Macclesfield Ladies 4s 3 Whitchurch Ladies 2s 3
Whitchurch went on to the pitch looking for goals this week. Despite several usual players missing Whitchurch were ready and enthusiastic. Quickly, Whitchurch pushed forward with inners Hayleigh Busby and Ellie Pearson driving the ball up the pitch with determination to find Jess Kimberly at centre forward. However, Macclesfield were also working hard and made a break up the pitch and scored the first goal of the match. Whitchurch fought back and continued to make strong attacks. Martha Teggin and Edina Jones pushed the ball up the pitch and set up numerous opportunities for Whitchurch attacks and Caitlin Edwards fought hard and made numerous passes into the dee. Jasmin Williams, who was making her ladies 2s debut, played brilliantly in centre half and a string of interlinking passes between Williams and Busby allowed Whitchurch to advance into the Macclesfield dee and gain a short corner. Busby injected to Kimberly who returned it to Busby who effortlessly slotted the ball past the keeper. Whitchurch maintained possession of the ball but Macclesfield managed to get another goal before the end of the first half leaving the score 2-1 at half time.
Whitchurch were ready to go after Captain Emma’s team talk and immediately made their way up the pitch. Phoebe Jones, who had stepped in as goal keeper at last minute, stopped several Macclesfield shots on goal but the home team were able to get another goal making the score 3-1. Holly Gilbert ran the ball down the wing passing into Kimberly, but Macclesfield had a strong keeper and still Whitchurch couldn’t get another goal. Catherine Reece-Gresty battled hard and her and Emma Clarke ensured no more Macclesfield attacks came into the Whitchurch dee. A strong hit from Reece-Gresty to Kimberly allowed Kimberly to drive round the Macclesfield defenders and score a well-deserved goal. A string of lovely passes between Williams, Jones and Tolhurst allowed Tolhurst to charge into the dee and with an impressive strike secured Whitchurch a draw with two minutes to spare.
Player of the match was awarded to Holly Gilbert. Next week the ladies 2s are Brooklands at home.
Whitchurch ladies 1s 1 Bowden ladies 4s 3
Whitchurch ladies 1s played top team Bowden this Saturday at home and they were worked hard from the whistle. Bowden attacked through the middle of the pitch pulling Whitchurch in. Midfield players Millie Edwards, Hebe Dixon and captain Catherine Winter-Gresty played well together getting the ball out and up to forwards Ellie Windsor and Izzy Huxley.
Sarah Field managed to get a touch on an incoming ball to open the scoring. Bowden needed this win to stay top and secure promotion and they certainly played for it.
It was a tiring game as the ball was passed from one end to the other and three subs were very welcome. Defence Emma Harper and Chloe Lloyd had their work cut out as Bowden played around and scored to equalise. Just before half time Bowden scored again despite amazing efforts from keeper Maddy Sugden.
After half time Whitchurch played the ball around Bowden players but they were not for letting any more goals in, saving shots from Winter-Gresty, Kezzie Hutching and Dixon.
Whitchurch were beginning to tire again, Molly Fry and Sophie ward worked together on the right stopping Bowden attacking there.
Anna Latham made some strong efforts supported by Jessica Carruthers but Bowdon were after another and succeeded in the last 5 minutes.
Amazing efforts from Whitchurch but they resolute defending from Bowden meant they couldn’t capitalise on their chances. Sophie Ward received players player.
They play away at Wilmslow next week.
Whitchurch Ladies 3’s 0 Cheshire Blues 16
After losing players through illness the Whitchurch 11 stepped out onto the pitch for one of their hardest games of the season against run away league leaders who have scored 200+ goals so far this season. Whitchurch won first push back and started the game with a strong attack. Libby Fox and Annie Buckeridge and Emma Stubbs worked the ball up the left to the opponents dee but their defence proved too strong and the ball was returned down the pitch for Whitchurch to defend. Midfielders Jan Teggin, Annie Leigh and Wendy Cooper worked hard moving the ball away from the Whitchurch defence and keeper up the wing to Poppy Huxley and Nina Hodges who made some excellent tackles and runs up to the dee but were unable to find the goal. During the first half the visitors managed to get the ball past Whitchurch eight times leaving Whitchurch 8-0 down at half time.
After a half time breather and talk, Whitchurch were re-inspired and re-energised. They started the second half with a strong attack and made some positive runs to the goal but again the Blues defence were too strong and the play changed direction with attacks from the Blues towards the Whitchurch defence of Mel Reid and Hermione Ball. Whitchurch managed to turn the play around on many occasions during the match but Cheshire Blues always managed to prevent the Whitchurch attack from reaching the goal. After a series of short corners Cheshire Blues managed to continue their scoring leaving the final score with a win to the visitors of 16-0.
Every Whitchurch player gave 100% for the entire match and kept fighting and attacking to the final whistle. Despite the loss, it was a challenging game but Whitchurch came away exhausted and smiling.
Players player was awarded to a well-deserved Poppy Huxley.
Next week Whitchurch ladies 3‘s travel away to play Triton in the penultimate match of the season.
Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4 Chester Men’s 5s 2
Off the back of a successful run of form, and with only a draw required from the game to ensure finishing top of the league, Whitchurch went into Saturday’s game against Chester full of confidence. With captain Danny Foulkes still away, Dale Seymour stepped up again to lead the team and chase down the final point required.
With Foulkes and Alex Fry away this week, Sam Conway dropped to left back, with James Partington covering the centre and Chris Ruscoe continuing to shine at right back. Seymour’s game plan was to use the back well like last week, to move the ball around and keep possession without risky passes or trying to run through the opposition, and it worked well; Whitchurch had decent amounts of time on the ball and weren’t afraid to go backwards before going forwards again. In return, Chester had a number of strong, experienced players mixing with some talented younger ones, and were able to play some really good hockey. They went with the approach of leaving one player high up the pitch, which always gave them options on the break, and Paul “Sturge” Leigh made his usual selection of saves and blocks to keep the scoreboard quiet.
It was Chester who went ahead first, though, as they broke down the right wing and into the dee, and the striker’s shot wasn’t the cleanest, but the resulting bobble took it over Sturge’s stick. With Seymour’s encouragement, the Reds knew they would get their chances and didn’t let their heads drop. Taking more time on the ball, they started to control it a little better, and used that to increase the pressure on the Chester defence. This ended up with a short corner, which fell to Nick Cooper to add yet another to his list for the season with a decent smash into the net from the resulting melee.
Whitchurch doubled their lead as Will Gilbert picked up his second goal in two games for the 1s, collecting a ball from Tom Forster before surprising the Chester keeper with the deftness of touch and control to put it under the goalkeeper’s moving foot. Chester then applied more pressure themselves, winning a short corner which was fortuitously blocked on the line by Partington. Whitchurch went back up the other end of the pitch with Ruscoe driving hard down the right wing and into the dee before firing at goal. The keeper managed to stop the initial shot but the ball fell at his feet, and Ruscoe – who had continued his run – was the first to respond and reversed it into the goal before anyone else appeared to react.
The half-time talk focused on keeping the ball and not giving it away too easily, and this worked well as Whitchurch piled the pressure on, moving the ball around well at the back as well as up front, with Craig Hockenhull and Jack Barnes working the right wing to cause problems, and Rob Chappell and Joe Leese controlling the middle of the pitch. Whitchurch’s efforts won a short corner, and the initial shot was blocked on the line before Ben Kimberley collected the ball at the edge of the dee and unleashed a rocket into the top of the net.
The game then got more tense as both sides looked to take control, with green and yellow cards being shown as tempers flared, and Chester took the opportunity to put more players forward. Ruscoe was again crucial in defence with another interception that diverted the ball inches to the left of the post, but as Whitchurch struggled to clear, Chester got a short corner. The initial one was interrupted by the umpire just as it was finally taken, for taking too long, and the retake was taken so quickly the Reds weren’t quite set up and Sturge’s initial block of the shot went back out and was taken well in the air and drilled past the keeper for Chester’s second.
With the final whistle, Whitchurch confirmed their place at the top of the table and, with Neston losing at Sale, were 9 points clear with one game left. Will Gilbert deservedly won player of the match for another outstanding performance, and shows the future for Whitchurch – in division 3 next season – is looking good.
Whitchurch Men’s 2s 11 – 1 Winnington Park 4s
The Men’s 2s welcomed Winnington Park to SJT for their re-arranged match on Sunday morning. Results the previous day and with Winnington only being able to field nine players, there was an opportunity for the Reds to jump up to third in the table with a big win.
The early stages of the game were a bit disappointing for the home side. A combination of Whitchurch’s over-eagerness and Winnington’s experience and ball retention skills meant the Reds struggled to make any real impact going forward, although Winnington themselves were unable to make much progress up the pitch due to the excellent covering at the back by Pip Jones, Gareth Teggin and Wyn Morris. When Whitchurch did have the ball, they constantly ran themselves into trouble or played poor passes to give the ball away.
Despite not playing well, Whitchurch did open the scoring through Euan Morris but, out of the blue, Winnington responded immediately by forcing several short corners and equalising with a flick past keeper Neil Jones.
The equalising goal stunned Whitchurch out of their complacency and the team started to press with more aggression and string together some sharper and more incisive passes. The home team restored their lead as Euan Morris fired home a well worked short corner and as the team became more confident in their own game, the chances started to flow.
With Doug Buckeridge stepping forward from defence to join Richard Leigh in midfield, Winnington were struggling to get out of their own half. Alex Leigh and Will Snaith were pushing high on the flanks to support the wingers and prevent Winnington making any progress up the pitch. Joe Faithfull and Ethan Gresty were a constant threat on the right and Jacob Buckeridge and Owen Pearce were driving forward at every opportunity on the left.
Joe Coburn added a fantastic third goal when he smashed a shot from the edge of the dee into the top corner; Euan Morris finished off his hat-trick; and Will Snaith and Owen Pearce combined well down the left, with Owen scoring the goal at the second attempt. But the best goal of the half was finished off by Luke Beddow as a sweeping move through the middle of the pitch, involving four players, had Winnington chasing shadows.
Although 6-1 up at half-time, the Whitchurch players were reminded about complacency and the need to exploit their numerical advantage, but, as with the start of the first half, the team were sluggish out of the blocks and struggled to move the ball quickly or accurately enough to make any inroads into a disciplined Winnington defence.
The away side were struggling to fully clear their lines and the ball kept coming back at them and as Whitchurch grew into the half their passing became more accurate and more incisive and chances started to come. With the Winnington players working incredibly hard, legs started to tire, and the Reds exploited their numerical advantage ruthlessly.
Euan Morris added another goal to his tally, as did Joe Coburn, and Will Snaith scored his first senior goal with a lovely strike from the edge of the dee. Jacob Buckeridge sneaked the ball past the Winnington keeper on the reverse and Luke Beddow added the final goal of the game. In amongst the avalanche of goals, Airan Jones, Joe Coburn and Alex Leigh were all a little unfortunate to have goals ruled out.
The 11-1 win was thoroughly deserved, with the home side harshly exploiting Winnington’s lack of players. Euan Morris continued his amazing goal scoring run and Joe Coburn got his rewards for an amazing season and scored one of the goals of the campaign. Apart from one aberration, the defence was faultless and keeper Neil Jones was largely unemployed during this game. The whole team, once again, demonstrated some wonderful hockey as they attacked in numbers and with real menace. Some of the interplay was a joy to behold, with everyone contributing during their time on the pitch.
The 2s have now moved into third place in the table, ahead of Oxton on goal difference. With their final match of the season at home to bottom-of-the-table Runcorn on Saturday 14th March, the team have a real opportunity to finish the season in third – that would be an exceptional achievement for the side!