and Luke Beddow to provide threat down the left. With Jacob Buckeridge and James Page also finding good positions in the dee, chances were created, but shots were stopped well by the Chester keeper, or good crosses just evaded the finishing touch from
a Whitchurch stick.

After an excellent first half the 2s suffered two significant blows just before the halftime whistle. It was a frustrating to concede a second goal from a well-worked short corner routine with the last play of the half but losing Paul Humphries to injury had a real impact on the match. At only 2-0 down, Whitchurch had (sort of) achieved what they’d set out to do by staying in the game. However, Chester’s much more experienced side ruthlessly exploited Humphries absence in
the second half. The younger players were unable to offer the same protection to the defence and Chester began to be more of a threat in the Whitchurch dee.

The defenders still performed admirably, but the ball was now coming straight back into the dee and Chester piled on the goals to go 6-0 up. Undeterred, Whitchurch went on the offensive. Wyn Morris somehow found himself in the Chester
dee and shot wide …. although his son, Euan, claims he was free if he’d passed! Joe Coburn hit a post from a short corner and Jacob Buckeridge had a reverse stick shot cleared off the line in the dying moments of the game.

Ultimately it was another heavy defeat for the 2s, but once again there were positives to take. With Paul Humphries screening the defence in the first half, Whitchurch were much more solid in defence. Certainly, Paul’s absence in the second half had a big impact both in terms of his own play, but also the influence he was having on the younger players in midfield. That said, the young lads all
had good games, and the short passing to move up the pitch to create chances was great to see, and something we need to see more of this season.

Next week the Men’s 2s travel to Denbigh 2s.

Triton ladies 2s 0 Whitchurch ladies 1s 5

Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled to Alsager this week to play their second game against Triton 2s. The game started well for Whitchurch after constant pressure from forwards Stephanie Stanton, Jessica Carruthers and Ellie Windsor, Millie Edwards slotted the ball into the bottom corner for their first goal. Continuing their attack, Whitchurch started a run of short corners, with Emma Harper scoring a brilliant goal from their well-practiced sequence. Towards the end of the first half, Hebe Dixon made a run into the dee before scoring off a deflection from the keeper.

The second half continued much the same with majority of the game in the Triton half, with Triton only having a couple of breaks which were picked up quickly by Harper and Catherine Reece-Gresty. Whitchurch passed the ball around Triton and scored two goals in quick succession. The first came from Ellie Windsor, bagging a goal off another deflection from Hebe Dixon’s reverse strike, then another goal was scored by Stephanie Stanton who tapped in a wonderful ball from Windsor on the top of the dee.

Sophie Ward and Martha Teggin contributed to the quick passes up and down each side of the pitch. In the final quarter, the Whitchurch defence were finally called in for some action as Triton began to push up the pitch. The strong defence made up of Catherine Reece-Gresty, Emma Harper and Maddy Sugden in goal, managed to clear the ball.

More amazing play from Captain Catherine Winter-Gresty, Lisa Sullivan and Katie Leicester in the centre held Triton off to the whistle as all were starting to tire. Final score was 5-0 to Whitchurch. Players player was awarded to Catherine Winter-Gresty.

Ladies 1s play at home next week against Lymm

Whitchurch Ladies 3s 2 Sandbach Ladies 2s 0

Whitchurch ladies took to the pitch full of enthusiasm after last week’s win. After winning first push back, they attacked strongly from the start. Sandbach fought back with equal enthusiasm. A very balanced first half saw strong attacks from Sandbach which were defended well by Whitchurch defenders Jan Teggin and Gayle Ladd. Sandbach had a shot on goal which was deflected back up the pitch by keeper Beth Wright who made her debut appearance for Whitchurch.

Annie Buckeridge made some excellent runs to pick up some long balls from Emily Lister and Annie Leigh in Whitchurch’s mid field. Just before half time Whitchurch were awarded a short corner. This was injected by Wendy Cooper to Gayle Ladd who scored putting Whitchurch 1-0 ahead at half time.

After a positive half time talk, Whitchurch attacked from the whistle. Sandbach had some strong attacks but found themselves battling against Whitchurch midfield and defence every time. Kate Buckeridge and Phoebe Jones worked hard on the left getting the ball up to the dee. After another short corner there was a scuffle in front of the goal and Whitchurch attempted to score but the Sandbach keeper defended and deflected the ball.

Caitlin Shaw and Mia Spruce then took the ball up the right wing passing it to Gayle Ladd to put the ball into the back of the net putting Whitchurch 2-0 ahead and giving Gayle the well-earned player of the match.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 1 Wrexham ladies 2s 8

Whitchurch had to play a mainly defensive game for long periods but there was still some bright moments with some good runs through the middle of the pitch from Becky Brookfield, Izzy Huxley and Tracy Tolhurst.

Whitchurch had their best chance of the half breaking down the left side of the pitch through Helen Mellor and Tracy Tolhurst who picked out Edina Jones in the dee but an excellent save from the Wrexham keeper prevented any celebration.

Jess Kimberley, Emma Clarke, Helen Mellor and Chloe Lloyd worked tirelessly in defence to keep Wrexham at bay but Wrexham finally slipped through the cracks of the Whitchurch defence and slipped the ball past the advancing Whitchurch goal keeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees and give Wrexham the lead to bring the score up to 0-1 to Wrexham.

Wrexham then slotted another two more into the Whitchurch goal before the half time whistle.

Whitchurch regrouped at half time and started to settle allowing them more possession and to slowly move the ball further up the pitch with the strengths of Edina Jones, and Ellie McEvoy picking out Leanne Read who picked out Tolhurst on the post and slipped the ball past the advanced Wrexham goal keeper.

Wrexham took advantage of the tiring Whitchurch side and scored another five goals. Whitchurch didn’t let this get to them as they kept on applying the pressure but to no reward.