Whitchurch Men’s 2s 7 Runcorn Men’s 3s 2
After last week’s big win, which propelled the Men’s 2s into third place in the league table, the home side were looking to consolidate that position in their final game of the season against bottom-of-the-table Runcorn. Knowing that they needed to win the game but also match Oxton’s margin of victory, the Reds set out looking for another high score.
However, Runcorn were in no mood to roll over for Whitchurch. Although the home side started the game well, controlling possession and making progress up the pitch, their opponents were stoic with their defending and the Reds found it difficult to fashion any chances in front of the Runcorn goal.
The away side enjoyed their own spells of possession but struggled to make much headway past the hard-working midfield of Richard Leigh, David Brunyard, Joe Coburn and Luke Beddow. And on the few occasions that Runcorn did get close to the edge of the Whitchurch dee, Doug Buckeridge, Will Snaith, Gareth Teggin and Wyn Morris were quick to sweep up and clear the danger.
It took Whitchurch until midway through the half to create some real danger in front of the Runcorn goal, but it took a penalty flick from Euan Morris to break the deadlock. A short corner routine was well-worked by the home side and Euan’s initial shot was adjudged to be blocked on the line by a Runcorn foot.
Whitchurch soon doubled their lead as Euan struck again from another short corner routine. But Runcorn tried to hit back. A flurry of short corners was well defended by the Reds and keeper Neil Jones made an excellent one-on-one save. But Runcorn chances were limited, whilst the home side were creating more chances at the other end. Joe Faithfull, Euan Morris and Luke Beddow all forced the Runcorn keeper to make some good saves, but Joe Coburn fired home from the edge of the dee to give Whitchurch a 3-0 lead at half-time.
The home side were looking to add more goals in the second half, but it was Runcorn who re-started the game better. Some slack play in midfield and some weak defending allowed the away side to pull a goal back. Runcorn then sensed a chance to get right back in the game and forced Whitchurch to defend on the edge of their own dee. Neil Jones was forced to make several handy saves as Whitchurch lost control of the game.
At times this season the Men’s 2s have played some stunning hockey and just as they seemed to be under the cosh, they produced a stunning passing move from their own half, as Richard Leigh and Joe Coburn cut Runcorn to ribbons and fed Luke Beddow in the dee, who fired home to make the score 4-1.
The goal settled Whitchurch and they started to play much better hockey. As the passing became faster and neater, and the pressing when out of possession became more aggressive, the Reds started creating a plethora of chances. Jake Buckeridge was inches away from a cross at the back post; Fred Delf-Rowlandson, Joe Faithfull, Alex Leigh and Owen Pearce were causing Runcorn all sorts of problems on the flanks; Ethan Gresty was driving from midfield; and Luke Beddow and Euan Morris were getting the chances in the dee and brought saves from the Runcorn keeper.
Eventually a move down the right saw Euan Morris poke in from close range, after a melee in the goalmouth, to further increase the Whitchurch lead. But Runcorn responded, although once again, Whitchurch contributed to their own undoing as the ceded possession in midfield and then made a hash of defending the ensuing counterattack.
But this Whitchurch team is full of goals and Euan Morris is full of goals. Another smart attack saw Euan free on the left of the dee and he fired home on the reverse for his fourth goal of the game. This was followed by a stunning piece of play, as Joe Coburn picked up the ball in midfield and lofted a pass over the Runcorn defence for Euan to run through on goal, round the keeper and fire into the unguarded goal to round off the scoring and give Whitchurch a 7-2 win.
This wasn’t Whitchurch’s best performance of the season but in patches their play was simply outstanding. The passing move for the fourth goal was a joy to behold and Joe’s pass for the final goal was sublime. In parts the home side were lazy out of possession, but would then respond with periods of incessant, aggressive pressing, which Runcorn found difficult to deal with.
With Oxton losing 3-2 at Golborne, the win means Whitchurch have finished the season in third place. An incredible achievement and thoroughly deserved reward for a squad containing predominantly players under 16 years of age, supplemented by half-a-dozen dads that have all come through the club’s Back-to-Hockey scheme. The team have played some stunning hockey over the course of the season and have faced up to the challenges they have faced with bravery and skill. Whether third place will be enough for promotion will be determined later, but all the players who have represented the 2s this season should be proud of their efforts and their teammates.
Roll on next season!
Wilmslow ladies 3s 1 Whitchurch ladies 1s 5
Whitchurch ladies 1s travelled away to play Wilmslow, a mid-table team this Saturday and after last week’s loss came back strong and composed.
Wilmslow’s defence was strong and it took about ten minutes for Whitchurch to score their first by Sarah Field. Wilmslow attacked back hard putting pressure on defence Chloe Lloyd and Kezzie Hutchings, halves Anna Latham and Molly Fry used the width to clear the ball up to Ellie Windsor who fired into the dee for Izzy Huxley to deflect into the net. Despite being two up Wilmslow fought back and scored from open play before the break.
After a quick break Whitchurch definitely had the better half, picking up the tempo, play was fast and they passed the ball around Wilmslow, some great triangular moves from midfield Hebe Dixon, captain Catherine Winter-Gresty and Millie Edwards setup up an opportunity for to Field to flick past the keeper.
Wilmslow kept fighting all the way having some shots which keeper Maddy Sugden cleared away with help from Martha Teggin. The 4th goal made its way up the pitch with Field and Edwards passing between each other finishing with Edwards slotting onto the backboard.
More attempts on goal came from Jess Kimberley, Dixon and Winter-Gresty but the final goal was shot in from Sarah Field to end the game with a great 5-1 result.
Millie Edwards earned players player and their final game of the season next week is against Knutsford at home.
Sale Men’s 2s 1 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4
Whitchurch confirmed their promotion as champions of division 4 south this week with a confident away win over a strong Sale team who were hoping to grab third place on the final day of the season. Led by captain Danny Foulkes, Whitchurch were looking just to play some decent hockey and enjoy it, with promotion already assured, and they set about business well. After a busy first few minutes as both teams looked for a quick goal, the game settled into some assured skill and movement from both teams. Paul “Sturge” Leigh had another strong game at the back, coming out early and making his usual diving saves. The back three, with James Partington and Chris Ruscoe flanking Foulkes, were able to move the ball across at the back with confidence, and soaked up the pressure from the Sale attack. Sale were unlucky not to get a couple of goals, with some good shots going just wide, or last touch deflections only just missing.
In the midfield, Sam Conway, Marcus Conway and Jack Barnes provided the width and options, and Joel Leese, Ben Kimberley, Tom Forster and Rob Chappell rotated well to control the middle of the pitch, dribbling round the Sale players before distributing the ball well to the wings. First touches were more assured than in last week’s game, and passes made it to their targets with decent regularity, and the pressure continued to build before Jon Chappell’s strong shot at goal was blocked by the goalkeeper, but the ball just fell at the keeper’s feet and Nick Cooper was on hand to crack it in.
With the Sale team looking for an equaliser, the pressure was on, but the Reds marked well and were able to regain control and got a second before the break. A quick drive into the dee end in a cross which was swept in on the reverse by Will Gilbert, continuing his impressive scoring record having only just stepped up to the first team.
The second half was more of the same, with the game being finely balanced and Sale unlucky to nick a goal on a couple of occasions. They had more bad luck when Ruscoe’s run down the right wing and into the dee ended in disaster as the cross was knocked in to the goal by a defender attempting to clear it. They did regroup, though, and threw players forward and caused an overload in the Whitchurch dee. The initial shot was saved by Sturge, but the rebound was taken around the diving keeper and put away well for Sale’s first.
Sale were reenergised, and started to put together more attacks, but their right wingers found a roadblock in Partington who had a solid game at left back, and tackled and blocked everything that came his way. The Whitchurch right wing had much more success and Barnes was able to get the ball to Cooper whose initial shot from a very tight angle was blocked, but Jon Chappell was ready for the rebound and finished it off nicely.
The final whistle came, and with it another decent win for a decent Whitchurch team. As the champagne sprayed, the Reds knew they’d had a good season where teamwork had made all the difference. Partington picked up player of the match for some good work in defence, and the team picked up promotion to division 3 south having won by twelve points with Neston having lost to Northop Hall. With several strong young players coming through, the future is looking very good for Whitchurch Hockey Club.
Triton ladies 3s 0 Whitchurch ladies 3s 1
The penultimate game started at pace which proved tricky in the heat of our first sunny morning of Spring in Alsager. Whitchurch had most of the early possession but Triton defended brilliantly especially the keeper who denied countless shots from centre forward Sue Read. In attack, Caitlin Edwards and Jaz Williams worked well on the right backed up by Jan Teggin at left half and Louise Whitley and Kate Buckeridge on the left.
Keeper Louise Cottrell was magnificent with her well timed leaves and kick outs to the waiting halves, Poppy Huxley, Emma Stubbs and Teggin. Meg Brunyard gave some confidence to midfield spraying some excellent cross pitch passes to Williams on the right who drove the ball expertly up the pitch to Edwards. Hermonie Ball was excellent on the left of defence and was seen pushing high up the pitch to assist Huxley and Buckeridge then tracking back when required.
Wendy Cooper decided to play tennis in front of goal and saved a chest high strike from Triton to keep the score 0-0 at half time.
The 2nd half started much the same as the first with Whitchurch leading most of the attack but being superbly blocked by the excellent Triton defence whose hard hitting caught Whitchurch on the counter putting the excellent tackling skills of Teggin, Stubbs, Cooper and Ball to the test. Several short corners were won by Whitchurch and superb strikes from Williams were saved by Triton’s keeper.
With only one sub, Whitchurch rotated quickly to allow our experienced players to rest in particular, Buckeridge who ended up on the right hand side of the pitch in defence to allow Whitchurch to recover after another yet another counter attack by Triton. Huxley was not to be deterred on the left by the bigger and stronger Triton players and next week will be kitted up in full body armour in order to retrieve the ball after her excellent winning tackles!
In the last 10 minutes, Teggin had to play left wing to cover an asthmatic Buckeridge and found herself in the attacking dee with Read trying yet another shot on goal which again was saved by the keeper. Another attack by Stubbs, Whitely, Williams and Edwards shortly afterwards was finally rewarded with a goal for Read in the dying minutes of the game for a 1-0 victory.
Tritons’ keeper was nominated players player by Whitchurch which demonstrated the dominance of Whitchurch’s attack and Jazz Williams nominated by the Triton players for her fantastic drives forward and stick skills. Last game of the season is home to Sandbach 2’s.