Deeside ladies 2s 2 Whitchurch ladies 1s 2
Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled to Malpas to play against local rivals Deeside. It was a tough game from the start with both teams fighting in the middle of the pitch. A long ball played in by acting captain Lisa Sullivan to Mollie Bell who slipped it just wide of the post. Whitchurch reset and after several attempts on the Deeside goal, Izzy Huxley won Whitchurch their first short corner. Sullivan slipped the ball to Molly Fry who fired it how to give Whitchurch the 1-0 lead that they needed.
This gave Whitchurch the boost to push for some more. Deeside won a short corner which was then converted into a flick which Holly Edwards handled amazingly well but Deeside slotted in their equaliser. Shortly after Edwards making some critical saves to keep Whitchurch in the game but Deeside slipped the ball past giving them a 2-1 lead.
After the halftime talk everyone was stretched out and ready to strike again, Sullivan in the middle slipping the ball left to Ellie Windsor and right to Caitlin Edwards who was having an amazing game up the right making crucial runs along the baseline looking for Hayleigh Busby who was in the dee ready to fire home, but Whitchurch where awarded a short corner which Busby slotted just wide of the post.
Whitchurch kept their heads held high and pushing towards the Deeside Dee. Sophie Ward on the left with Chloe Lloyd and Jess Kimberley and Anna Latham kept Deeside out of the Whitchurch Dee. Fry received the ball from Ward pasted it on to Busby who found Fry again in the dee who then fired it home for Whitchurch bringing the score level to 2-2.
Player of the match was Sophie Ward.
Whitchurch Mens 1s 8 – Alderley Edge Mens 5s 0
The 2021 hockey season started well for Whitchurch with a solid win against a young Alderley Edge team. On a weekend when teams all around the country were struggling to find players in the midst of Covid, and players having possibly left clubs entirely, Whitchurch were able to field their full Mens 1s, including a new player in Scott Lawrenson. Alderley Edge were under the cosh very early on in the game, as the Reds were able to draw on years of playing together as a team, and much of the game was spent in the Alderley Edge half as Whitchurch employed a high press.
The scoring started with a strike from the edge of the dee by Elliot Watters which Craig Hockenhull got a touch on to put it through the keepers legs. It was followed shortly after by Rob Chappell’s fine strike to double the score. Alderley Edge struggled to clear their defences, with Whitchurch man-marking really well, giving very few options for any way to get out from the back and build a threat. Any loose balls were picked up by the Reds and quickly turned into a new attack. Alex Fry and Steve Kay were solid at the back, and had the time and confidence to move the ball around freely, allowing attacks to form on either side of the pitch. Chris Ruscoe on the right, and James Partington on the left, as wing-backs provided real width which stretched the game and caused holes to appear which Chappell, Joel Leese and Joe Coburn used to great effect in the middle of the pitch.
Hockenhull and Sam Conway rotated well on the left, and Jack Barnes and Tom Forster worked the right side of the pitch to cause pressure at all points of the Alderley Edge dee. Watters and Lawrenson took turns at centre-forward to try to capitalise on the constant pressure being created, and with everything clicking throughout the team, it was only a matter of time before more goals were scored. Watters was able to get the ball to Forster who threaded it through to Leese to slot it into the goal. A short corner was stopped well by Fry and Barnes’ flick slipped through the keeper’s pads.
Four up at half-time, and the Reds were full of confidence for the second half and were able to put together some excellent passages of play. Movement around the back, strong and accurate passes, sharp interceptions when Alderley Edge did break, and width in the opposition half gave them a lot of time to shine. Goals in the second half came from Barnes from a cross from Hockenhull, and another from Barnes for his hat-trick as he fired in from the edge of the dee. Coburn nipped in to collect his first of the season, passing the ball past the stretching keeper, and Hockenhull was on hand to tap in the rebound from a strong shot from Chappell.
Alderley Edge did manage to win a short-corner right at the end of the game, which was the first real involvement for Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal, but the Reds defended well to see out the rest of the game. It was a really strong performance, and especially impressive for the first game of the season after a protracted break. Whitchurch are away next week against Crewe Vagrants.