Whitchurch Mens 1s 5 Deeside Ramblers Mens 6s 1
In the first of two games this weekend, Whitchurch travelled the short distance to Deeside Ramblers looking to get the three points that would give them the league title whatever the result for Liverpool Sefton in second place. The Reds started clinically, and moved the ball around well creating chances early on, but Deeside were well structured in defence and were quick on the break, unlucky not to get on the end of some good clearances.
Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh was called on in goal a couple of times early in the match to keep out Deeside’s well-taken chances, but as the game settled, Whitchurch were able to take control and move the ball around more easily with Peter Scales driving out of defence on the left, and Joel Leese and Alex Fry holding the centre. Ben Kimberley and Jack Barnes were high and wide on the wings and were able to cause the Deeside defence plenty of problems before Fry got a pass away to Martin Beecher up front who flicked it into the net for the first.
Beecher got his second a few minutes later via a pass from Barnes who scored himself shortly afterwards, having walked back from a chat with the umpire directly into the path of cross to the top of the dee which he calmly slotted away.
Steve Lloyd, playing right half to provide cover, unfortunately turned his ankle so Whitchurch were reduced to 10 men for a large part of the rest of the game. Ryan Murtagh and James Partington worked with Scales to cover the back line, and Tom Leonard put in a shift helping the defence whilst making his usual strong drives up field. From one of these, Leese was able to pick up the Reds’ 4th goal with a drive through the Deeside defence followed by a spin and strike. Shortly after, Beecher got his hat-trick from a short corner with the shot from Leonard rebounding and Beecher being on the spot to slot it away.
Deeside were able to pick up a consolation goal after a breakaway run and strike being stopped well initially by Leigh, but their striker was first on the scene and made a very composed flick over Leigh’s outstretched body to claim a well-deserved goal and the game ended 5-1. With Liverpool Sefton losing their game 2-1, Whitchurch are 4 points clear with their final catch-up game to play, giving them their second league title in two years.
19/03/17 Whitchurch Mens 1s 6 – Oxton Mens 6s (re-arranged game)
Whitchurch travelled away to Oxton to play their missed game from January knowing that they had the league title won after their win at Deeside the previous day, so had a game where the pressure was off and they could concentrate on their hockey rather than the result. For the first ten minutes of the first half, this went very smoothly – with Aaron Swain playing on the left wing, rather than in goal, pulling off an extraordinary first-time shot from the edge of the dee to bury it in the Oxton goal for the Reds’ first.
Tom Leonard then had a good one-two run with Jack Barnes which ended with Leonard putting the ball past the Oxton keeper, and Ben Kimberley went one-on-one with the keeper before flicking it past him. The game then settled down and was very even for the rest of the first half, but Oxton were able to claw one back with shot rebounding off keeper Paul Leigh and their forward pulled off an excellent reverse-stick flick into the top corner of the net. Aaron Shackleton, Tom Forster and Ben Fry rotated well on the left and right half, and Ryan Murtagh and James Partington fought hard to keep the Oxton attacks at bay.
The first part of the second half was similar in tempo, with both sides having chances but not quite getting the quality of finish, nor the crispness of pass that would have decided the game. The second game of the weekend meant that there were tired legs and arms, and this meant the stalemate continued for most of the half until Jake Wood sent a beautifully weighted pass up the pitch to Jack Barnes who drilled it into the net. Joel Leese then scored from a penalty corner, finally perfecting the in-out routine, but the best was saved for last as Kimberly drove into the left side of the Oxton dee and released a reverse-hit blinder into the Oxton net to take the win 6-1 and finish the season in style.
Whitchurch ladies 2s 4 Macclesfield 4s 1
Whitchurch ladies 2s welcomed Macclesfield 4’s for the final match of the season knowing a win would see them promoted as league champions. Whitchurch were the stronger of the two teams as they applied pressure straight from the start and within minutes of the match Hayleigh Busby picked out Amy Fry in the dee who shot wide of the opposition goal.
Whitchurch continued to pressure but it was not until late in the half that they finally took the lead when a short corner strike from Becky Brookfield bounced back to Jess Kimberley to sweep home.
In the second half Whitchurch which quickly scored another goal as Martha Teggin and Beth Sykes linked down the right and picked out Amy Fry in the dee who neatly steered the ball past the keeper.
Whitchurch seemed to relax and were punished as a defensive error saw Macclesfield pull back a goal. Whitchurch were shaken as Macclesfield pushed for an equaliser but the defence led by captain Emma Clarke stood strong. Whitchurch finally gained some breathing room when Vicki Price and Katie Goodwin worked space for Fry to score her second of the game.
In the final minutes of the game Whitchurch were awarded a short corner and Hebe Dixon swept home to bring the score up to 4-1. Martha Teggin was awarded player of the match.
The ladies Whitchurch ladies 2s would like to thank all the players, umpires and supporters that made their league-winning season in Cheshire ladies league Division 6 possible.
Chester University Mens 1s 9 Whitchurch Mens 2s 2
For their final game of the season, Whitchurch 2s travelled to Chester University with a team short of numbers and experience. With Chester Uni having comfortably secured second place in the league and this was always going to be a difficult game, but with only 10 players and most of the experienced senior players missing, Whitchurch were already looking at damage limitation before the start of the game.
Chester Uni immediately took control of the game and pressed Whitchurch back towards their own goal. Danny Foulkes, Matt Brookes and Doug Buckeridge in defence were forced into last ditch tackles as early as the first minute, but it wasn’t long before an incisive passing move was turned home at the far post to give Chester Uni the lead.
Almost immediately Chester were awarded a rather generous penalty flick, which keeper Neil Jones did well to stop, low to his right. But the students continued to pour forward looking for more goals. Crosses flashed across the Whitchurch dee, shots were fired wide, the defenders cleared the danger with tackles, and blocks and keeper Jones made a number of saves.
Despite the pressure, Whitchurch tried to play attacking hockey of their own. Sam Conway was a driving force through the middle of the pitch and Fred Egerton and Lockie Price again defied their inexperience to provide support at both ends of the pitch. But Whitchurch struggled to make any real inroads into the Chester dee and when attacking moves broke down, Chester were particularly dangerous on the counter-attack.
As Chester exploited their numerical superiority they were able to add a further three first half goals to go into the break with a 4-0 lead.
The second half was a much more open game as the teams seemed to take turns to attack each other. In the early stages of the half the Whitchurch attacks continued to flounder on the edge of the Chester dee. However their opponents were continuing to create good chances and again the defence and keeper were working hard to keep the score line respectable.
The movement and passing speed of the Chester players and that extra man advantage was too much for Whitchurch and Chester raced into a 9-0 lead.
But late in the second half one of the Chester players was forced to leave the game with an injury. With 10 versus 10 Whitchurch started to make progress into the Chester dee. Airon Jones was unlucky to hit the post and three Whitchurch players managed to miss the ball at the back post following a great run and cross from Fred Egerton. Good interplay between Lockie Price and Aaron Swain led to another shot at goal and then a driving run and cross from Sam Conway was turned home by Fred Egerton for his first senior goal.
Another swift break down the left by Whitchurch resulted in Aaron Swain winning a short corner, from which Danny Foulkes cleverly returned the ball to Tom Forster to sweep home a second Whitchurch goal.
Whitchurch continued to play good long passes to their front players and Aaron Swain did really well to take the ball round the Chester keeper, who recovered and produced a brilliant diving save to stop Aaron’s attempt to find the goal.
With neither side able to add to their tally, Chester Uni ran out 9-2 winners.
This was a tough game for Whitchurch. Chester Uni are an excellent side and their passing and movement, particularly in the first half, was a joy to behold and difficult for Whitchurch to deal with. BUT every Whitchurch player applied themselves to their tasks. Lockie and Fred again produced impressive displays at both ends of the pitch, Tom Forster and Sam Conway worked tirelessly in midfield and Aaron Swain and Airon Jones were able runners up front. Despite conceding nine goals the defence and goalkeeper all had good games.
In terms of results, this season has been a little disappointing for the 2s. But overall the team has played some good hockey and aside from the top two teams in the division they have been competitive in all of their other matches. A number of younger players have come into the side and have made impressive contributions, but the biggest challenge facing the 2s is how to get their senior players on the pitch on a more regular basis. Overall, everybody who has played for the 2s should be pleased with their contributions this season, and look forward to the new season in September with some optimism.
Whitchurch ladies 1s 6 Timperley ladies 4s 1
Whitchurch started the game at a high pace and raced into a three-goal lead with goals from Grace Berry and two outstanding shots from Emma Harper and Lucy Ratcliffe. Timperley seemed shell shocked and it took a while for them to re-group and come back at the Whitchurch side.
Whitchurch sensed the chance to take the three points early on in the match and goals from Sue Read and Ellie Windsor gave Whitchurch a comfortable lead at the half time break.
The second half saw Timperley much better organised and for long periods the two teams cancelled out one another. Timperley managed to score against the run of play much to the frustration of the defence and supporters but Grace Berry scoring her second meant another three points and another successful season for the ladies 1s finishing in the top four after last years promotion.