Match Reports 12/01/20

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 3 Alderley Edge Men’s 5’s 0

Whitchurch started the second half of the season with a good win at home against a ten-man Alderley Edge side. With the opposition only being able to field ten players, and Whitchurch having a couple of substitutes of their own the Reds knew they had a good chance to make numbers count, but Alderley Edge brought some strong players and more than held their own.

The game started evenly enough, with both teams trying to keep the ball and build play carefully, but first-game-back syndrome kicked in and passes weren’t what they could have been and everything just lacked the spark that normally defines a Whitchurch game. Alderley Edge suffered less from this as they were already trying to accommodate being a player down so were taking extra care, but Whitchurch were trying to make things happen that just didn’t quite work and it meant frustrations built up. Some good runs were made, some great tackles were won, and Craig Hockenhull was unlucky on a couple of occasions trying to get the last touch on some quick hits into the dee after making excellent runs, but Whitchurch just couldn’t quite put the finishing touches on that would normally happen for them.

They did finally go ahead in the first half as they’d built up pressure in the opposition half, and won a long corner that Dale Seymour took quickly and drove into the dee mostly unchallenged before getting a shot away with a deceiving pace on it that beat the keeper. At the other end, Paul “Sturge” Leigh made another signature diving save to prevent the equaliser, and the Reds went into the break one-up.

Captain Danny Foulkes’ half-time talk reflected on the general rustiness, but encouraged the team to play how they knew they could and the effect was immediate: the first five minutes of the second half was a reminder to all just how well the team can play. Some great work up the length of the pitch won a short corner, and Foulkes injected to the first castle who sent it straight back to him and he tucked it away for the Reds’ second. Two minutes later and Whitchurch had a third, with a clearance from the back going from player to player across the width of the pitch and up the right before being fired into the dee for a simple tap-in by Nick Cooper.

The game then took a bit of a turn as tempers frayed, and the Reds did their best to level the playing numbers by picking up yellow cards, but as things calmed down the team stepped up to ensure that Alderley Edge didn’t score, with Chris Ruscoe putting in a player-of-the-match performance at right back. The full-time whistle went with the score line at three-nil, and Whitchurch could be proud of their efforts. With the other teams just below them in the league also winning this week, they did what they needed to remain top of the league, and are at Winnington Park next week and will look to continue their much-improved away form.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 16 Rhyl ladies 1s 0

Whitchurch ladies 1s entertained Rhyl at home this week with a strong squad of 13.

From the start Whitchurch pushed up the pitch putting lots of pressure on Rhyl who only kept Whitchurch away for a few minutes until Sarah Field started off scoring two from open play within minutes of each other.

Rhyl were taken aback by how quick Whitchurch were playing, defensive players Kezzie Hutchings, Chloe Lloyd and Anna Latham picking up any break. With so much pressure from Whitchurch up front captain Catherine Winter-Gresty scored her first goal of the season from open play. Millie Edwards held the middle pushing the ball wide allowing Izzy Huxley and Ellie Windsor to work together and be awarded a short corner from which Emma Harper scored their 4th.

Just before half time Stephanie Stanton deflected a 5th giving Whitchurch a good lead.

After a good talk Whitchurch played in high spirits, playing fast and passing well around Rhyl taking majority of possession, Jessica Carruthers took on the keeper and scored the first of the second half. The couple of chances that Rhyl had were quickly cleared by keeper Maddy Sugden, but Rhyl couldn’t keep up with Whitchurch as Sarah Field was on fire and took advantage of the fact Rhyl were tiring and scored six goals from open play within the next 10 minutes, with great support from the team who kept sending in the ball.

A few short corners for Whitchurch and Catherine Winter-Gresty slotting the ball into the left corner of the goal from top dee, shortly followed by Hebe Dixon making 14.

Rhyl broke a couple of times but Whitchurch were determined to keep a clean sheet this week and held a strong defence. Carruthers and Dixon both scored another each from open play before the final whistle went.

An amazing final score, 16-0 for Whitchurch and players player was awarded to a well-deserved Sarah Field.

Ladies 1s play away at Timperley next week.

Oxton ladies 4s 0 Whitchurch ladies 2s 2

After the excitement of last week’s win, Whitchurch arrived at Oxton zealous for the game. The game began, with Whitchurch battling the wind as well as the opposition. Despite this, they stayed strong, with Emma Clarke and Catherine Reece-Gresty creating a strong defence. Ellie Pearson and Holly Edwards worked together as inners, making numerous attacks, which before long, Nichola Forster scored off, leaving the result as 1-0 by half time.

Oxton fought back in the second half, but Beth Wright made some incredible saves in goal to keep Whitchurch in the lead. Tracy Tolhurst made her debut for the season, leading some beautiful attacks down the left hand side of the pitch, assisted by Edina Jones. An attack down the right side by Martha Teggin and Holly Gilbert resulted in a short corner, which Phoebe Jones scored. Molly Fry was awarded player of the match.

Clwb Hoci Eirias 3s 2 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3

After the four-week Christmas break, the Men’s 2s first fixture of 2020 saw them presented with a tricky trip to Colwyn Bay to face Eirias 3s. Despite the wet and windy conditions, the two teams played out an entertaining, end-to-end game, with Whitchurch just hanging on to see out a valuable 3-2 win.

The early exchanges were quite even. The Welsh side enjoyed more possession but couldn’t create any clear shooting opportunities. The Whitchurch midfield of Luke Beddow, Joe Coburn and Richard Leigh were making life very uncomfortable for the Welsh midfield and giving them very little time and space to pick their passes. Anything that did go forward was neatly cleaned up by Brendan Coburn and Wyn Morris at the back.

Whitchurch, whilst seeing less of the ball, were perhaps more threatening when they did gain possession. Joe Faithfull and Jacob Buckeridge were providing some dynamism on the flanks and linking well with Joe and Luke as they moved the ball forward, through midfield, towards Euan Morris.

It was a swift Whitchurch counterattack that led to the first goal of the game. Will Snaith collected the ball on the left side of the defence and fired a pass down the line for Will Gilbert. His speed and control enabled him to make good progress towards the Eirias dee and his cross found Luke Beddow, who did well to swivel and get a shot on goal, but Joe Faithfull had drifted into the dee from the right and neatly deflected the shot past the stranded keeper.

Eirias continued to enjoy more of the possession and went close through a succession of short corners but Whitchurch continued to be a threat with their speed on the break. It was from another counterattack that the 2s doubled their lead. Once again, they created danger down the left and the cross across the face of goal was swept goalward, but a Welsh foot prevented the ball crossing the line. A penalty flick was awarded, and Euan Morris stepped forward to take responsibility. Euan dispatched the ball high into the top corner to give Whitchurch a 2-0 lead at half-time.

Eirias came out in the second half with a bit more intensity and aggression leading to them winning more of the 50:50 challenges and picking up most of the loose balls. But still they struggled to create any clear-cut chances. Gareth Teggin was defending well on the right and when he ran out of steam, Alex Leigh filled in to snuff out any danger on that side of the pitch.

As the second half wore on pressure continued to build on the Whitchurch dee and keeper Neil Jones was forced to kick away a couple of goal-bound efforts and then produced an outstanding diving save to a well-struck shot from a short corner.

Despite being under the cosh Whitchurch remained a threat on the counterattack. Ethan Gresty and Airan Jones were carrying the ball well through the centre of the pitch and the midfield continued to link up well with Euan Morris. With 15 minutes to go Whitchurch broke dangerously again and after good work by Airan and Euan, the ball found its way to Luke Beddow in the dee and he calmly slotted the ball past the advancing keeper to give Whitchurch a 3-0 lead.

Maybe at this point a little complacency set in to the Whitchurch play, or maybe Eirias manged to dial up the intensity even further but for the remainder of the game Whitchurch found it difficult to maintain any possession and found themselves pinned in their own dee. Keeper Jones made more good saves; Wyn, Brendan and Doug Buckeridge made some important blocks and clearances, but repeatedly Eirias players managed to find space and eventually the home side pulled a goal back. This was quickly followed by another goal which Jones was powerless to stop.

With Eirias sensing an unlikely draw, but time running out, Whitchurch were defending desperately. Every time the ball was cleared Eirias brought it straight back to the Whitchurch dee. There was genuine relief from the Whitchurch players as Euan Morris brilliantly killed time in the far corner of the pitch and the final whistle was blown.

This certainly wasn’t the 2s best performance of the season, but after a four-week lay-off that was probably no surprise. There was some excellent attacking play, leading to three goals, and the team defended well for much of the game with Eirias finding it difficult to create good shooting chances. But this was a “rusty” performance. The 2s lacked some of the control they demonstrated before the Christmas break and some of the passing was over-ambitious.

Once again, the superior physicality of their opponents has threatened to overwhelm the 2s, as it has on several occasions this season but once again the young players rose to the challenge and manged to see out a tight victory. As the lads get more experienced and physically stronger the team are less likely to be bullied but game management will be something to work on in the meantime.

The Men’s 2s next game is at home to Winnington Park 4s on Saturday 18th January.

Alderley Edge ladies 8s 2 Whitchurch ladies 3s 0

The Whitchurch ladies 3rds played their first match of the year. From the start of the first half the opponents managed to drive the ball down one side of the pitch and switch play quickly to the opposite side of the pitch and back to the top of the dee to the oncoming attackers, whilst the defence of Mel Reid, Hermione Ball and Jan Teggin held off multiple attacks Alderley managed to take the lead.

Whitchurch pushed for an equaliser with a number of strong runs but couldn’t make he most of their opportunities and went into the break one down.

In the second half Alderley managed to score another goal, the half took on much the same story as the first as Whitchurch pushed forward in numbers but failed to take their opportunities. Goalkeeper Louise Cotterell played brilliantly and managed to frustrate the Alderley strikers with a number of fine saves. Whitchurch were disappointed with the end result as they deserved many more goals from the performance as a whole.

Match Reports 04/01/20

Sale ladies 2s 3 Whitchurch Ladies 1s 3

In the first game after the Christmas break, Whitchurch ladies 1s played against a very different Sale side than earlier in the season. The first quarter of the match was played end to end at a dizzy pace. After some good play in the centre from Sarah Field and Catherine Winter-Gresty the ball was worked to Millie Edwards at the top of the dee, who struck the ball to get a deflection from Izzy Huxley. Some huge hits from Sale created some opportunities but the Whitchurch defence cleared everything.

After half time break Sale attacked hard and only a minute into the second half, Sale made a good break and managed to score a scrappy goal. Whitchurch fought back with some good defence from Chloe Lloyd, Kezzie Hutchings, Hebe Dixon and Anna Latham and managed to work the ball back up the pitch reaching Izzy Huxley to score her second goal. Unlucky for Whitchurch, Sale were awarded a penalty flick and scored. Keeper Maddy Sugden continued to make amazing saves with one off her head.

Taking Whitchurch off guard Sale scored again. At 3-2, Whitchurch worked hard again to score. Jessica Carruthers made a run down the wing and then won a short corner for the team. Sarah Field took a straight strike from the top of the dee and scored an explosive goal. At 3-3, Whitchurch continued to work hard but sadly time ran out and couldn’t make it a win. Millie Edwards was awarded players player and the team will be playing Rhyl and District at home next week.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 2 Bowden ladies 6s 1

Whitchurch ladies 2s faced a big match against top of the league. Whitchurch started off strong, keeping possession for the majority of the first half, with the midfield of Molly Fry, Jess Kimberley and Martha Teggin pushing the ball up the pitch. This allowed Whitchurch to make a break through the Bowdon defence and Ellie Pearson to beautifully slip the ball past the Bowdon keeper. Just before the halftime a short corner awarded to Bowdon which saw them level the score.

Going into the second half, the Whitchurch defence led by captain Emma Clarke and supported by Catherine Reece-Gresty fought hard to frustrate the Bowden attack and helped to keep the score level. Pearson and Caitlin Edwards then efficiently took the ball up the pitch, allowing Whitchurch to have some stunning, but unsuccessful shots on goal. A short corner was awarded to Whitchurch and from the shot the ball bounced off the keeper onto the defender stood on the line. As a result Whitchurch were awarded a penalty flick. Jess Kimberley set herself up for the highly anticipated flick, and delivered a scorching goal past the keeper on the right. Whitchurch ladies kept the Bowdon attackers from the goal, which resulted in a well- deserved 2-1 win for the 2s. Player of the match was awarded to Beth Wright.

The ladies 3s game was awarded to them when the opposition failed to raise a team.

The men return to action next week.

Match Reports 07/12/19

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 2 Oxton Men’s 4s 1

Whitchurch travelled away for their last game before Christmas to play the team currently at the bottom of the league, but knew not to take anything for granted. Oxton were far stronger than their league position would suggest and that, combined with a sluggish start from the Reds, made the game quite even for most of the first half. Whitchurch struggled to put together good hockey, with passes occasionally being wide or weak, and composure just a little off, so were on the back foot. Having said that, they were commanding several parts of the field and put the Oxton defence under a decent amount of pressure. Craig Hockenhull and Nick Cooper moved well in the Oxton dee to keep them from settling, and Fred Egerton rolled on and off with them to keep the intensity high. The Oxton keeper made a number of good saves, and their defensive unit worked well to keep out Whitchurch short corners, so the Reds had to work hard for control.

Oxton’s centre-back was the core strength in their team, good at clearances along the ground and via the aerial route, and it gave them a platform to build on. Their forward play was confident and assured and they moved the ball well, giving Danny Foulkes, Chris Ruscoe and James Partington plenty to do in defence. Whitchurch continued to develop the strength at the back that has given them the best defensive record in the league and worked the ball across the rear third of the pitch time and again to find the best routes out. Joel Leese was back on the left for another strong game, with Dale Seymour and Sam Conway across the middle, and Tom Forster settled well into the sweeper role behind them. Ben Kimberley put in a solid performance moving the ball well through the middle and it was from the central area that the first goal came: Hockenhull collected the ball and ran it to the dee before putting it through to Cooper who put his first-time strike past the Oxton keeper.

The second half was more of the same, but as the game progressed Whitchurch found their rhythm. Once again they put together pass after pass after pass to move the ball from their own dee across the pitch twice before being unlucky with the shot at goal. Reminded of how they can play, they went on to drive the ball forward collecting a number of free hits and short corners along the way as they were clever with the ball and drew fouls well. A short corner routine finally paid off, with Seymour’s powerful strike only being partially blocked by the defender before going over their stick and in.
Oxton came back with renewed vigour, and Paul “Sturge” Leigh was again great in goal, making a number of important blocks and running out to deal with oncoming attackers. In the final minute of the game, a simple stick block by Foulkes was adjudged to have touched his foot instead by the far umpire, and the resulting short corner routine was put away well by Oxton to give them a well-deserved goal.

Whitchurch ground out a win on a day when things didn’t quite click, but the team is strong enough to have a middling day and still pull through. Joel Leese was awarded player of the match for another commanding performance on the left, and the team can be satisfied with a decent performance. They stay top of the league over the Christmas break and can look forward for a good second half of the season in the new year, having already played the top teams away from home.

Bowden ladies 4s 3 Whitchurch ladies 1s 2
Whitchurch played away this week against Bowdon 4s. The top two teams came head to head to play an equally battled game. Bowdon took control for the first few minutes until Whitchurch found their feet and turned the game around, with Sarah Field scoring the first goal from a flick over the keeper. 1-0 up, Bowdon came back fighting to score off a short corner no more than 2 minutes later. Then managed to score another just before half time. Bowdon were 2-1 up with Maddy Sugden saving a plethora of goals.

Whitchurch came out strong in the second half with defence Kezzie Hutchings, Anna Latham and Sophie Ward bringing the ball up to Hebe Dixon who scored a cracking reverse stick goal into the bottom corner. Captain Catherine Winter-Gresty and Lisa Sullivan worked very hard in the centre to filter the ball through and winning a run of short corners. Unfortunately, not being able to convert as Bowdon defence were on the ball. Whitchurch held their own then for the majority of the second half, but unlucky for the defence, a Bowdon striker managed to divert the ball into the goal. Whitchurch played their hearts out, but couldn’t equalise before the final whistle. After an amazing game, Maddy Sugden was awarded a well-deserved player of the match. The final score 3-2 win for Bowdon. As said by the Bowdon coach, this game really was one of the best and hardest of our season so far. Ladies 1s break for Christmas now and are back on the 4th January.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3 Oxton Men’s 5s 1
After last weekend’s heavy defeat to the runaway league leaders the 2s welcomed second-placed Oxton 5s to Whitchurch for the final fixture before the Christmas break. Oxton had already inflicted a 5-0 defeat on the young Reds earlier in the season and had won both of last season’s fixtures by big score lines.

The opening exchanges took on a familiar pattern. Oxton’s experience and power threatened to overwhelm the 2s in the first few minutes. They moved the ball well and looked to drive forward but the Whitchurch midfield of Joe Coburn and Richard Leigh were diligently restricting space in the middle of the pitch and the defence of Brendan Coburn, Wyn Morris, Will Snaith and Gareth Teggin mopped up behind the midfield and prevented Oxton getting into any threatening positions.

Whitchurch quickly got themselves into the game and started to play some excellent hockey. The quick one and two-touch hockey that has become the teams trademark this season was soon in evidence. Luke Beddow was linking up well with Richard and Joe in midfield and Joe Faithfull and Jacob Buckeridge were providing excellent passing options in the wide areas. Shooting chances, however, were at a premium for both sides. Defences were solid in the tackle and whilst Oxton were more direct with their attacking play, Whitchurch were patiently probing and recycling possession.
Whitchurch opened the scoring with a superb team goal. Winning the ball in midfield, Richard Leigh fed a neat pass to Joe Coburn who in turn picked out Joe Faithfull’s excellent run from right wing. Joe drove into the dee and squared the ball for Will Gilbert to fire home his first goal in senior hockey. The speed and precision of their play was a joy to behold.

The 2s played out the rest of the first half in the ascendancy. Oxton were always a threat but the Reds defence was quite superb in keeping the ball away from their own dee and Oxton were unable to win any short corners, from which they had punished Whitchurch in the past. The midfield took care of the ball when in possession and every player worked hard to provide a passing option for their teammate.

Whitchurch thoroughly deserved to score the second goal of the half. The ball was fed into the dee from the right and Luke Beddow saw his first shot hacked off the line but followed in to drive the ball into the goal.

Despite being 2-0 up at half-time, Oxton were always going to try and force their way back into the game in the second period and the Whitchurch team-talk focused on being calm and continuing to play the hockey that was serving them so well up to that point.

As expected, Oxton came out hard and fast, but Whitchurch met the challenge head-on. The away side still couldn’t make much progress towards the Whitchurch goal, whilst a change in formation seemed to leave them more susceptible to fast counterattacks by the 2s.
Oxton pulled a goal back 15 minutes into the second half from a penalty flick and for a few moments looked to have seized the initiative. They quickly won a short corner which was brilliantly kicked away by keeper Neil Jones.

But the Whitchurch wobble was brief. They regrouped and Oxton attacks continued to break down before reaching the dee, but as Oxton pushed forward looking for an equaliser they became even more exposed on the counterattack. Will Gilbert went close to another goal. The young Oxton keeper had an exceptional afternoon and made several good saves from Luke Beddow, Alex Leigh and Ethan Gresty. Eventually Whitchurch extended their lead when a good break from Alex Leigh fed Luke Beddow, who slipped the ball under the advancing keeper.

Tempers frayed and Oxton were reduced to 10 men for a succession of green cards. This hampered their efforts to get back into the game, although Whitchurch refused to give them any glimmers of hope and duly saw out the remaining minutes to register a well-deserved 3-1 victory.

This was easily the most impressive result and performance from this young squad of players. Oxton 5s are a very good side and are highly likely to win one of the two promotion spots this season but to a man (and boy) the Whitchurch players worked hard to block up the spaces in the centre of the pitch and prevent Oxton from having any space to play their own hockey. When in possession the 2s were both careful and dynamic with the ball.

Will Gilbert, who turned 14 the previous weekend, had a fantastic game standing in as striker for top-scorer Euan Morris, who missed the game through illness. Luke Beddow continues to impress in midfield and drew deserved plaudits from the Oxton players. His goals have been an asset for the team all season. But it was the old guard who provided the platform for this performance. Richard Leigh and Dave Brunyard prevented Oxton having any space in midfield and ably supported by Brendan Coburn and Wyn Morris at the back, the Wirral side struggled to get into the Whitchurch dee and certainly didn’t fashion any real shooting chances in open play.
A great way to go into the Christmas break!
The Men’s 2s return to action on 11th January 2020 with a trip to North Wales.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 8 Macclesfield ladies 4s 1
Enthusiastically, Whitchurch started the match with their sights set on a win. Quickly; powerfully; fiercely; Whitchurch scored within seconds with Amelie Morris making an amazing sweep on the back post, from a lovely cross from Phoebe Jones. Holly Edwards and Stephanie Stanton worked as inners moving the ball up the pitch with determination. Jones kept battling and with another cross into the Dee, Morris scored again!

Whitchurch defenders Catherine Reese-Gresty and Emma Clarke defended the Whitchurch dee brilliantly and left Megan Nicholson with little to do in goal. The goals kept coming for Whitchurch as Nicola Forster put two more past the Macclesfield goalkeeper. Whitchurch continued to work hard and Chloe Lloyd, Ellie McEvoy and Molly Fry set up numerous fast attacks. As the half time whistle neared Fry managed to score an excellent goal making the score 5-0 at half time.

Reenergised and full of jelly babies, Whitchurch went back onto the pitch looking for more goals. They quickly got back into the game and Fry scored another amazing goal. Lloyd ran the ball up the wing and after a lovely cross into the dee, Stanton scored an impressive goal. However, Macclesfield continued to fight and managed to score a well-deserved goal. Fry carried on setting up numerous attacks and Jones and Holly Gilbert made several strong inter-linking passes. This strong attack resulted in Morris scoring her third goal. Clarke and Reese-Gresty carried on defending amazingly and prevented any further Macclesfield attacks and as the final whistle blew the score was 8-1.

Senior, Junior and Academy hockey in North Shropshire