Match Reports 03/11/18

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4  Oxton Men’s 4s 0

Whitchurch were at home this week against a youthful team from Oxton, hoping to build on the good work from last week at Keele. Oxton immediately applied pressure, which Whitchurch were able to soak up reasonably well, with Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal called on far less than against Keele. The defence of Danny Foulkes, Steve Key, James Partington, Rob Chappell and Airan Jones in rotation were able to mark their players well, channel them out wide and clear any incursions into the dee. In the centre, Alex Fry, Jack Barnes and Ben Kimberley again put in strong games to control the middle of the field and distribute the ball well to the wings, but Oxton made it difficult this week and a number of passes from Whitchurch players were intercepted or went directly to the opposition, which meant a lot of running back to recover and gave Oxton more opportunities than they should have had.

The deadlock was broken with Fry launching an aerial up the field which got to Tom Forster who put away an excellent reverse-stick strike to put the Reds one up. Whitchurch then started to find more space behind the Oxton midfield, and Nick Cooper, Jon Chappell, Martin Beecher and Forster combined well to stretch out the Oxton defence. Again, attacks were snubbed due to passes not making their targets, or people driving into difficulty, but the game was well-balanced. The forwards were unlucky not to get goals from good passes into the dee, lacking just a final touch on a number of occasions. Penalty corners started to come into play as the game stretched to each dee more often, and Sturge was called on to make critical saves, but it was a penalty corner to Whitchurch that made the difference: the Reds put a training pitch routine into practice with Barnes pulling off a perfect drag flick just inches inside the left post to put the Reds two up. Another penalty corner followed shortly after, but was ruled out for height on the first strike, and Whitchurch went into half time with a deserved lead.

The half-time talk was about trying to cut out the frustrating mistakes so that the focus could be on repeating the good skills from the first half. Whitchurch set to their tasks better in the second half, but as Oxton pressed more to try to get back into the game, some of the tackles from both sides got more enthusiastic and broke up play. Whitchurch settled quicker, and put together one of the better goals from their season, starting with a clearance from a sixteen, five passes down the right wing and a sharp strike from Jon Chappell to put the third on the score sheet. It represented the best of everything that Whitchurch is striving for this season, with success coming from players running for each other and playing as a team. It was another good team effort that gave Chappell his second towards the end of the game, and it was then a case of holding on for the victory. Oxton played well, and were very strong in the middle of the pitch, but were unlucky not to get a goal themselves.

The final whistle was welcome as Whitchurch knew they hadn’t played their absolute best, but had still come away with a good win. They are away next week at Northop Hall who are currently just below them in the league table.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 0 Macclesfield ladies 3s 3

Whitchurch started off strong, taking control of the game from the start. Midfield’s Megan Brunyard, Becky Brookfield and Molly Fry worked together to get the ball up to Phoebe Jones, Sue Read and Izzy Huxley. Whitchurch held off Macclesfield but unfortunately couldn’t score. Macclesfield began to fight back, hammering the Whitchurch defence, Martha Teggin and Jess Kimberley, Leanne Read and Wendy Cooper came back to support. Goalkeeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees kept the balls out of the net. Milly Carruthers and Caitlin Edwards subbed on to give fresh enthusiasm and energy to the Whitchurch Ladies. Macclesfield remained persistent, and after some quick passing, they scored a well deserved goal. The end of the first half continued to test the defensive skills of the Whitchurch Ladies, with Macclesfield being awarded several short corners. Whitchurch worked together to keep the ball out of the goal as Macclesfield continued to press, winning the ball back from Whitchurch hit outs many times. As the Whitchurch defence worked hard, the ball was returned to their attack and several more goal attempts were made, with a very close shot just missing the back post. Half time brought a welcome breather for the ladies, and a tactful half time chat and some sweets boosted the Whitchurch Ladies’ spirits and they started the second half with determination,

Getting the ball back from a Macclesfield push back, and pressing hard for a goal. Whitchurch held possession but were unable to score. Macclesfield fought back hard and with some speedy players and quick passing, they made several more attempts on goal, which were saved. Whitchurch Ladies came back to defend, but unfortunately their efforts weren’t enough and Macclesfield made the score 2-0. Whitchurch heads didn’t drop and some excellent passing and teamwork provided the ladies with more opportunities, which were unlucky to not be converted. After a change of positions on the Whitchurch team, new plays were made and Whitchurch showed more life and determination. Macclesfield wouldn’t stop pushing, and after a very good game by both teams, with some lovely hockey, Macclesfield got a lucky goal just seconds before the final whistle, making the score 3-0. Whitchurch Ladies played well, showing some good strength, including defensive short corners in which they did not concede any goals. Gwyn Thomas-Rees was named player of the match.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 5 Chester ladies 3s 0

Whitchurch ladies 1s played Chester 3s at home this week and from the start they took control of the game holding the ball in Chester’s 25. Lisa Sullivan, Helen Mellor and Catherine Winter-Gresty passed the ball around putting plenty of pressure on Chester defence.

All the pressure payed off early for Whitchurch as Hebe Dixon scored first with a shot from top of the dee. Chester broke a few times, using the width, but balls were quickly picked up by Gayle Ladd and Millie Edwards and soon after Ellie Windsor found space and slotted through the keeper’s legs.

Whitchurch had plenty of short corners before half time, but couldn’t make any count.

After a quick break Whitchurch ladies came out strong playing the ball around Chester giving Stephanie Stanton chances on goal, Whitchurch forwards were all in the dee when Hebe Dixon scored her 2nd with a reverse shot into the near corner.

Chester were tiring and trying the same play but Whitchurch got wise to it, Chloe Lloyd and Lisa Sullivan passing back up the pitch they played their own game and with a cross pass from captain Catherine Winter-Gresty, Katie Leicester managed to get a touch on the ball and scored. With 5 minutes to go Whitchurch managed one more goal which gave Hebe Dixon a hat trick, from a short corner Lisa Sullivan and Dixon passed around Chester defence and Dixon slipped it into the far post. Whitchurch were very happy with their 5-0 win. Players player went to Hebe Dixon.

Neston Men’s 8s 7   Whitchurch Men’s 2s 1

Whitchurch took a young team to the Wirral hoping for a competitive match against a team only a couple of places above them in the league. Whitchurch were left stunned in the early stages by the by the ability of the central players in the Neston team whose combination of skill and speed left the Whitchurch midfield and defence floundering and struggling to come to terms with something they hadn’t encountered in the games so far this season.

Neston raced into a two-goal lead within minutes of the start winning and converting to well worked penalty corners. Whitchurch had to regroup when Richard Leigh had to leave the pitch after being on the receiving end of a fierce clearance by his own team. Whitchurch started to make more progress towards the Neston goal, with Craig Hockenhull as usual the driving force through midfield, ably assisted by David Brunyard.

As the attacks broke down on the edge of the Neston dee, the home side were able to spring forward in numbers, leaving the Whitchurch midfield behind, and cause all sorts of problems for the Reds defence. Wyn Morris made several excellent clearances, Doug Buckeridge scooped a couple of goal-bound efforts away, and keeper Gareth Teggin made several excellent stops and clearances. 13-year olds Sam Appleby (playing his first senior game) and Jacob Buckeridge worked hard to stifle the Neston attacks, but ultimately Whitchurch were undone by a combination of skill, pace, power and numbers, and the home side went into the halftime break with a 5-0 lead.

The 2s regrouped at halftime and an excellent team talk focused on gaining some pride from the second half, the importance of tracking back and making Neston work much harder for any further goals.

The team responded brilliantly in the second period. The midfield made a much more determined effort to get back at the Neston players when the Whitchurch moves broke down but were also a threat going forward. Ethan Gresty and Joe Faithfull enjoyed some really good spells on the left and right respectively and started to link up with Euan Morris in much more dangerous positions.

The home side were still a threat on the counterattack, but, with Richard Leigh back on the field, Whitchurch did well to restrict the number and quality of chances Neston created. Again, keeper Gareth Teggin came to rescue whenever the ball got past the Reds defenders and threatened the goal.

Neston did extend their lead to 7-0, but Whitchurch were undeterred and struck back through Euan Morris after great work by David Brunyard. Euan and Fred Egerton both went close to scoring in the dying moments of the game.

This was a tough experience for Whitchurch 2s. With the 12-man squad made up of seven players at 15-years old or younger it was a big learning curve but showed that the future of the club is looking positive. Despite the score line the team learnt important lessons kept working to the end and continued to improve as the game progressed

Keeper Gareth Teggin had an excellent game and for long periods kept Whitchurch going with a number of fine saves; Joe Faithfull had an excellent game, particularly in the second half, with his strong, determined running and his willingness to look to move the ball quickly; Ethan Gresty had another strong game; and Sam Appleby made a really solid senior debut despite being dropped in at the deep end, in defence, against strong, physical opposition.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s next game is at home to Oxton 5s on Saturday 10th November at SJT.