Match reports 23/11/19 & Rearranged games 24/11/19

Crewe Ladies 4s 0 Whitchurch ladies 2s 10

Whitchurch came onto the pitch full of life, despite the early nature of their game. Within the first few minutes they scored their first goal; a beautiful slap from Ellie Pearson. They kept this up, scoring numerous times, including twice off short corners. Amelie Morris achieved two goals, both lovely deflections off the post. Nicki Forster scored twice, Ellie Pearson once again, and Phoebe Jones also got one goal by the time the halftime whistle blew.

The second half Whitchurch came back out with the same determination, however as did Crewe, breaking through and testing Whitchurch’s defence. But they fought back, with Catherine Reece-Gresty and Emma Clarke both creating an unbreakable defence. The few shots that Crewe managed, Beth Wright kept out, making some terrific saves. The halves: Molly Fry, Chloe Lloyd, Martha Teggin and Edina Jones worked incredibly together, playing the ball around Crewe’s players, and creating countless chances for the forwards. Caitlin Edwards and Holly Edwards also assisted in further goals for Forster, Pearson and Morris who all completed their hatricks, with Whitchurch achieving a 10-0 win as the game drew to a close. This puts Whitchurch in a good position for next week’s game, which will be a tough match against Neston.

Ellie Pearson achieved player of the match.

Whitchurch Men’s 1’s 6 Northop Hall Men’s 2’s 1

Whitchurch returned to winning ways in style this week against a Northop Hall team that gave them a good run for their money and whose performance wasn’t reflected by the score line. The first half was a pretty even affair, with Northop applying pressure from the start mainly down their left wing. Chris Ruscoe, playing at right back, was able to cut out a lot of this pressure, and switched the ball well through to Danny Foulkes in the centre and James Partington on the left, and together they were able to build much better attacks than last week and were supported by Sam Conway who added speed and skill to create attacks on the break. The Northop forwards held back from Whitchurch sixteens which gave the Reds time to build play with a much stronger passing game than in recent matches. Passes were mostly spot-on, with far fewer loose balls or hopeful smashes; there was much better movement of the ball between players rather than people trying to drive through a crowd; the forwards spread out wide and the shots into the dee were crisp and accurate.

Tom Forster had a strong game in the centre, with Dale Seymour and Rob Chappell providing skill and experience to control the middle of the pitch, and Alex Fry rotated in well to keep the intensity and control levels high. Jack Barnes was impressive down the right with composure and energy to get through players time and again, and was belting balls into the dee and forcing saves from the keeper. Jon Chappell, Nick Cooper, Fred Egerton, Craig Hockenhull and Ben Kimberley up front gave the Northop defence constant headaches, and were able to get the ball back quickly from sixteens with ease to ensure the pressure never dropped.

Whitchurch were able to go ahead first as Barnes added the first of his four with a perfect drag flick from a short corner which beat everyone. He followed it up with a second that wasn’t quite so well-executed, but was good enough to go two-up. Northop were able to build pressure in return and got a number of short corners, but the Reds were able to block and clear them with Forster excellent at running out to block out the shots. Paul “Sturge” Leigh had another strong game in goal, closing down attackers and ensuring no goalmouth scrambles got past, giving the Reds confidence all the way from the back.

Northop Hall did finally get the breakthrough, with a quickly-taken hit from outside the dee getting crossed to a player who was able to hit it past Sturge, and at half-time the score at 2-1 gave the Reds plenty to work with. The half-time talk was a positive one and reinforced the need to move the ball rather than running through people, and to continue to do well the things that were working well, and it was the catalyst for an even better second half.

Jon Chappell scored an excellent team goal: a free hit about five metres outside the Northop 23 metre line was hit four times in as many seconds as it moved in a straight line from player to player to player to player and into the goal. A strong drive into the dee by Ruscoe ended as a stick block prevented his shot, and a penalty stroke was awarded: Barnes put his pre-game practice to good use and put the ball away confidently. Another Whitchurch short corner routine was slightly off, but was recovered well and Barnes buried it into the goal. Finally, a short corner was cleared out to the right by Northop, but was sent back in to a group of three Reds near the penalty spot, and Cooper stepped up to put it into the left side of the net.

The second half was another of Whitchurch’s better periods of play, as they moved the ball well, kept possession, avoided the risky passes and dominated play. When Northop did break, they were dangerous, and the score line doesn’t reflect the skill and effort they put in, but ultimately Whitchurch controlled the second half and the game, and can take confidence for the catch-up game on Sunday against Sale, where a win would send them back to the top of the league.

Bebington Men’s 4s 3 Whitchurch Men’s 2s 4

Off the back of two big wins, Whitchurch Men’s 2s travelled to the Wirral to face a Bebington side who’d also won handsomely in their last league fixture.

It was the home team that started the better, moving the ball quickly through midfield to their attacking players high up the pitch. Repeatedly in the opening exchanges, the Whitchurch defenders found themselves four on four with their opponents as the midfield was by-passed by Bebington’s direct play. Brendan Coburn, Doug Buckeridge, Alex Leigh and Will Snaith dealt with most of the danger, but the Reds had to survive a couple of short corners and the ball flashed across the Whitchurch dee on several occasions.

Gradually Whitchurch became more threatening at the other end of the pitch. The good passing and movement from recent weeks started to click and chances were created in front of the Bebington goal. Jake Buckeridge and Will Gilbert were getting into good positions on the Whitchurch left and linking up well with Luke Beddow, Richard Leigh and Ethan Gresty in midfield. The home keeper made some good stops and Bebington found themselves penned in by a succession of short corners, but Whitchurch couldn’t find a breakthrough.

And then, midway through the first half, the game was turned on its head by three quick Whitchurch goals. Joe Coburn’s pass found Fred Delf-Rowlandson’s excellent run from the wing and he squared the ball for Airan Jones to beat the defender at the near post and steer home the opening goal. This was quickly followed by Euan Morris’s first of the afternoon as he turned and shot after Joe Coburn’s pass into the dee. With Bebington reeling, Euan added another with a mazy run into the dee and a fine finish across the keeper on the reverse stick.

The home side regained their composure and came back at Whitchurch. The Reds did well to keep Bebington way from their dee, but in the last few minutes Whitchurch’s persistent encroaching at free hits led to a short corner for the home side. The resulting strike from the edge of the dee took a deflection and keeper Neil Jones was powerless to stop it thumping into the backboard.

Whitchurch’s 3-1 half-time lead was harsh on Bebington and flattering to the Reds. The team talk at the interval was all about controlling the game and seeing out the win. But Bebington had other ideas. The home side brought a physicality and intensity to the second half that the young 2s hadn’t seen so far this season.

The older, more powerful Bebington players were driving through tackles, forcing Whitchurch off the ball when in possession and beating the 2s to every loose ball. Whitchurch started to panic and were unable to keep possession of the ball and Bebington attacks were coming in waves with Whitchurch desperately defending the edge of their own dee. Neil Jones made several good stops and the defenders did well to clear their lines.

Inevitably, however, Bebington scored to further reduce the deficit. Neil Jones was helpless as a free man stole in behind the Whitchurch defence and cleverly deflected the ball past the keeper. But the goal seemed to have a galvanising effect on the Whitchurch players. Bebington still bossed the territory and possession but Whitchurch started to find their passing range and became a threat on the counterattack.

Things looked to have taken a turn against Whitchurch when Will Gilbert was green carded for encroaching at a free hit but despite being a player down for 2 minutes it was Whitchurch that scored the next goal. Ethan Gresty won the ball in midfield and with Bebington caught upfield Euan Morris was sent sprinting into the dee. Euan did well to keep the ball in play and as the Bebington defenders stopped when the ball hit a defender’s foot, Euan played on and squared the ball to Luke Beddow to calmly fire past the Bebington keeper.

Bebington continued to drive forward looking to get back into the game and Whitchurch continued to look dangerous on the counterattack. A further green card for Whitchurch gave the home side another numerical advantage and this time they profited by scoring from a short corner.

Whitchurch hung on gamely in the closing stages of the game. The side showed some real maturity by slowing the game down at restarts and Joe Faithfull brilliantly held the ball in one of the attacking corners for what seemed an eternity as precious seconds ebbed away.

There was palpable relief from the Whitchurch players as the final whistle blew. This was a hard fought and hard-won victory. Bebington played well and their power in the second half threatened to blow the young Whitchurch players away but they dug deep and ground out the win. In the first half the 2s played some excellent hockey, particularly in the five minutes where they scored three goals. In the second half, after their shaky ten minutes, their counterattacking was always dangerous, but it was their battling qualities that really shone in that second period.

Everybody played well today, and this is another major step in the development of the team. Bebington could argue that they deserved more from the game, but Whitchurch should be very proud of this performance and result.

Next week the Men’s 2s travel to North Wales to face unbeaten Bangor University. This will be a tough game for Whitchurch but if they can reproduce some of the grit and good hockey from this match, they might be able to surprise the Welsh side.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 4 Oxton ladies 2s 0

This week, Whitchurch ladies 1s played at home against Oxton 2s. After the first 15 minutes of hard work and scrappy play from both sides, Whitchurch won a short. Sarah Field managed to get around the first runners and scored, letting Whitchurch lead with high spirits.

Their second goal came from Field again who received the ball in the dee after good play from Catherine Winter-Gresty, Jess Carruthers and Hebe Dixon in and around the centre of the pitch. The ladies continued to work hard and shut down any counter attacks from the opposition. Oxton did however, break through from a couple of silly mistakes, leaving Maddy Sugden, Kezzie Hutchings and Anna Latham to make some amazing saves at the back.

After working the ball down the pitch well, Whitchurch were awarded another short where Emma Harper carried out a drag flick and scored. More good play lead to Ellie Windsor working along the baseline and managing to get the ball to Izzy Huxley who slotted the ball bottom corner. Even though Whitchurch were ahead, Oxton continued to push hard and broke through. Sophie Ward and Millie Edwards worked hard to make some goal line saves, before Lisa Sullivan cleared it.

Next week, the team will play away against Neston 3s.

Whitchurch Ladies 3s 3 Alderley Edge 7s 4

The ladies 3s entertained Alderley Edge 7s at home on a dark damp Saturday afternoon. Whitchurch started the quicker of the two teams and took the ball to Alderley Edge with a lot of the possession down the right with Jasmin Williams and Megan Brunyard creating a number of chances that enabled Jess Kimberley to rattle the back boards very early on.

Whitchurch kept the pressure on that forced the best out of Edges’ keeper.  Alderley Edge battled their way down the pitch but were met by the wall of defence of Mel Reid, Hermione Ball, Jan Teggin and keeper Louise Cottrell who kept them from scoring. Alderley Edge eventually found their way through to the back boards. Making it one all. Whitchurch fought back with wonderful cross over work from Sam Parkhurst, Emma Stubbs, Holly Gilbert and Wendy Cooper. Jess Kimberley shot rebounded for Louise Whitley to make it 2 -1 at half time

After a pep talk from Captain Wendy Cooper the second half commenced. Some assertive runs up the left by Emily Lister, Libby Fox and Holly Gilbert but Alderley Edge defended well. Whitchurch continued to apply pressure but Alderley Edge came back and scored a second and shortly thereafter a third.  Whitchurch were soon back on equal terms as Kimberley found the back boards for her second

Whitchurch kept a strong defence but just couldn’t keep Alderley Edge from making their fourth goal. Jessica Kimberley was named as player’s player.

Sunday 24/11/19

Whitchurch ladies 1s 10 Wilmslow ladies 3s 2

2 games 2 wins!

Whitchurch ladies 1s entertained Wilmslow 3s at home this Sunday for a rearranged match.

Whitchurch were the stronger team from the start pushing up into Wilmslow dee immediately. Some great play from mid players Lisa Sullivan, Hebe Dixon and captain Catherine Winter-Gresty held the ball up in their half, goals started rolling once Winter-Gresty powered the ball into Sarah Field to deflect past the keeper.

The first half saw two more come from Sarah Field following lovely controlled passes from Ellie Windsor and Jessica Carruthers. A short corner allowed Hebe Dixon to get on the score sheet, quickly followed by Carruthers from open play, finding space in an open goal.

5-0 at half time and for Whitchurch a well-earned break.

Whitchurch keeper Beth Wright made some amazing saves but as Wilmslow attacked hard from the restart were caught Whitchurch off guard and they managed to scored two goals within the first 10 minutes.

Whitchurch settled back into playing their game, using the width from Izzy Huxley and Molly Fry to put lots more pressure on the Wilmslow defence. A run of short corners and Carruthers scored her second quickly followed by Field.

Persistent pressure got Wilmslow in a fluster allowing Lisa Sullivan to dribble the ball into the dee from a long corner scoring the 8th for Whitchurch.

The game slowed as both sides were getting tired, but Whitchurch had time to reach 10 goals with further goals from Hebe Dixon and Sarah Field receiving balls coming from Ellie Windsor and Winter-Gresty.

Ladies 1s are away next week at Neston.

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4 Sale Men’s 2’s 1

Whitchurch had their second game of the weekend against a 10-man Sale team who struggled to get numbers for an away game on a Sunday, but were absolutely a force to be reckoned with. From the off, Sale did very well with hard-hit long balls down their left wing, as well as more structured play down the right and the Whitchurch defence had their work cut out. Regulars Pip Jones and James Partington were joined by Tom Knapp in the centre as Danny Foulkes spent more time managing from the side in the first half, and – supported by Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal – were able to absorb the pressure well. Tom Forster had another good game in the middle, flanked by Joel Leese on the left and Chris Ruscoe, moving up to right half. Alex Fry worked as sweeper between the defence and midfield, to give structure and security at the back and between them Whitchurch were able to switch the ball easily left and right from sixteens.

The midfield again were able to build attacks, but were also more confident in playing the ball back to recycle it for another attack, and it gave Whitchurch a lot of time on the ball which they used well. Dale Seymour again provided incisive passes and good movement on and off the ball, and Fred Egerton and Jon Chappell moved into space well in the Sale twenty-three, having a number of opportunities to drive into the dee. The first goal, however, was from a bullet-pass from Jack Barnes into the dee that Ruscoe ran onto and got a lovely reverse stick deflection on as it flew past. The second was from a short corner routine where the keeper made an excellent save to stop the drag flick, but Jones was on hand at the back post to tap in the rebound.

Despite being a man down, Sale came out of the blocks in the second half incredibly well. They immediately put pressure on the Whitchurch defence, throwing two players forward and driving hard up the pitch. They got a number of short corners and the Reds did well to keep the ball out, with Foulkes back on the pitch providing critical stability, but eventually the effort paid off as the Sale striker was able to flick the ball over a diving Sturge. It was well worked, and absolutely deserved, and Sale put in a real shift to cover being a man down. At some points it was overly enthusiastic, and they lost a player to the sin bin, at which point they were really under pressure but they rallied well and didn’t let any goals in while they were down to nine men. Not to be outdone, Whitchurch collected two green cards to put themselves in trouble, but the defence held strong and the midfield drove the ball back up the right and the ball was crossed into the dee where Forster had an age on the ball completely unmarked and confidently put it past the Sale keeper.

The final goal in the dying minutes of the game was a pass to Seymour who released it to Chappell who remained composed in the dee and buried the ball to make it four. Whitchurch played well for their second game of the weekend and rounded off a very successful couple of days for the entire club. They returned to the top of the league, but know they will face a very tough test in the return fixture. They are home again next weekend against the University of Chester 1s.

Whitchurch Ladies 3s 2 Triton Ladies 3s 0

Whitchurch Ladies 3rds began the match with determination, coming back from their unfortunate loss the day before. Kate Buckeridge and Wendy Cooper worked together in the middle of the pitch creating opportunities for the attackers. Triton fought back however, and made some promising attacks, but they were fended off by the solid defence, made up of Jan Teggin and Emma Stubbs, with Louis Cottrell, the goalkeeper, making some incredible saves to keep the score down. Annie Buckeridge worked the ball up the pitch with Caitlin Edwards, winning Whitchurch a short corner. Amy Fry received the ball at the top of the Dee, which she crossed in, with Nina Hodges making a beautiful deflection in, leaving the score at 1-0 when the half time whistle blew.

Both teams continued to persevere through the second half, with Samantha Parkhurst and Emily Lister working together in the middle of the pitch to create more chances for the up front players. Countless runs were made up the side of the pitch by Louise Whitley, but despite this, Triton managed to make some counter attacks. Mel Reid and Libby Fox worked with the other defenders, to allow Whitchurch to keep a clean slate. Whitchurch’s resilience showed, with Amy Fry managing to set up another goal for Nina Hodges to score before the game drew to a close, leaving the final score at 2-0 to Whitchurch. Players player was Annie Buckeridge.