Whitchurch Ladies 2s 1 Crewe Vagrants Ladies 2s 2
Whitchurch faced a high-flying Crewe side and were dealt a blow when one of their players withdrew with illness before the start.
Whitchurch took the game to Crewe from the start and camped high up the pitch for the first ten minutes of the game. Catherine Reece-Gresty bravely diving into a tackle received a blow to the head as the ball defected off sticks which ruled her out for the remainder of the match.
Whitchurch rearranged the formation with Captain Emma Stubbs controlling and organising the team from defence supported brilliantly by Poppy Huxley and Lucy Hearn.
Lisa Sullivan controlled the midfield supporting the defence and also creating the Whitchurch attacks setting off the Whitchurch attacks down the right wing through Poppy Gilbert and down the left via Freya Gresty.
Despite their best-efforts Whitchurch tired as the half went on and Crewe took the lead before halftime.
Whitchurch continued the second half much as the first, but Crewe took full advantage of their extra players and the space it gave them to draw a series of fine saves from keeper Caroline Wynn.
Whitchurch continued to push forward and Phoebe Jones broke from the halfway line only to see the diving keeper smother her shot.
Whitchurch had a string of well worked penalty corners which saw Gresty deflect past the post before Sophie Jones slotted her shot into the bottom corner.
Crewe finally broke through the Whitchurch defence and scored a second, but Whitchurch managed to frustrate them and deserve great credit for their efforts playing the majority of the game with only nine players.
Whitchurch Mens’s 2s 4 Knutsford Men’s 2s 5
Whitchurch fielded their youngest team of the season containing only three Over 18s against an experienced Knutsford team. The game remained very even with Knutsford using their experience to control the game and Whitchurch using their speed and fitness to cause havoc on the break.
Whitchurch took an early lead when a Will Edwards shot was deflected home by Harry Foulkes on the back post. Knutsford soon drew level with a well worked short corner.
Whitchurch then had a series of penalty corners from which Danny Foulkes gave Whitchurch the lead and Knutsford again drew level with another penalty corner to leave the scores level at the break.
Knutsford came out after the break and pressured the Whitchurch defence of Lucas Hill, Charlie Edwards, Liam Pallet and Thomas Wyndham Lewis with the occasional diving save required from captain Neil Jones.
Knutsford took the lead for the first time in the match. Whitchurch continued to move the ball at pace down the wings via Niko Moga and Olivier Edwards and this led to Joe Chesters breaking into the dee to draw Whitchurch level.
Whitchurch again drew ahead as an Archie Phews pass was struck by Tom Edwards at goal hitting the defender on the line. Chesters calmly stepped up and converted the penalty flick.
Knutsfords experience showed in the last 10 minutes as the Whitchurch team tired and some frustration showed Knutsford scored two quick goals to give them the victory.
Crewe Vagrants Men’s 2s 2 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 0
Whitchurch had a tough game this week against league-leaders Crewe and went into it knowing they would have to play some of their best hockey to get a result from this game. They came up against a well-drilled, skilful and technically astute team who applied pressure from the first whistle. Paul “Sturge” Leigh was in action several times, making critical blocks and diving saves to keep Crewe at bay, but Crewe’s high press meant there was little time for the Reds to build up play without being closed down, and any slight mistakes were taken advantage of quickly.
Crewe deservedly went ahead with two well-worked goals, including a nicely played short-corner routine after a lucky call on a Whitchurch foul, where they’d adjusted their routines to skip the first strike and instead fire at someone running in with a flat stick, which popped the ball over Sturge at high speed. The Reds, though, struggled to find fluency, to keep hold of the ball, or to make enough runs forward, and half time was a welcome break.
The second half, though, probably represents one of the better halves of hockey that Whitchurch have played in a long while. The intensity, the marking, the running off the ball, the pass selection, the defending and the teamwork were all vastly better. It was Crewe getting frustrated, rather than Whitchurch, and the Reds put together some excellent passages of play, not letting their heads drop. There were no further goals in the game, but Whitchurch were in the ascendency and played the sort of hockey that would have easily had a draw or a win from the game had they been able to play that way in both halves.
Crewe were the better team over the whole game, and deserved their win, but Whitchurch can take a lot from a game against probably the best side in the league and will look to turn that to future successes.
Macclesfield Ladies 2s 1 Whitchurch ladies 1s 6
This week Whitchurch ladies travelled away to Macclesfield, doubtful, as they lacked a few regular players. Before long however, Whitchurch scored their first goal, with lovely play through the lines from Molly Fry and Holly Edwards, leading to a strike on goal from Mollie Bell, who had already run the down half the pitch.
This play continued, and a pass in from Jasmine Williams was converted into a second goal, this time from Bella Morris. Phoebe Gregory had her debut in the ladies 1s this game, making countless saves, with the help of Hermione Ball in defence. Despite this incredible play however, following a string of short corners against them, Whitchurch conceded a goal. This didn’t stop them though, and before long a third goal was scored by Whitchurch by Hayleigh Busby, from a beautiful reverse stick shot.
After a much needed break at half time, Whitchurch came back onto the pitch strong, and within minutes Mollie Bell scored a second goal. Tillie James and Chloe Lloyd held a solid defence on the right side of the pitch, keeping out any attacks from Macclesfield.
Despite the lack of subs, Whitchurch didn’t tire, and a fifth goal went in before long, from a deflection on post from Hayleigh Busby. As the final whistle blew, one last short corner was won by the team, which Cath Gresty put on the backboard, leaving the score at 6-1 as the game ended.
Ladies 1s are at home next weekend playing warrington.