Category Archives: Match Reports

Blow-by-blow accounts of the latest (hopefully) action…

Match Reports – 16-10-21

With both the Ladies 2s and Men’s 2s games cancelled.

Whitchurch Ladies 1s 7 Crewe ladies 2s 0

Whitchurch Ladies 1s played Crewe Vagrants 2s at home. Whitchurch controlled the game, fighting for every break and leading to their first goal with Izzy Huxley scoring off a deflection from Nina Hodges. Passes were sharp from Whitchurch, out on the wings to Caitlin Edwards and Holly Gilbert. Plenty of shots into the dee were rewarded with a short corner allowing Lisa Sullivan to fire onto the backboard with a straight strike.

Not long after that Molly Fry calmly scored from another short corner. Crewe made a couple of breaks that were quickly picked up by Chloe Lloyd and Heidi Groom clearing up the pitch, one of which Holly Gilbert collected and took round the keeper for their 4th goal.

Whitchurch pressured Crewe constantly throughout the game, Nina Hodges putting away a deflection as Whitchurch kept firing balls into the Crewe dee. Just before half time, another short, a pass to Captain Catherine Gresty who drove the ball round the defence to get their 6th goal.

Half time came at the perfect time as Whitchurch Ladies were tiring. Crewe came out hard playing more aggressive and gave keeper Holly Edwards a harder half but she made every save and kept a clean sheet for Whitchurch. Hayleigh Busby playing at the back had a fantastic defensive game, saving a shot on the goal line from a Crewe corner.

As Crewe dropped back it made it incredibly difficult for Whitchurch to score. Crewe frustrated in the last quarter as Whitchurch forwards battled, firing in balls for deflections and pushing through the middle by Mollie Bell. Lisa Sullivan took her opportunity, dribbling into the dee and shot into the back of the net for goal number 7.

Players player was awarded to Captain Catherine Gresty, next week is a rest Saturday for the ladies 1s.

Deeside Ramblers ladies 4s 4 Whitchurch ladies 3s 1

Whitchurch ladies 3s travelled away to Deeside Ramblers home ground at Tiverton to take on the team the ladies 2’s played last week.

Whitchurch won the toss and took the first push back and came straight out with a strong attack. Freya Gresty and Poppy Huxley worked hard on the left wing to keep the ball in the oppositions dee. Some strong passes from Alice Page and Jasmin Williams saw Louise Whitley take several shots on goal but she was unable to get the ball past Deeside keeper.

After a strong attacking first half with some excellent interceptions from Annie Leigh who soon sent the ball back up to the Whitchurch forwards, Deeside got to get the ball past keeper Louise Cottrell a minute before half time.

After half time, Whitchurch continued to attack but Deeside had upped their game and soon

capitalised by scoring their second goal about five minutes into the second half. The Whitchurch defence of Mel Reid and Hermione Ball worked hard and made some excellent clearances to prevent Deeside access to the goal. Whitchurch’s keeper made an excellent save and ended up on the ground but managed to use her pads to get the ball out to Wendy Cooper who cleared it out of the dee and up to Bella Morris who worked well with Lucy Hearn and Jan Teggin to drive the ball back up the pitch.

Unfortunately Deeside proved the stronger side and managed to slot three more goals past the

Whitchurch defence. In the last 15 minutes, Whitchurch lost Alice Page to an injury after being hit but this seemed to spur them on. Deeside gave away a short corner in the final couple of minutes, which Whitchurch took swiftly, the ball came off a foot of the opposition and another short corner was given just as the final whistle went. Whitchurch regrouped and following an excellent injected ball, Jasmin Williams went on to score Whitchurch’s one goal of the game.

Players player was given to Bella Morris who played a sterling game in the midfield.

Next week, Whitchurch ladies 3’s play their rescheduled away game against Runcorn Ladies.

Match Reports – 25/09/21

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.

Hockey returns – match reports 5/12/20

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 7 – Deeside Ramblers Men’s 5s 0

Whitchurch returned to competitive hockey, and to winning ways, this week playing Deeside Ramblers Men’s 5s in the newly formed, pandemic-enforced Cheshire West 2 league. After some persistent rain in the morning, the sun came out and provided a perfect setting for a resumption of the interrupted season. Whitchurch were able to field a full-strength team with the Wales-based players available again, and did so – for the first two minutes before Sam Budd picked up a game-ending injury after rolling his ankle during an early attack.

Thankfully they had a sub, and so the game began again without the option of using rested impact-players coming on from the bench, and captain Danny Foulkes reiterated the need to make the ball do the work rather than players running themselves ragged. The key was to take the good work put in before the last lockdown and repeat that – with the added need to make the most of the opportunities in the opposition dee.

Whitchurch applied themselves well, against a Deeside team that was a mixture of youth and speed up front, and experience and control at the back. The Deeside keeper had another excellent game making a number of superb saves, but today was going to be the Reds’ day, and it started with good control, keeping the ball and driving down the right time and again. Eventually a short corner was won, and was slipped left and right before it returned to the top of the dee where Jack Barnes belted it in.

This was followed shortly by another short corner, and Barnes was on hand again to receive the injection and flick it under the keeper. Deeside started to recover, and were able to make some incisive runs with high players receiving the ball well and driving to the dee, but Paul “Sturge” Leigh was again fantastic in the Whitchurch goal, sliding out to block incoming passes when the defence were still on their way back, and diving well to block the shots that Deeside could get away. Overall, the defence was solid, with Foulkes, Sam Conway and James Partington working well together to get the ball out. In front of them, Steve Kay had an impressive game holding the centre of the pitch and providing an outlet time and again before considering options and getting a good pass away up the pitch. Equally, the midfield – with Joel Leese, Barnes, Joe Coburn and Ben Kimberley – worked well going forward as a unit, but weren’t afraid to recycle it all the way back to Foulkes if that was the right option.

Up front, Tom Forster and Chris Ruscoe – in a change from his usual defensive duties – caused Deeside’s defence plenty of trouble, and it was Ruscoe who scored next, with a darting run down the right hand side of the pitch before getting into the dee and drilling it into the bottom corner of the goal.

In the second half, it was more of the same, as Kimberley and Forster worked the left-hand side of the pitch with some one-two passes, before Kimberley got his shot away in style. The game then took a turn as Conway picked up an injury and shortly after a green card took the Reds down to nine players, but Kay dropped back into defence so Foulkes could cover Conway, and Whitchurch then went into keep-ball mode, running down the clock before both players could make their way back onto the pitch. Deeside had made a number of attacks during this time, but Sturge was solid and the tackling in the defence was effective, and with eleven players finally back on the pitch the Reds could turn up the wick again.

The commitment was brilliantly shown with the next goal, as Coburn fought his way into the dee and rode six or seven stick-tackles that could each have led to a short corner, as the advantage was played well by the umpires, until he was able to flick the ball over the Deeside keeper for an excellent goal to add to his impressive tally. Ruscoe then went on another run down the right wing before getting into the dee and firing the ball into the centre of the net. The game was wrapped up with a seventh as Leese’s shot bounced off the keeper and Forster was on-hand to clean up and put the ball away.

There could have been more goals, but this was an impressive return to hockey for Whitchurch, again thanks to the depth and strength of the squad, and putting into games the routines and skills learned during training sessions. Player of the match was, again, Joe Coburn – his goal was typical of his play throughout the game, consistently working hard, never giving up and using sublime skills to beat the opposition.

Chester Men’s 6s 0 – 6 Whitchurch Men’s 2s

After lockdown, new tier regulations, a revised league structure for the rest of the season and a struggle to get enough players, the Men’s 2s returned to competitive hockey with a trip to Chester 6s.

The home side started positively but Whitchurch quickly settled into the game and assumed a control that they never relinquished. Chester found themselves penned in their own half, and anytime they did make progress into the Whitchurch half, Brendan Coburn, Wyn Morris and Gareth Teggin were quick to tidy up and set the 2s back on the attack.

Chances came and went. Good work down the right saw Fred Egerton smash a shot against the crossbar, and both Luke Beddow and Euan Morris fired wide when we’ll placed. The excellent Chester keeper made a succession of smart saves to frustrate Whitchurch, but eventually the pressure paid dividends. Midway through the first half, with Chester trying to move forward, Whitchurch won the ball in midfield and set 3 players clear of the home defence. Luke Beddow calmly rounded the onrushing keeper and swept the ball into the unguarded goal.

Despite losing Doug Buckeridge to a nasty ankle injury, Whitchurch continued to push forward and the Chester keeper made more good saves, and final passes between the Whitchurch players weren’t quite finding their intended targets, which Jake Buckeridge just unable to steer home a vicious cross from the right. But as half time approached, Euan Morris deservedly doubled the Whitchurch lead.

The 2s completely controlled the second half with keeper Neil Jones a virtual spectator. Richard Leigh orchestrated the Whitchurch play, organising the younger players from the centre of midfield.

Much of the game was now being played in and around the Chester dee and Ethan Gresty, Fred Egerton, Joe Faithfull, and Alex Leigh were all heavily involved in the action; all of them getting shots at goal, or being close to scoring. Further goals were added in the second half by Luke Beddow, Euan Morris (who completed his hat trick) and Jacob Buckeridge.

Although Whitchurch thoroughly deserved the 6-0 victory, the score line could have been much bigger. The Chester keeper had a fantastic game, making several excellent saves. But Whitchurch were incredibly wasteful in the second half. Too many players were intent on adding to their personal goal tally, taking on extravagant shots, when there were simple passes to better-placed teammates available.

A special mention for Will Snaith, who despite playing on the left side of defence, spent most of the game as a second left winger. He continually made himself available for passes forward and was an excellent support for the players in front of him, whilst never neglecting his defensive duties.

Many thanks for Chester in getting the fixture sorted out after the recent lockdown. The game was played and umpired in an excellent spirit and the Chester players were very supportive in a physical and medical capacity with Doug’s injury.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s will be playing their final game before the Christmas break at SJT on Saturday 12th December against Winnington Park 4s.

With the ladies without matches over the half term break it was left to the men this weekend.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3 Neston Men’s 7s 3

In what has turned out to be the last hockey match for at least a month, the Men’s 2s welcomed Neston 7s to a bright and sunny Whitchurch on Saturday. Once again coronavirus had impacted squad selection, so a number of players were drafted in from the 1s game earlier in the afternoon.

A familiar pattern emerged as the older and more powerful Neston team took control of midfield and forced Whitchurch back towards their own dee. But with the home side working hard, Neston found it difficult to threaten the Whitchurch goal. Brendan Coburn, Danny Foulkes, Joel Leese, Sturge and Gareth Teggin put in a succession of blocks and tackles to keep Neston at bay.

Whitchurch were quick to counterattack when the away side lost possession.

Joe Coburn, Ethan Gresty and Luke Beddow combined well in midfield, but couldn’t quite find striker Will Gilbert, or the willing runs of Jacob and Doug Buckeridge on the wings.

Eventually one of Whitchurch’s attacks was rewarded with a short corner. Doug Buckeridge exchanged passes with Joe Coburn and Buckeridge swept home from close range to open the scoring.

The pattern of play continued for much of the half, with Neston enjoying territory and possession, but Whitchurch posing threat on the counter. Ultimately, and despite the best efforts of the Whitchurch defence and keeper Neil Jones, the pressure from the away side brought an equaliser.

With the game level at half time, Whitchurch were looking to retain more of the ball in the second half, but Neston had other ideas. The away side injected more pace into their passing and Whitchurch struggled to get to grips with the change. Neston deservedly took the lead and looked to press home their advantage, but Neil Jones made several excellent stops to thwart the Wirral side.

Whitchurch eventually settled and with Tom Forster and Jack Barnes adding more power in midfield, they worked their way back into the game. Once again Joe Coburn was instrumental in Whitchurch’s best attacking moments, and as his ball into the dee flicked off a defender’s stick and looped up over the keeper, Luke Beddow raced through to get a vital touch and equalise.

Soon after another defence splitting pass found Fred Egerton, who rounded the Neston keeper and fired home from an acute angle to give Whitchurch the lead. The home side continued to create chances but were unable to add to their advantage.

Buoyed by their lead, Whitchurch began to commit more players forward and Neston were forced to play on the counterattack. With only a few minutes left, a Whitchurch move broke down and as the away side drove forward the Reds defence found themselves outnumbered and Neston took full advantage to equalise.

The 3-3 draw was probably a fair result. Both sides enjoyed good spells during the game, and both sides were grateful for good goalkeeping and poor finishing. At times Whitchurch were a little disjointed, with a number of new players on the pitch, but those players also added some much-needed physical presence.

With the national lockdown imminent, the Men’s 2s next game will hopefully be in early December.


Whitchurch Men’s 1s 2 – Chester Men’s 4/5s 2

With another scheduled game lost to local restrictions, Whitchurch played a friendly against a Chester team made up of a mixture of their two teams in the Division 3 South league. With heavy rain having soaked the pitch in the morning, there were questions about whether the game would go ahead, but the rain stopped, the sun came out and the match was played in glorious sunshine.

It was an evenly matched game, played in good spirit and with some excellent play by both teams. A shortage of senior players gave a number of the younger 2s players an opportunity to step up, with Alex Leigh, Luke Beddow, Ethan Gresty and Will Gilbert joining Joe Coburn and Fred Egerton as the next generation of 1s players, and all represented themselves well, showing pace and skill against an equally youthful opposition.

With some decent end-to-end hockey, the game always felt like it had goals in it, and Whitchurch broke the deadlock with a well-worked short corner, fired in by Danny Foulkes to Jack Barnes at the top of the dee, whose powerful flick went through the keeper. A few minutes later, the scores were level as a Chester drive broke through the Reds’ defence and managed to get the ball past a diving Sturge in goal.

As with last week’s game, Whitchurch settled well to their task, and maintained their efforts through both halves, which is the step up they needed to make from previous seasons where games could tail off in the second half. There was some great use of width, starting at the back with the defenders happy to go across the pitch multiple times before finding their pass out. The midfield were equally happy dropping the ball back to the defence rather than running into trouble and it set the game up well. Some great running down both wings put pressure on the Chester defence, and there was strength in the middle of the pitch at all times.

Chester went 2-1 up with an unlucky deflection after they’d made a good run down the middle of the pitch on the break, but Whitchurch got the scores level again with another short corner routine out to the right which was crossed in before Chris Ruscoe got the last touch.

It was another good game, with Whitchurch showing a promising future as their strong youth structure provides the rewards the coaching staff have been working on. Another home game against Chester 4s is scheduled for next weekend, when Whitchurch will go all out for the win.