Category Archives: Match Reports

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

Match Reports 22/02/20

Whitchurch ladies 2s 4 Sale ladies 3s 0

On Saturday 22nd February Whitchurch Ladies 2s finally played their rearranged match against Sale which was postponed due to a frozen pitch on 18th January.  The result of this match would determine if Whitchurch Ladies 2s finished in the top or bottom half of the division.

Whitchurch had a strong team of 15 players, the majority of whom have played together all season with some strong replacements eager to come on the pitch.

The warm up was focused to get the team to concentrate and motivated, emphasising the need to attack the ball and make sure passes were accurate.

First push back was taken by Sale, but they didn’t get far, the attacking line of Amy Fry at centre forward and Amelie Morris and Hayleigh Busby in the inner positions, hit the ball quickly to take it forward towards the Sale dee.  And this is where the ball spent most of the first half, either down the left hand-side with lovely passing play between Edina Jones and Tracey Tolhurst playing into the dee or on the right between Phoebe Jones and Nina Hodges using Molly Fry as the lynch pin to change direction of the ball across the pitch.

Frustratingly no matter how much play Whitchurch had in the Sale 22, the Sale keeper and strong defence managed to keep the ball from the goal.

Every 16 the Sale player had was heavily defended by the Whitchurch team, if the ball got past the first row of Amy Fry, Holly Gilbert or Caitlin Edwards it was soon scooped up by the halves or backs including Emily Lister, who was playing her first match for the Ladies 2s and Catherine Reece-Gresty who played a fantastic match of sweeping back.

Even though the first goal alluded the Whitchurch Ladies they did not give up and kept their heads focused defending well when needed and driving forward passing between themselves down the pitch towards the goal.

Sale did manage to break through twice during the first half, however with a strong half and defensive line, it didn’t worry Beth Wright in goal who dealt with the ball cleanly and assertively.

In the dying minutes of the first half Whitchurch were finally rewarded for their pressure with some beautiful passing play down the pitch slipped to the post and pushed into the Sale goal by Molly Fry

Whitchurch went into the halftime break 1-0 up.  The team talk by Captain Emma Clarke, bought the teams focus back on track, encouraged the team to relax around the goal mouth and stop trying to force the goal and urged players to stay out of the dee allowing the ball to be reset before being directed at the goal.

As anticipated Sale had also had a strong team talk and came out fighting, however each of their attacks were easily dealt with by the Whitchurch defence, to be able to counter attack on the Sale defence.

It was obvious the Sale team were tiring and with four subs Whitchurch was able to rotate players regularly and keep the pressure on.  It didn’t take long for Whitchurch to be rewarded by a fantastic goal from a short corner, push in from Molly Fry to Nicola Forester at the top of the dee, back into Phoebe Jones to the side of the goal with a fantastic shot past the Sale defence.

Whitchurch dominated the last 15 minutes of the match, with a goal from Nicola Forster and another from a short corner past left this time to Hayley Busby who shot to the post and scored.

In the dying minutes of the match Sale were awarded two short corners in quick succession, both of which were dispensed with efficiently by Whitchurch’s Keeper, who kept another clean sheet.

The final score 4-0 to Whitchurch moving them up to joint 4th in the division, player of the match was Nina Hodges.

Whitchurch Ladies 2s have four more matches to the season, three of which are the top teams in the division so they have a very hard month ahead.  Next week Whitchurch Ladies 2s are on the road to Neston ladies 4s who are 2nd in the division.

Northop Hall Men’s 2s 2 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3

Whitchurch travelled away this week full of confidence after last week’s top-of-the-table win, but knowing that complacency could be their downfall. They were up against a strong Northop Hall team who have developed well over the season and who were a threat from the start.

Much of the game was defined by Northop using a long, hard hit out from the back as their main method of attack, and they used it well all game, often finding their left half in space and able to drive forward. They also used their knowledge of the least-bouncy pitch in the league to play the ball around better at the start while Whitchurch got used to the conditions. They were able to put together a number of decent attacks, and were unlucky several times not to score. Paul “Sturge” Leigh had another outstanding game in goal, keeping the Reds in it and denying some great shots from the Northop forwards.

Finally, the pressure told, with Sturge saving twice from the same attacker, before the ball fell kindly and the Northop striker was able to do reverse scoop over the prone keeper. The rest of the half was evenly balanced, and Whitchurch didn’t let their heads drop; they knew the chances would come, and they started to put together some good hockey forcing some great saves from the Northop keeper, who was their standout player.

At half-time, the team talk was about ensuring passes made it to Red sticks on a slow pitch, coming to meet the ball early, and start to make better use of the width of the pitch. The Whitchurch structure was solid, and the use of substitutes was again effect and kept the tempo high. Chris Ruscoe made a good run into the dee and won a short corner, and Jon Chappell’s first strike shot was just too powerful for the keeper, smashing into his pad but continuing on into the goal.

Whitchurch started to put together some more of the full-width play, with the ball moving across the pitch twice as it went from dee to dee, and this width started to stretch the Northop defence. Two goals in five minutes gave the Reds the momentum, as first a free hit on the edge of the dee was taken by Rob Chappell who fired it to Jack Barnes who got a reverse stick screamer into the goal. This was followed shortly after with a short corner routine slipping the ball back to Rob Chappell who’d injected, and the keeper was over-committed and Chappell passed it under him for the Reds’ third.

Northop had to respond and implemented their game plan well, pushing two forwards up to hassle the Reds’ defence, and their continued success with the long ball out worked, as they were able to drive down their left and into the dee where Sturge saved twice, but then the ball clipped Ruscoe’s foot before bouncing off the post. After the initial confusion over whether the ball had gone over the line was cleared, a penalty stroke was awarded, and Sturge was unfortunately beaten despite picking the striker’s shot.

With the score now at 3-2, Northop pushed everyone up the pitch looking for the equaliser. The last five minutes was very tense at the back for Whitchurch with everyone crowding the Reds’ dee looking for a goal or short corner, but the defence held and the final whistle gave Whitchurch their tenth consecutive victory.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 5 Bebington Men’s 4s 1

The Men’s 2s welcomed Bebington to a windy Whitchurch on Saturday. The game earlier in the season had been a tough, physical game, but the Reds had hung on for a narrow victory. Still without their top two scorers, the side were looking to build on the good play from the previous weekend but knew that they’d need to be more decisive and ruthless in the opposition’s dee.

The opening stages of the game were fairly even. Whitchurch struggled to get their passing game going as they moved forward and Bebington, whilst neat in possession in the middle of the pitch, found an unyielding Whitchurch defence of Alex Leigh, Will Snaith, Wyn Morris and Pip Jones.

As the half progressed, the home side’s passes started to become a bit crisper and more accurate. Alex Leigh, Joe Coburn and Joe Faithfull were linking well down the right-hand side of the pitch, but the Bebington defence held firm and Whitchurch struggled to create any danger in front of the Wirral side’s goal.

Despite dominating the possession and territory it was from a counterattack that Whitchurch opened the scoring. Alex Leigh played an excellent vertical pass to Marcus Conway, who in turn fed Airan Jones to run through on goal and he calmly slid the ball past the on-rushing keeper.

The goal settled Whitchurch and they enjoyed a good spell of possession and territory with Bebington penned in their own twenty-three. The home side got themselves into several good attacking positions, but some poor decision making let them down at the crucial moments. However neat interplay between Joe Coburn and Joe Faithfull saw the ball played across the face of goal where Jacob Buckeridge swept home at the back post to double the home side’s lead going into half-time.

Whitchurch held a three goal lead in the reverse fixture against Bebington, but the Wirral side introduced a physicality that day which knocked the young Whitchurch side out of their stride, so the focus in the second half was for the home team to move the ball swiftly, but carefully, whilst avoiding getting into contact with their opponents.

With Richard Leigh and Doug Buckeridge providing some calm in midfield, the home side moved the ball well and put Bebington under pressure from the start of the second half. A good ball forward sent Will Gilbert clear on goal and as he drew the keeper at the edge of the dee, he unselfishly squared the ball to Ethan Gresty who drove the ball into the open goal.

Although Bebington continued to play some neat hockey through the middle of the pitch, they still struggled to pose a significant threat to the Whitchurch goal. Will Snaith, Alex Leigh, Pip Jones and Wyn Morris continued to intercept passes, make blocks and tackles, and provide a solid base for Whitchurch to move forward.

The home side were making chances and Marcus Conway almost got on the end of a cross at the back post. As Bebington legs tired, Joe Coburn found more space in midfield and his incisive pass put Marcus clear and he slammed the ball past the keeper to make the score 4-0. This was quickly followed by Airan Jones second goal of the game. The Bebington keeper made an excellent double save from Airan and Will Gilbert, but Airan slammed the third effort high into the net.

Bebington were undeterred despite the score line and continued to play their own good hockey. As the Whitchurch subs rolled on into unfamiliar positions, their own play became more ragged and Bebington belatedly threatened the Whitchurch goal. Keeper Neil Jones kicked clear on several occasions, but a brief flurry of short corners just before the end of the game saw Bebington pull one goal back.

The 5-1 win was an excellent result for the team. Still without their leading scorers there was a worry that the team might struggle to score goals for the second week running, but Bebington’s willingness to play their own hockey benefitted Whitchurch. As the Wirral side’s attacks broke down, Whitchurch found space to move the ball and, more importantly, space within the dee to get shots and passes away.

The intensity provided by the midfield and attackers made life difficult for Bebington and their attacks struggled to make much headway, but for the second week running the defence was excellent and provided the platform for all of Whitchurch’s good play going forward.

In their next game, the Men’s 2s entertain the runaway league leaders from Bangor University. Pushback is 1:30pm at SJT.

Match Reports 15/02/20

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4  Neston Men’s 5s 0

This week’s top-of-the-table clash was a classy affair between two teams who gave it their all in testing conditions, but which left Whitchurch six points clear after a scintillating performance. With Storm Dennis having already flooded the Whitchurch pitch, the game was moved to Ellesmere College in an attempt to prevent the postponement of such an important game. The conditions at the start were blustery but dry, and the game started at a high pace that would be maintained for the full 70 minutes.

Whitchurch fielded a strong team with four substitutes, and that played a good part in their success: players ran hard and then rolled off, which ensured the pace and fitness could keep the game under control. Neston have done extremely well this season, and are the only team to have beaten Whitchurch, and brought an even stronger team this week to try to do the double and potentially go back to the top of the league.

From the start, it was a high quality game, with both sides playing great hockey. The Reds were able to bring their A game, and put together the hockey they’ve played for sections of games previously, but this time for the entire game. There were no lulls in performance; no quiet patches or periods where things didn’t work out. It was a consistent effort with solid results and the rewards were fully deserved: Nick Cooper grabbed the first by dribbling the ball round the keeper and unleashing a shot from an acute angle. He could have had a second with a long aerial ball coming his way into the dee but his first-time shot on the half volley was fortuitously saved by the keeper rushing out. The Neston keeper made a number of great saves during the game to keep the score down, but their defence was under constant pressure.

By the start of the second half, Storm Dennis was unleashing torrents of rain, but nothing was going to dampen Whitchurch’s enthusiasm for the game. The teamwork in the second half was as good as the first, with everyone playing for each other – whether being unselfish in the Neston dee and opting to pass rather than take a shot, or at the back where Chris Ruscoe was again on form making critical last-second saves when everyone else had thought the Neston striker was about to score. Paul “Sturge” Leigh was a rock at the back, again, making blocks and diving saves to record yet another clean sheet for the season. The defence worked as a unit, and the midfield were up and down the pitch all game, attacking and defending in equal measure.

At the other end, the balance shifted as Whitchurch started to stretch away: Dale Seymour drove the ball into the dee and took a shot which was blocked, but the rebound fell to him and he drilled it in. Sam Conway was on the receiving end of a powerful cross and calmly swept it in first time. The final goal was a beauty, with Jack Barnes driving into the dee and holding the ball while the Neston keeper and a defender came out to get it, before slipping it under his arm across to Cooper who now had an empty goal and all the time in the world to slot it away with the last hit of the game.

The atmosphere at full time within the Whitchurch team was as good as any all season. It’s a testament to the Neston players, who put in a real shift and made the game so hard, but the Reds were rightly proud of their effort – a full 70 minutes of hard running, good skill and solid teamwork, and a 4-0 result to put them six points clear at the top of the table, and in clear sight of promotion at the end of the season.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 5 Crewe Vagrants ladies 4s 0

Whitchurch ladies 2s travelled to Ellesmere due to flooding of their home pitch to play Crewe hoping to secure a win despite the torrential weather. In the first half, Whitchurch faced the driving wind and rain and managed to score off a short corner. Catherine Reece-Gresty and captain Emma Clarke provided a solid defence letting no balls past them so Beth Wright had a very easy job as keeper. Nina Hodges, Holly Gilbert and Caitlin Edwards stayed strong, moving the ball around the Crewe players up to the forwards. Hodges, Tracey Tolhurst and Hayleigh Busby triumphantly all scored a goal each.

In the second half, Whitchurch upped the pace pushing through Crewe and making beautiful runs down the pitch. Using Hayleigh’s W press, Whitchurch were able to keep the ball up in the top half and Nicola Forster was able to achieve two well deserved goals. Megan Brunyard, Catherine Reece-Gresty and Caitlin Edwards kept a strong mid-defence and allowed no balls through giving Crewe no opportunity for a goal.

Whitchurch had four players out of position and was missing six of its regular players. This did not show in their game play as they went on to win 5-0.

Man of the match was Amelie Morris

Oxton ladies 2s Whitchurch ladies 1s 6

Despite the awful weather, Whitchurch arrived to play Oxton with determination for the tough game ahead. The first half was difficult for Whitchurch, but they persevered, with Emma Harper and Chloe Lloyd creating an unbreakable defence in the back. Captain Catherine Winter-Gresty and Ellie Windsor worked together on the right, creating numerous opportunities, which eventually led to a break for Whitchurch. Sarah Field utilised this, slotting the ball into the goal, and leaving Whitchurch 1-0 up as the whistle blew for half time.

In the second half, Whitchurch went back out with resilience, battling against the wind. Oxton fought back, putting keeper Maddie Sugden to the test, but she saved all that came to her. Within minutes, Whitchurch had secured themselves a short corner. Harper slipped this to Field, who effortlessly put it into the goal.

Kezzie Hutchings and Sophie Ward played the ball up the pitch making some incredible runs down the wing, which Grace Berry deflected into the goal. Incentivised by this, Whitchurch continued their strong attacks, scoring once again from a short corner, finished by Hebe Dixon. Centre half, Molly Fry, made a break down the middle, crossing in to Jess Carruthers, who scored on the post. Field finished the game with a third and final goal, once more from a short corner, finishing the game at 6-0 to Whitchurch. Players player was awarded to Hebe Dixon.

A week off next Saturday for the 1s but return on the 29th for a home game against Neston.

Neston Men’s 8s 0  Whitchurch Men’s 2s 0

Due to a quirk in the fixture calendar, the Men’s 2s travelled to the Wirral for their final away fixture of the season to face Storm Dennis and a Neston side boasting a formidable home record. Half -term commitments and injuries meant the Reds were without both of their leading scorers and their regular central defenders, so several players stepped up to play in unfamiliar positions.

Despite the re-shuffle, Whitchurch started the game on the front foot. They moved the ball well, keeping the passing short and simple, but working themselves into threatening positions with regularity. Neston were content to sit deep, but leave three, or sometimes four players, in high, wide positions and hit the ball long, bypassing midfield. The Whitchurch defence had to be diligent with their marking. With Doug Buckeridge and Richard Leigh barking out instructions, full-backs Alex Leigh and Will Snaith were careful not to get caught upfield when the Whitchurch attacks broke down.

Chances were hard to come by in the first half. The packed Neston defence made life difficult for Whitchurch to create shooting chances. Will Gilbert picked up the ball at the top of the dee several times but couldn’t find space for his shots and Joe Coburn’s dazzling skills saw him go close. Both Ethan Gresty and Fred Delf-Rowlandson couldn’t quite get on the end of crosses at the back post after making good runs.

Neston were struggling to get into the Whitchurch dee. The Reds defence was cutting off the supply to the high forwards and Neston tried to play through midfield, but the away side worked hard to break up attacks in the middle of the pitch. However, as legs began to tire at the end of the first half, Whitchurch came under some sustained pressure. The home side put together better passing moves through midfield and although the Whitchurch defence was resolute, they were struggling to clear their lines and the ball kept coming back at them. A flurry of short corners was well defended, and keeper Neil Jones, Alex Leigh and Doug Buckeridge did well to clear the ball after a melee in front of the Whitchurch goal.

The stalemate at half-time was a fair reflection of the game, although Whitchurch were more welcoming of the interval than their hosts. At the break the Reds talked about the need to focus on those high forwards and the need to work hard and track back diligently and they started the second half with much more assurance.

Whitchurch dominated much of the second half. Half chances were created with regularity. Joe Faithfull and Jacob Buckeridge both went close; Will Gilbert still couldn’t quite find space for his shots and Joe Coburn was also crowded out by defenders whenever he received the ball in the dee. The Neston keeper made a couple of handy stops and the ball flashed across the goal several times without a player in red being able to get their stick to the ball.

Neston had their moments, but these were few and far between, with the biggest danger coming from a short corner close to the end of the game that was brilliantly blocked by Dave Brunyard at the top of the dee.

This was an entertaining game, well umpired and played in an excellent spirit by both sides. Whitchurch shaded all areas of the game but without Euan Morris and Luke Beddow they lacked a cutting edge up front. Otherwise the team played some excellent hockey, both with and without the ball. Richard Leigh and Doug Buckeridge marshalled the defence well and Will Snaith enjoyed a much better game than the previous weekend at Golborne. The defenders were well supported in their duties by all the players in midfield. The tracking back and diligence to cover the Neston attacks was very pleasing. Joe Coburn ran the game from midfield and yet again Alex Leigh was excellent in defence, whilst also providing a valuable attacking asset on the right-hand side.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s now have four home fixtures to complete the season, starting with Bebington 4s on 22nd February.

Alderley Edge ladies 7’s 4 Whitchurch ladies 3’s 2

Whitchurch Ladies 3’s travelled to Macclesfield just as Storm Denis hit! Without their captain and only had one sub but they shook off the rain and remained upbeat. The team were very grateful to Chris Wilson who stepped in at the last minute to umpire travelling from the ladies 1s game in Oxton. (Thanks Wendy for organising).

Whitchurch chose to play with the wind for the first half and stuck with the tactic of three defensive players along the back, Emma Stubbs, Mel Reid and Jess Kimberley giving us strength and big hits out of the dee to Libby Fox at centre forward, Annie Buckeridge at left inner and Jaz Williams at right inner.

In the first ten minutes, there were several near misses on goal in the Alderley Edge dee by attacking players Louise Whitley, Fox and Kimberley. The opposition were fast on the break and managed to go one goal up despite some good defensive tackling by new comer Poppy Huxley at right half and some excellent running by Annie Leigh at left half. Emily Lister and Annie Buckeridge worked hard on the left hand side of the pitch frustrating Alderley and allowing Kimberley and Williams to make some blistering drives through the middle.

Against the run of play, Alderley Edge were quick to steal a missed Whitchurch pass and scored again making the score 2-0. Undeterred, Whitchurch fought straight back, with Stubbs improving game on game, finding a pass out to Kate Buckeridge at right half who drove the ball through to Williams who slotted home Whitchurch’s first goal.

The 2nd half was a similar affair with impressive tackling from Whitley and Huxley on the right, superb hit outs from Reid, Kimberley and Stubbs to Fox who won several short corners but some excellent goal keeping and defensive play from Alderley Edge denied Whitchurch from levelling the score and Alderley Edge caught Whitchurch on the break again to make the score 3-1.

Whitchurch were very impressive with their ‘never say die’ attitude despite being so wet their shirts were twice their normal weight! Eventually, Kimberley broke free into the dee and won a penalty flick which was brilliantly saved by the 14 year old Alderley keeper. Alderley ever dangerous on the break sneaked in another goal despite some brilliant keeping by Louise Cottrell but Whitchurch were not to be denied and the battling skills of Fox and Whitely were rewarded by Whitley scoring just before the final whistle resulting in the final score of 4-2.

Jess Kimberley was nominated as players player!

Match Reports 08/02/20

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 Stockport Bramhall Men’s 2s 0

The Reds faced third-placed team Stockport Bramhall this week in a match that would help confirm the top of the league positions going into the last few games of the season.

Both teams started well, with Whitchurch again finding some excellent form with passing moves working well to accelerate the ball up the pitch and putting pressure on the Stockport defence. Time and again, Stockport had to spend extra time working out where to pass from a free-hit as the Reds’ marking was excellent in all areas of the pitch. Rob Chappell, Dale Seymour and Ben Kimberley were each able to make incisive runs through the middle, and Jack Barnes and Tom Forster drove down the wings causing trouble for the Stockport defence.

The pressure paid off, as Whitchurch started to win penalty corners, and all three goals came from these. None were the first-strike shots that they might originally have seemed, but all were calm composure in the dee, with the ball being moved well and at pace leaving Stockport no chance. The first was Seymour receiving the injection, laying the ball off before making his run and getting it back again to put it into the net. The second was Barnes’ flick not quite the skyrocket he’d intended, but the rebound off the keeper’s pads fell nicely for a second attempt that he was never going to miss. The third was Nick Cooper, whose drilled shot deflected off a defender’s stick, giving the keeper no time to react. A fourth might have been scored, but unfortunately clipped Forster’s foot on the Stockport goal line.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic in the first half, with Stockport never quite having the luck: their striker got one-on-one with Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal but pulled his shot left. A few minutes later, a goalmouth scramble ended with looping shot that just floated over the Whitchurch crossbar. Sturge was called upon to come out and prevent other one-on-ones, as Stockport used the break well, but the half ended 3-0.

The second half was a more balanced affair: Stockport went on the attack, leaving players higher up the pitch similar to Keele last week and Whitchurch had to sit back more to defend. Alex Fry and Chris Ruscoe each made critical last minute interceptions when it looked certain Stockport were going to score. Sturge held the goal area and provided the base for Danny Foulkes, Ruscoe and James Partington to move it around the back. Fred Egerton and Jon Chappell added options up front and were unlucky not to score. Stockport won a number of short corners in the dying minutes, but the defence held.

All in all, it was another strong game from Whitchurch, with Chris Ruscoe picking up the player of the match award, but everyone had put in a shift to get the fifth clean-sheet of the weekend, leaving them ranked second for home game performances across the whole North West Hockey League. They play Neston 5s at home next week.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 3 Deeside Ramblers 3s 1

Ladies 1s played at home against Deeside 3s this Saturday and saw a definite improvement to the Deeside side from last time they played.

Whitchurch ladies controlled the ball well passing back to Chloe Lloyd and Kezzie Hutching who were holding the defence line, passing back out wide to Anna Latham and Molly Fry. Continuing to attack hard mid players Millie Edwards, Hebe Dixon and captain Catherine Winter-Gresty were making Deeside’s game difficult and it payed off as their first goal was from open play passing within the dee from Sarah Field to Ellie Windsor to score. The sides seemed quite equal at this point and keeper Maddy Sugden made some great sliding tackles but unfortunately Deeside scored before half time.

A good team talk and Whitchurch needed this win and continued to take control and put plenty of pressure on the Deeside defence. A run of short corners for Whitchurch and their persistence payed off, Hebe Dixon receiving the ball to shoot and a rebound from a Deeside stick was quickly picked up by captain Winter-Gresty to slot through Deeside defence into the left corner. A moment of excited celebration for Whitchurch as that was their 100th goal of the season and this really changed their play.

In the lead again now and Whitchurch seemed to pick up the pace and worked so well together, picking off any advance from Deeside. Hayleigh Busby kept Deeside from making any headway on the left supported by Latham. Several shots on goal from Sarah Field, but the Deeside keeper was not for letting her score today. With 5 minutes to go some amazing play from Ellie Windsor and Molly Fry on the right won another short. Edwards pushed out to Field to pick out Izzy Huxley on the post to score their 3rd.

Now it was for Whitchurch ladies 1s to keep possession until the final whistle, which they did for most of that time, not allowing Deeside any time in their dee.

A great game and final score 3-1 for the ladies 1s.

Millie Edwards was awarded players player; their next game is away against Oxton.

Ladies 1s after their win. Thanks to Louis Tinsley for the photo.

Golborne Men’s 3s 3 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3

Whitchurch were looking to build on their excellent win from the previous weekend when they travelled up to Warrington to face a Golborne side whom they’d narrowly beaten earlier in the season.

In windy conditions, the game followed a similar pattern to that previous encounter. Golborne started much the better and Whitchurch were lacklustre and sloppy. The home side were quick to capitalise and took an early.

The Reds stirred themselves and responded well. Joe Coburn and Luke Beddow began to get more possession in midfield and twice Doug Buckeridge found good positions on the left of the dee, forcing a save and a short corner. The Reds came close to equalising from a short corner, but a fantastic save and block on the line saw the fly high over the crossbar.

However, as the subs rolled on, Whitchurch found themselves further behind. A sloppy pass out of defence was collected by Golborne and a long ball found their centre-forward all alone in the Whitchurch dee. Despite keeper Neil Jones’ best efforts, he was unable to prevent the forward scoring.

With Golborne happy to pack their own dee and prevent Whitchurch finding space to pass around their opponents, the away side’s attacks continually broke down without much threat to the goal. Golborne were content to counterattack by either carrying the ball from the edge of their own dee or firing long balls forward to their high attacking players. The latter being a tactic that seemed to unsettle the Whitchurch defence.

All through this season, Whitchurch have proved to be adept at finding solutions to problems during the game and in this match, they started to stretch the pitch in all directions, giving Golborne more to do to close up the spaces. As the gaps appeared, the Reds started to get into more threatening positions and a neat through ball put Euan Morris into space in the dee and his reverse hit flew past the Golborne keeper to halve the deficit.

The away team scored again soon after as Will Gilbert escaped his marker and found space on the left. Will drove diagonally into the dee and flicked a pass towards the back post where Jacob Buckeridge had made a superb run from the other flank. He steered the ball through the narrow gap between post and keeper for the equaliser.

Whitchurch started to dominate the game. Wyn Morris and Pip Jones were cleaning up Golborne’s attacks and Richard Leigh and Airan Jones were tidy in possession in the middle of the pitch. The wingers were a constant threat to Golborne, and the home keeper was forced to make a couple of handy saves. A flurry of short corners at the end of the half were well defended by Golborne although there might have been the hint of a foot in one of the goal-line stops ….

Despite the 2-2 half-time score line, Whitchurch felt that they were in the ascendancy. However, the break galvanised Golborne. Whitchurch were again sluggish from the pushback and the home side quickly retook the lead from a scramble after a short corner.

Again, Whitchurch had to find their way back into the game. Progressively their passing became crisper and they started to find dangerous positions with Luke, Joe and Ethan Gresty prominent. Chances came and went from open play and short corners, but eventually the Reds worked the ball well around the edge of the dee and Alex Leigh fired a pass across the face of the goal and Euan was on hand to score his second goal of the match.

Golborne continued to be a threat on the counterattack. Neil Jones made some good stops and Wyn and Pip continued to battle away against the high attackers, helped by Gareth Teggin and Will Snaith.

The final minutes of the game became a bit tetchy as both teams felt hard-done-by as umpiring decisions went against them. Ultimately, however, the 3-3 draw was a fair result in an entertaining game. Both teams had chances to win the match, but good defending and goalkeeping thwarted both sides.

This wasn’t Whitchurch’s best performance of the season by a long way. They were lethargic at the start of both halves and struggled to get their game going. The defence had a tough afternoon and both Gareth and Will Snaith found it tough going at times. But once again the team dug-in and battled to a reasonable result. The importance of width and stretching the pitch was being bellowed from the side-lines and implementing that strategy paid dividends as chances and goals were created. Jacob Buckeridge had a strong first half, rewarded with an excellent goal, and Alex Leigh continued his good form.

The 2s travel to the Wirral to face Neston in their next game, on Saturday 15th February.

Deeside Ramblers ladies 4s 5 Whitchurch ladies 2s 3

Whitchurch ladies 2’s headed off to Deeside for an away match they knew would be challenging. The match started in Deeside’s favour with them gaining push back and putting pressure on Whitchurch’s dee. Catherine Reece-Gresty and Emma Clarke worked brilliantly in defence working the ball up the left side of the pitch to Martha Teggin. A cross from Amelie Morris to Ellie Pearson on post secured Whitchurch their first goal. Towards the end of the first half, a quick break from Deeside made the score line 1-1.

In the second half, Whitchurch were forced to push back and work hard in defence and were unlucky to concede a second goal. Holly Gilbert and Jess Kimberly worked well as half’s and pushed the ball up to Phoebe Jones, who sent the ball to Caitlin Edwards who scored Whitchurch’s second goal. Deeside once again put pressure on Whitchurch’s dee to secure two more goals. Beth Wright made some brilliant saves preventing Deeside from scoring further. Towards the end of the match, Deeside made one final push and managed to score their final goal. However, Whitchurch fought back harder, a ball from Holly Edwards allowed Nicola Forster to pass to Tracey Tolhurst, securing Whitchurch their third goal.

Player of the match awarded to Holly Edwards

Neston ladies 5s 0 Whitchurch ladies 3’s 1

Whitchurch ladies 3’s travelled to the Wirral determined to show how much their game has improved after a heavy home defeat to Neston Ladies 5’s way back in September last year. With one sub, an injured captain Whitchurch knew it was going to be tough but they didn’t let it dampen their spirits!

Whitchurch won first pushback and had to make a quick turnaround as Neston choose to play the first half against the wind. Thanks to a superb training session last week (Thanks go to Emma Clarke!), we kept our width due to some excellent play from right half Meg Bruynard and Emily Lister on the left.

This week, Whitchurch choose to play with three defensive players along the back, Emma Stubbs, Jan Teggin and Mel Reid who tackled superbly spraying shots wide to Bruynard and Lister which forced Neston to play everything down the middle, allowing our two inners Jaz Williams and Annie Buckeridge to pick up and run with the ball.

Several shots were fired into the Neston dee by Kate Buckeridge on the left wing and Louise Whitely on the right wing to our waiting centre forward Libby Fox, who narrowly missed the goal at the left hand post and was unfortunate not to win a short corner just before the half time whistle.

A rousing half time talk by captain Cooper, helped Whitchurch to keep their cool and continue with our determined tackles and superb passing. The Whitchurch defence stifled out most of the Neston attack and prevented them from scoring despite a multitude of successive short corners.

Cottrell defended her goal like a Trojan despite getting stuck against the right hand post and Stubbs was cool and calm with her passes out of the dee to Williams and Annie Buckeridge who were waiting in exactly the right places.

A harsh green card reduced Whitchurch to ten players about ten minutes into the 2nd half but this didn’t deter the Whitchurch defence with Reid clearing some hard shots from the 16 yard line and Teggin making some excellent passes to Brunyard and Williams on the right. The Buckeridge’s also frustrated Neston with some long runs down the left wing.

Finally, the last 10 minutes saw Whitchurch rewarded with some short corners of their own due to the sheer driving determination of the Whitchurch attacking players and 60 seconds from the final whistle a hard hit from Fox was deflected in by Whitely giving Whitchurch a hard fought win.

Emily Lister was voted by Neston as players player!

Match Reports 01/02/20

Whitchurch Ladies 3’s 0 Bowden ladies 7’s 0

Whitchurch ladies 3’s started the game with a strong side who were eager to replicate last weeks away win. After winning first push back, Whitchurch put up a strong attack and chased the ball up towards the goal. Some quick passing between Caitlin Edwards and Jasmin Williams saw a pass to Sue Read in the dee but Whitchurch were unlucky and just missed the post. Bowden came back strong but Whitchurch’s midfield of Annie Leigh, Alice Page and Sammy Parkhurst fought hard to get the ball back up to the forwards with Annie Buckeridge driving the ball towards the dee.

The visitors managed to get a break and chased the ball towards Whitchurch’s defence of Mel Reid and Jan Teggin who managed to hold the opponents away from the goal. Whitchurch brought on fresh legs with Emma Stubbs and Louise Whitley being put into defence and attack positions. This fuelled a fresh attack which resulted in a short corner for Whitchurch.

Half time came and the score was 0-0 and both teams were fighting hard for a goal. Bowden intercepted a pass and drove the ball down the pitch catching Whitchurch out, but after a scrabble at the goal mouth Whitchurch’s keeper Louise Cottrell worked her magic and cleared multiple shots from the opposition, which earned her players player. Whitchurch managed to break the ongoing attack and the ball was skilfully passed from the defence to Wendy Cooper in the midfield who then sent it up the pitch to Kate Buckeridge and Emily Lister who pushed if forward into the dee where Sue Read sent the ball over the line but was unfortunately disallowed as a short corner had been blown for by the umpire.

At the end of the 70 minutes Whitchurch had given everything they had to keep the score line 0-0.

Louise Cottrell, Whitchurch’s goalie was awarded players player.

Keele University Men’s 1s 1 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4

Whitchurch travelled to Keele University for a late push-back game against a youthful university team who had a full complement of substitutes, so knew fitness would play a part in the latter stages of the match.

It started well for the Reds, who also had a number of regular players unavailable this week, so Airan Jones returned to the 1s and was joined by Will Gilbert stepping from the 2s, and they integrated smoothly, helping move the ball up front and providing good attacking options. It was Jones who got the first goal on the board, with a high shot bouncing off the crossbar before he controlled it in the air, brought it down and put it away. It was followed by Chris Ruscoe’s ball through to Alex Fry who turned and passed it to Fred Egerton who managed to force the ball over the line for the second, showing again the skill and strength of the younger players within the club.

Keele made their numbers count though, rotating players to keep them fresh and putting pressure on up front. Paul “Sturge” Leigh was his usual tireless self in goal, coming out on a couple of occasions to clear the ball when Keele did break, and Danny Foulkes was back to underpin the defence, with Ruscoe and James Partington combining well to use the full width of the pitch. This gave the Reds a number of opportunities up both wings, and this width stretched Keele and also then gave chances up the middle. Dale Seymour and Joel Leese controlled that centre with some good movement, runs and passing, and were helped by Ben Kimberley and Tom Forster providing width in attack as well as support in defence.

The third Whitchurch goal came from a penalty stroke awarded for a foot on the line stopping a shot, and Seymour stepped up and put the ball into the right side of the net with confidence. He then followed it up with a second coming from some excellent control at a short corner after the injection was slipped right, driven and then returned to the penalty spot where Seymour was on hand to bury it.

The second half was a different kind of game, as two things happened: first, Keele put a plan in place and kept to that plan, which involved leaving at least one – if not two – strikers high up the pitch (at times between Sturge and the Whitchurch goal) which impacted on the Reds’ defence and meant that Keele on the break had some really effective attacking options. Secondly, they cunningly used youth and fitness to wear down the Whitchurch team, continuing to run hard for the entire second half as the Reds tired. They got their reward with a scramble in the dee being only partly controlled and cleared before the Keele attacker got a rebound shot over a diving Sturge.

They continued to go for long through-balls, with the Whitchurch defence spread and the Reds, as a team, starting to give the ball away a little too easily. In a repeat of the game at Keele last year, the last few minutes were frenetic, with the Reds under constant pressure and giving away a few short corners, but this year they were able to keep them out and to control the ball enough until the final whistle was warmly welcomed! They had worked hard for their result, and the score line didn’t necessarily reflect all the good work by Keele, but it was another fine win from Whitchurch who remain top with six games to go.

Warrington ladies 1s 3 Whitchurch ladies 2s 5

Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled away to play Warrington 1s this windy Saturday with a few missing regular players.

Whitchurch were strong from the start, using midfield players Millie Edwards and Hebe Dixon, quickly reaching captain Catherine Winter-Gresty to fire the ball into Sarah Field to score their first. Warrington fought back, but everything was picked up by defence Chloe Lloyd and Catherine Reece-Gresty and keeper Maddy Sugden cleared several shots on goal. Play was back and to, but Whitchurch scored again with Sarah Field’s skilful play.

Warrington scored from a fast break and then were awarded a penalty flick that keeper Maddy Sugden was so close to saving.

The game started moving faster with Whitchurch passing well and keeping possession, having a lot more play in the Warrington dee. Hebe Dixon reverse shot and Steph Stanton deflected up into the net. Spirits were high and Whitchurch kept attacking allowing Ellie Windsor to score their 4th by lifting the ball over the lying keeper.

Half time and 4-2 up, Whitchurch came back just as strong, Warrington were not for sitting back on their heels as they were attacking hard down the wings, they had a lucky break and scored a 3rd.

This didn’t upset Whitchurch and as Warrington began to tire Whitchurch controlled the game. Great supportive play came from Anna Latham and Izzy Huxley down the left side constantly putting on pressure. On the right side some amazing play from Molly Fry, beating many of the Warrington players got the ball to Dixon to power the ball into the net making it 5-3 at the final whistle.

Another good win for Whitchurch, they play at home next week against Deeside. Players player was awarded to Millie Edwards.

Replayed game on Sunday

Whitchurch Ladies 3’s 0 Golborne ladies 4’s 1

Whitchurch 3’s stepped onto the pitch less than 24 hours after their last match with an almost identical line-up.

Golborne started strong with the first push back and took Whitchurch by surprise. The Whitchurch midfield soon woke up with Alice Page, Sammy Parkhurst and Wendy Cooper creating a defence and turning the play round into an attack for Whitchurch.  The ball was driven forward by a strong drive from Jasmin Williams and Louise Whitley on the right. Libby Fox supported well and was ready in the dee but Golborne intercepted and turned the play around.

The opponents attack  drove through to the Whitchurch defenders Mel Reid and Hermione Ball who stayed strong and sent the ball up the left of the pitch to Kate Buckeridge who fired the ball up to an exhausted Annie Buckeridge in the dee but Whitchurch’s lack of support showed and Annie was unable to finish the shot. Whitchurch got taken by surprise by a fast drive from Golborne which resulted in a 1-0 lead for the visitors at half time.

After half time, Whitchurch had a change of line up bringing on Jan Teggin in defence and Emma Stubbs in midfield. Whitchurch remained strong and keeper Louise Cottrell saved all the shots sent towards her in the second half. Whitchurch kept dominating the game but were unable to equalise by the final whistle leaving the visitors with a 1-0 win.

Whitchurch ladies 3’s have had some outstanding play this weekend from Annie Buckeridge, Alice Page and Sammy Parkhurst.

Libby Fox was awarded players player.