Ladies 5s 1 - 3 Sonning Veterans
So near and yet so far!
The Ladies of the Sonning Veterans team re by no means young, but what they lack in youth they more than make up for in experience! This meant that we had a more “mature” line up with Jo and Liz joining us from the 4s, which proved to be quite important as we had no goalie until Helen kindly suited up. Playing against Sonning is always tough but immense fun and this weeks match lived up to expectations.
We started hard with the first pushback but as is our usual way it took us a good 10 minutes to settle in to the game. This meant we were leaving gaps in our defensive line and not tracking back as a unit. The veterans made the most of this and within 15 minutes we were 2 goals down. At this point we started to think about our passes and get the ball down the wings. We had a great run up by Emily who passed to Jess W, just right of the top of the D, who cracked it in, I was on post but just couldn’t get a stick on it. Sam had a better try up the left and managed to get a short corner. Jess D took a great gut but the veterans showed their experience and cleared it away quickly. This went up the pitch and caught the rest of us napping. Helen (& Hayley) tried her best to save it but it snuck past her. Rather than loose heart this seemed to galvanise us and we pressed up the field time and time again. Jo had a good attempt and Sam once again found a defenders foot to give us a second short corner. Jess W wasn’t given a chance for her big hit, the ball went loose and then off the back line.
So half time saw us down 3 goals but by no means out. We were starting to use our wings and pass the ball around, we even managed to switch it at one point.
In the second half we started playing some great hockey. We thought about where we were passing, made use of space, our wings and our chances. Jess D, Sophie and Liz endeavoured to pass the ball out to the wings. Hayley and Lydia did a great job of protecting the back line (and Helen) and feeding the ball up to midfield. The majority of the play was in our attacking half. There was a brilliant run up the right by Becky who weaved through the field and up to the D taking a shot on goal, but Maddie (with her debut in outfield) couldn’t quite get a stick on it. We had press after press up to the D but either couldn’t find a player or just couldn’t finish it. And the play didn’t go all our way. Sonning were very good at clearing the ball and making use of their big hits up the pitch. One such hit lead to an all our fight in our D. Helen made a fantastic dive throwing herself left and right on the ball. Our defenders rallied around and made sure it didn’t get over the goal line. They also got 2 defensive short corners in succession, but as we all know we are now well practised in these and cleared them beautifully.
We did get some great opportunities and we made the most of one of these. We had a great pass in from Becky on the backline to me just on the post. I smacked it towards the left side of the goal, one of their defenders stepped in and got a stick on it, making sure it went in! There were also 2 more attacking short corners and some touches on the ball but we just couldn’t get it in the back of the net!
Ultimately we ended 1-3 but the way we played is what I will remember most about this match. We started to really keep the ball out on the wings, make some great runs on goal and even have people on the post. It is great to see our team improving their game as a whole and still coming off smiling. At the end of the match we went back for teas and the opposition said that if the match had been any longer we would have had them! Praise indeed from such an experienced team.
Helen was voted Man of the Match for stepping up as goalie and literally thowing herself into the role! Thanks Helen.