Category Archives: Match Reports

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

Match Reports 23rd and 24th February 2019

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 2 – Neston Men’s 5s 4

In their first of two matches this weekend, Whitchurch played a strong Neston team, with both sides looking to improve on the one-all draw earlier in the season. Neston brought a good team with some very able young players backed up with some experienced heads, and it had an immediate impression on the game with aerial balls going over the Reds’ defence and being picked up well. Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal was called on several times to make some great saves, but Neston went ahead early with a good shot on goal beating the defensive team.

Whitchurch recovered quickly and claimed a short corner at the other end, playing a wide ball all the way across the dee where Ben Kimberley picked it up and fired it in, only for the defender’s attempted stop slowing it to a trickle as it rolled over the line. The game settled a little at this point, as the Reds’ defence started to pick up their markers better, and Airan Jones worked well on the left, and the usual central defence of Danny Foulkes and James Partington was helped by the return on Andy Magee to provide strength at the back. Jack Barnes, Dale Seymour, Alex Fry and Sam Conway worked well in the centre of the pitch, and Marcus Conway, Fred Egerton, Craig Hockenhull and Kimberley rotated well up front and for a while the game was even, but then Neston turned on the style and the speed to get another which Sturge could do nothing about.

Whitchurch were able to get a second, with a short corner leading to a goalmouth scramble which Hockenhull was able to pounce on and flick the ball over the keeper. In the second half, though, it was Neston with the majority of play, and as Whitchurch tired Neston were able to slip their markers with more ease and grab a couple more. They had a number of other shots on goal which they were unlucky not to score from, but Whitchurch were able to do just enough to keep them out. In turn, the Reds were finding it harder to keep control of the ball, and passes were getting more suspect. There was plenty of good play from Whitchurch, but it kept breaking down or the ball would get given back to Neston who would break quickly. Some desperate defending at the end kept out short corners, but at the final whistle the score line of 4-2 reflected the difference in performance between the two teams.

Whitchurch ladies 1s 1 Oxton ladies 2s 4

Whitchurch ladies 1s played a late rearranged game last Saturday against top Oxton 2s. They came out very strong passing around Whitchurch and scored very quickly off a short corner. Whitchurch were taken aback how much Oxton wanted the win and continued to be bullied around the pitch. Mid players Lisa Sullivan worked together with Catherine Winter-Gresty and Hebe Dixon to hold the middle as much as possible but Oxton seemed the stronger and composed team. Whitchurch had a few opportunities in the Oxton dee, Helena Dannenfeldt and Ellie Windsor crossing towards the goal but Whitchurch couldn’t get a touch.

In defence Catherine Reece-Gresty and Chloe Lloyd held off Oxton for a while with Sophie Ward and Helen Mellor dropping back but Oxton shot one into the top corner.

At half time a hard talk to Whitchurch allowed them to come out with more fight and seemed to be controlling the game, having plenty more possession and passing up to forwards Jessica Carruthers and Stephanie Stanton. The more pressure put on Oxton the more mistakes they made, so Whitchurch continued and this paid off as Izzy Huxley crossed the ball to Winter-Gresty who pelted the ball into Oxton dee and Dannenfeldt touched to Stanton to score their first.

Whitchurch heads rose and continued to pass well around Oxton. Having a run of shorts but the Oxton keeper was good. Keeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees made some great saves but as Whitchurch tired, Oxton had a lucky break and scored their 3rd goal of the match.

As time was not on Whitchurch’s side the whistle went to a disappointed team. Sullivan was awarded players player for the first time this season and well deserved! Another loss for the ladies 1s as they played the top teams. With only 3 games left to play, Whitchurch need to pull out all the stops to make the top 4 teams to go up a division.

Another home game for ladies 1s next week against Timperley.

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 5 Keele University Men’s 1s 1

In their second game of the weekend, Whitchurch faced Keele University 1s knowing that the previous match had ended 3-3 after Keele had grabbed two late goals, so had to be conscious of maintaining fitness and concentration throughout the 70 minutes. Given the good physical effort put in the previous day, but also aware of the multiple areas of concern that it had highlighted, the Reds knew they would have a tough job ahead of them, and so it was to be after some early pressure from Keele gave them an early goal with Paul “Sturge” Leigh unable to keep out a sharp strike.

However, rather than let their heads drop or repeat the mistakes from the previous day, Whitchurch settled quickly; the tiredness from Saturday worked in their favour, as they moved the ball well rather than trying to run with it, and communication was far improved too. Some smart movement up the left side of the pitch and a drive into the dee was stopped by a foul which gave the Reds a penalty stroke which was unfortunately very well saved, but the momentum had shifted. A short corner soon after was passed wide to Pip Jones whose strike bobbled past everyone and into the goal, and the forward line of Tom Forster, Craig Hockenhull, Fred Egerton and Ben Kimberley applied constant pressure for the rest of the half.

Going in to half time at 1-1, but with the momentum, meant the half-time talk was about continuing to do the good things well, to move off the ball ready for the pass, and to call for each other, and these had an immediate effect; the defence was well-marshalled by Danny Foulkes and Dale Seymour, and Airan Jones had another good game on the left driving up the pitch and beating the opposition more often than not. Alex Fry had another strong game in the middle, making good runs and critical tackles, and Jack Barnes and Marcus Conway continued to have game-changing impact. James Partington played on both sides of the pitch and was given the task of moving up with the ball to give the central line of Barnes, Fry and Conway the time to push up and make runs, and it was this structure that helped Whitchurch get their second: Partington took a quick free hit just inside the Keele half to Conway who quickly slipped it to Kimberley who was unmarked in the dee and slotted the shot away with confidence.

Another goal followed from some flowing movement up the centre of the pitch before the ball was fired at Pip Jones on the back post who calmly put it past the keeper. This was followed by some excellent and unselfish work by Airan Jones playing down the right as he drove towards the dee but, instead of trying a shot past the approaching keeper, slipped it to his left where Kimberley was again unmarked to pick up his second. The final goal was another piece of confident skill as a short corner went to Barnes at the top of the dee who slipped the ball right, and then right again before it was fired back at Barnes who buried it in the net.

As much as Saturday’s game was frustrating, Sunday’s was impressive; a team playing for each other, doing the basics right and celebrating a deserved win against a good team. Whitchurch are away next week against Bowden Mens 5s.

Match Reports 16/02/19

The ladies 1s entertained Neston 3s at home on a sunny Saturday.  Whitchurch stared the quicker of the two teams and took the ball to Neston with a lot of the possession down the right with Ellie Windsor and Jessica Carruthers creating a number of early chances that forced the best out of the Neston keeper.

The midfield of Lisa Sullivan, Hebe Dixon and Catherine Winter-Gresty dropped deeper to support the defence as Neston fought back and opened the scoring from a short corner. Whitchurch’s team without subs started to tire against Neston’s young squad of 15 in the heat.  Some assertive runs up the right by Sophie Ward and Winter-Gresty created a run of short corners for Whitchurch but Neston defended well. Whitchurch continued to pressure and were rewarded as Lisa Sullivan and Captain Winter-Gresty drove down the centre of the pitch and picked out Jessica Carruthers on the post to equalise. Neston came back and were awarded a run of shorts and from which they scored a second. Whitchurch w ere soon back on equal terms as Hebe Dixon picked out Carruthers for her second.

Defenders Emma Harper and Catherine Reece-Gresty kept frustrating the Neston attack but Neston had fresh feet and as Whitchurch tired they scored a third goal. Whitchurch kept going to the final whistle but just couldn’t capitalise on their pressure. Hebe Dixon was named as player’s player.

Bowden Ladies 6s 0 Whitchurch Ladies 2s 3

Whitchurch ladies 2s travelled away to Bowden with a strong attacking team.

The game started in the ideal fashion as Whitchurch took the lead straight from the push back as Sue Read passed to Molly Fry then to Becky Brookfield and her cross was turned in at the back post by Jess Kimberley. Bowden rallied and the defence of Captain Emma Clarke, Ellie McEvoy and Chloe Lloyd held firm ably supported by some jaw dropping saves from keeper Beth Wright.
Great passing and some wonderful tactical short corners all contributed to a second goal from Sue Read latching onto the end of a strike from Nicola Forster. Whitchurch battled on creating some great long corners opportunities led by Molly Fry and Amelie Morris through to the half time break.
The second half started slower leaving Whitchurch open to the Bowden attack but this was handled beautifully by the Whitchurch defence.
Runs from Emily Vernon and Hayley Busby led to a goal mouth scrabble in the Bowden dee and a fantastic slap straight into the goal from Sue Read to secure Whitchurch a valued three points.
Whitchurch finally ended a frustrating run of form and look forward to recommencing the final part of the season after a break next week.

Whitchurch Men’s 1s 1 Birkenhead Men’s 1s 1

Whitchurch went into the game against the run away league leaders following on from some mixed performances and results in previous weeks.

Birkenhead took the game to Whitchurch from the start with quick passing and strong tackling trying to assert an early dominance over Whitchurch. Whitchurch rode their luck in the early stages as the defence of Fred Egerton, Danny Foulkes, James Partington and Airon Jones ably supported by goalkeeper Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh were forced into last chance tackles and saves but despite all their pressure Birkenhead failed to take their opportunities.

Whitchurch started to settle and gain more of the ball; this allowed Alex Fry to have an outstanding game in the centre of the pitch controlling everything good that Whitchurch did. The midfield of Sam Conway, David Brunyard and Jack Barnes worked continuously; rotating to keep up the intensity in the midfield and with the pace of Tom Forster and Ben Kimberley on the wings Whitchurch always looked capable of catching Birkenhead on the break.

As Birkenhead failed to capitalise on their chances frustration grew and a number of poor tackles and verbal exchanges saw the umpire’s patience run out and a number of cards shown. This seemed to affect the Birkenhead side more than it affected the Whitchurch team and as a physical and tactical battle continued both teams cancelled each other out at the break.

The second half saw much of the same until Birkenhead until broke the deadlock with a penalty corner that came off Surge’s helmet looped onto the post and past the stranded defender.

Whitchurch continued to battle hard and won a number of penalty corners and were unlucky as Craig Hockenhull deflected narrowly wide of the goal. Marcus Conway took the game to the Birkenhead defence and blazed a shot from the edge of the dee just over the crossbar.

Whitchurch finally were rewarded for their efforts as again they won a penalty corner and Jack Barnes drag flicked a blistering shot into the top corner.

Again the game got heated and the umpires kept control with cards for both sides and at the end Whitchurch earned a valuable point against a team that has only dropped three points in the last three seasons.

Match reports 09/02/19

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 3 Neston Men’s 8s 2

After a heavy defeat away at Neston earlier in the season, Whitchurch were hoping to turn the tables when Neston arrived at SJT with a much younger team than they fielded in the first match.

Whitchurch began with a focus on defence trying to frustrate the Neston players. Without any substitutes the away team soon began to tire and the Reds soon began to string together some good passes resulting in some great opportunities. Euan Morris was receiving lots of passes from Luke Beddow, Ethan Gresty and Joe Coburn resulting in plenty of shots on goal, two of which narrowly missed the post.

The game was starting to heat up and the away side couldn’t get the ball out of their half, with their through balls being blocked by the Whitchurch defence. Good play from Will Snaith started a dangerous run up the left which was continued by Luke Beddow but unfortunately didn’t result in a goal. Buoyed by the vocal support from the sidelines, Jacob Buckeridge played a good pass down the wing to Euan Morris, who dribbled along the touchline and crossed for Owen Pearce to score a debut goal and put the home side 1-0 ahead.

Neston fought back with long balls forward towards their speedy players, but all danger was quickly cleared by Brendan Coburn and Wyn Morris in defence. Eventually, however, Brendan was caught in a 1v1 with the Neston striker and after evaluating the situation he decided his best option was to just bulldoze the visiting player … resulting in a penalty flick. Unfortunately, despite the miss-hit flick, the ball went straight between keeper Gareth Teggin’s legs and was near impossible for Gareth to save.

Neston rode the high from their equalizing goal and produced a quick succession of strong attacks. After a foul in the dee the away team won a series of short corners which were well defended by the Reds. But Neston soon took the lead when they struck on the counter attack and after another scramble in the Whitchurch dee.

Whitchurch kept their heads up and, with great captaincy from Richard Leigh, struck back to equalise. A free hit near the edge of the Neston dee found its way to Wyn Morris who slammed the ball into the goal.

With minutes remaining, Whitchurch were soon on the attack again. Once again, Euan Morris jinked his way into the visitor’s dee and unselfishly passed to Luke Beddow who scored with a great finish to make the score 3-2.

This was another excellent performance from the young Whitchurch team. Owen Pearce crowned a good debut with a goal and Alex Leigh was excellent in defence in his first senior game. Joe Faithfull provided energy in midfield and Joe Coburn continued to provide steel and guile in midfield. Luke Beddow thoroughly deserved his goal for his excellent contributions in the past couple of games and it was great to see “golden oldie” Wyn Morris score his first goal, although what he was doing in the attacking dee is anybody’s guess!

The Men’s 2s now have a couple of weekends off before they travel to Oxton 5s on 2nd March.

Deeside Rambler Ladies 3s 1 Whitchurch Ladies 1s 3

Whitchurch Ladies 1s faced local rivals Deeside Ramblers 3s for a top of the league decider match last Saturday.

Deeside’s young, 16 strong squad appeared to dominate the game from the outset with many balls turned over from each Whitchurch attack. Opportunities to score by the forwards Stephanie Stanton, Izzy Huxley and Ellie Windsor were not converted, allowing Deeside to take an early lead with a break past the Whitchurch defence with their striker scoring a convincing goal from the top of the dee.

Whitchurch mid-fielders Hebe Dixon, Lisa Sullivan and Catherine Winter-Gresty were forced to continually join the defensive line of Helen Mellor, Millie Edwards, Catherine Reece-Gresty and Sophie Ward, as Deeside’s tactics of closing down every ball on the Whitchurch stick put the whole team under pressure resulting in several penalty corners successfully defended by goalkeeper Maddy Sugden.

The half time team talk by Captain Catherine Winter-Gresty focused on the need to turn the tables on the opposition, this proved to pay dividends as the dynamic Lisa Sullivan took hold of the centre field allowing for better distribution of the ball amongst the Whitchurch attack.  This created scoring opportunities as the first Whitchurch goal came from a big hit from Sullivan from the top of the dee, this hit the Deeside goalie’s pads allowing Helena Dannenfeldt to score off the rebound.

This equaliser gave the Whitchurch players the boost needed to take control of the game, Hebe Dixon quickly increased the score with the first of two, running in to the Deeside dee and hitting a reverse stick hit past the keeper up into the net. This was followed by her second goal instigated from a build up by Sophie Ward, Ellie Windsor and finally a pass by Izzy Huxley, which Dixon flicked around the keeper.

The final score line was 3-1 to Whitchurch and a top of the table ranking in Cheshire League’s Division 3, secured for another week.

Whitchurch ladies 3s 2 Triton Ladies 3s 2

Whitchurch ladies 3s hosted the match against Triton ladies 3s this week.

After winning first push Whitchurch attacked strongly and after a few minutes Captain Wendy Cooper attempted to open the scoring but her shot went wide of the goal. Whitchurch continued to push forward with a large amount of possession but attempts to score by Nikki Forster and Sue Read came close but to no avail.

Whitchurch were awarded several short corners from which Nina Hodges managed to score from putting Whitchurch a goal ahead. Triton then caught Whitchurch off guard and managed to equalise just before half time.

Whitchurch took the lead in the early stages of the second half with another goal from Nina Hodges which earned her player of the match. Whitchurch demonstrated a strong attack throughout the match with some excellent tackles and passes from Kate Buckeridge, Millie Carruthers, Mia Spruce and Laura Workman. Annie Buckeridge played an excellent game providing a strong attack throughout the match.

Whitchurch’s defence were strong with some excellent clearances from keeper Beth Wright supported by Mel Reid and Emily Lister, but triton managed to equalise.

Whitchurch were pleased with their efforts and hard work and travel to Bowden 7’s next week.

Brooklands Men’s 6s 5 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 1

Whitchurch travelled to the centre of Manchester for an early game against Brooklands without several regular players.

Brooklands started the game the quicker of the two teams and quickly scored three goals as Whitchurch struggled to find their feet. Whitchurch started to settle and spread the ball around and started to get more possession in the midfield with Jack Barnes, Alex Fry and Ben Kimberley. Whitchurch started to string together passes and pressure the Brooklands defence with Ben Kimberley forcing a fine save from the keeper. Whitchurch were awarded several short corners and from one of these Craig Hockenhull deflected in Barnes shot.

For long periods Whitchurch were in the game but unforced errors and the clinical finishing of Brooklands took the game away from them as Brooklands finished the half 4-0 up.

The second half saw the makeshift defence of Dale Seymour and Danny Foulkes start to settle as a partnership ably supported by Airon Jones and Fred Egerton. Whitchurch created chances but were let down in the final third as they struggled with their final passing around the dee.

Tom Forster and Sam Conway worked tirelessly on the wings but it was just not Whitchurch’s day and despite a number of brilliant saves by Whitchurch goalkeeper Paul ‘Sturge’ Leigh Brooklands scored another two in the second half.

Match reports 26/01/19

Macclesfield Men’s 3s 5 Whitchurch Men’s 1s 4

Whitchurch returned to action after an extended winter break, having lost three practice sessions to frozen pitches and a game against a team who have since dropped out of the league, and unfortunately it showed against a Macclesfield team at the lower end of the division. A lack of match fitness, and a well-drilled display from Macclesfield, meant that Whitchurch were slow to start, and it cost them as an attack down the right came off Jack Barnes’ foot in front of the goal, and they scored from the subsequent penalty stoke.

The Reds were able to regroup and moved the ball better to recapture some of the simple hockey from the first part of the season, and a drive up the left side-line was crossed by Sam Conway to Nick Cooper who put a simple tap-in away to level the scores. Macclesfield responded quickly, which some good stick skills and quick movement ending in a ball being driven hard into the dee and a striker at the top just laying his stick down for an unstoppable deflection.

Play settled then for large periods, but Whitchurch lacked the finesse on the ball, with first-touches going awry and passes stopping short or getting intercepted, and despite some excellent work by Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal, Macclesfield were able to grab another from open play, getting through Whitchurch’s defences all too easily. At half-time, with the score line at 1-3, Whitchurch knew they had some work to do in the second half, and Captain Alex Fry’s team-talk was about just improving the basics, and taking more care with the ball.

The second half was much better, with Barnes picking up the ball and driving diagonally across most of the pitch before passing to Conway, who in turn laid it off to Cooper who got his second with another tap-in. His third followed shortly afterwards, with supply from Craig Hockenhull this time. Control and movement were much better, and Tom Forster, Fred Egerton and Ben Kimberley provided width and movement in the Macclesfield half, and Danny Foulkes, Steve Kay, James Partington and Airan Jones held the defence with more composure than in the first half, and confidence was high for a positive result – especially when Alex Fry buried a first-strike from a short corner just past the keeper’s right boot.

However, it was not to be: as Whitchurch tired, Macclesfield attacked, and a drive into the dee bounced off a diving Sturge before the follow-up strike went in. Another drive forward sent a ball towards the Whitchurch dee, bobbling over the outstretched stick of Barnes, who was covering the defence, and was collected and put away by Macclesfield. Despite three consecutive short corners at the final whistle, the Reds just couldn’t find the final touch which would have levelled the scores, and finished agonisingly 4-5 down. Whitchurch are at home next week against Keele University, when they will need to ensure that the basics are back in place for a tough match against a team who drew 3-3 last time in a closely-balanced encounter.

Whitchurch ladies 2s 1 Deeside ladies 4s 1

On Saturday 26th January, Whitchurch ladies 2s played host to Deeside Ramblers 4s, who they drew with at their last meeting.  After a run of defeats Whitchurch were up for a win.

After a slow warm up, Whitchurch switched on at the whistle.  Captain Emma Clarke chose to run into the wind in the first half, but this didn’t affect the determination of the team from the off.  Although Deeside took the first push back, it was easily intercepted by Molly Fry, who drove the ball through the centre of the pitch picking out Becky Brookfield and onto Jess Kimberley who narrowly missed the goal. This was the way Whitchurch were going to play the whole game with attacking determination.

Whitchurch kept up this strong attack for much of the first half Deeside did have a quick break into the Whitchurch dee which goalkeeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees quickly dealt with. The formidable defence of Emma Clarke and Chloe Lloyd were having an effect on the Deeside attack and this led to frustration and Deeside being reduced to ten after comments to the umpires.  During this time Whitchurch fought to benefit from Deeside’s reduced numbers, winning a short corner but as with Whitchurch’s luck this season failing to convert.

One of the most effective set plays for Whitchurch took place in the first half, Deeside had a free hit in Whitchurch’s 25, but with Whitchurch marking Deeside had to play backwards to gain any space and time on the ball. Amelie Morris and Phoebe Jones on the right caused the Deeside defence issues throughout the match creating opportunities for the Whitchurch side.

Whitchurch finally took the lead towards the end of the first half from a short corner.  Tracy Tolhurst injected to Becky Brookfield at the top of the dee, who struck the ball at goal for Tolhurst to deflect in and give Whitchurch the lead at half time.

After a strong team talk Whitchurch lined up for the second half with the wind and rain behind them.  However, Deeside had chance to regroup and came out on the offensive.  In a moment of disorganisation by Whitchurch defence Deeside took their opportunity and scored an equalising goal.

This speared Deeside on and only some fine defending by Ellie McEvoy and Beth Wright on the left kept the scores level. Deeside didn’t have it all their way, Whitchurch built up their attack from the back linking moves through Ellie McEvoy, Emily Vernon, Tolhurst and Kimberley into the dee.

Whitchurch had their best opportunity to take the lead when awarded a penalty flick but unfortunately, they failed to capitalise. Deeside pushed a winning goal in the later stages of the match but the defence held strong keeping out a number of shots.

The match ended one all and Whitchurch gave  everything to win the point against a strong Deeside team. Player’s player went to Keeper Gwyn Thomas-Rees.

Next week Whitchurch 2s travel to Brooklands.

Whitchurch Men’s 2s 1 Golborne Men’s 3s 1

When Whitchurch travelled to Golborne for their first game of the season, back in September, they ended up on the end of an 8-0 hammering. Although the 2s had some good moments, Golborne were vastly superior that day, so Saturday’s visit to SJT by the Warrington side was going to be a good gauge of how far the young and relatively inexperienced 2s squad had progressed over the course of the season.

That progress was demonstrated early in the first half. After an even opening few minutes, where Golborne has dominated territory and possession but Whitchurch had looked threatening on the counter, Whitchurch opened the scoring with an incisive breakaway goal. Neat passing through midfield found Luke Beddow in good space on the left, his clever pass found Euan Morris in the dee, and as Euan drew the keeper of his line he unselfishly squared the ball for Richard Leigh to fire into the unguarded goal.

Boosted by their early goal, Whitchurch started to dominate the game and spent a lot of time camped in the visitors’ half. Joe Coburn, Paul Humphries, Dave Mitchell-Lane and Pip Jones were providing quality possession in the middle of the pitch and with Luke Beddow and Joe Faithfull stretching the Golborne defence, by taking up good positions on the flanks. As gaps began to appear, the 2s were able to fashion some good shooting chances.

The Warrington side were always a threat on the counterattack and the Whitchurch defenders had to be on their toes. Brendan Coburn did well dealing with the threat down the Golborne left, and Doug Buckeridge and Mark Sugden were stifling any danger coming through the middle of the pitch. The visitors did win a succession of short corners midway through the half, but a combination of Wyn Morris’ brave running and blocks, and some great stops from keeper Gareth Teggin preserved the 1-0 lead until halftime.

The second half was the complete opposite of the first. Following a reshuffle, Golborne took control of the game and Whitchurch found it difficult to maintain possession. Like last week, the Reds really struggled to deal with opposition players picking the ball up deep in their own half and just running straight down the centre of the pitch. The Golborne attacks became more threatening and despite the midfield and wingers, Ethan Gresty and Will Snaith, tracking back to help the defenders, Gareth Teggin was forced to make another couple of excellent stops to preserve the team’s one goal lead.

Whitchurch did have their moments and threatened to increase their lead. Great play from Euan Morris saw him beat the last defender and run clean through on goal, but the keeper made a good stop, and Richard Leigh went close twice at the back post from short corner routines. Alas the home team couldn’t quite fashion that second goal.

Ultimately the failure to extend the lead proved costly. As Whitchurch’s defending became more and more desperate in the closing stages of the match, the visitors won another succession of short corners and despite the dogged defending, a ricochet off a defenders stick fell kindly for Golborne to equalise at the back post.

Both teams then looked to charge forward looking for a late winner and Golborne thought they’d got it with seconds left in the game, but to their annoyance and Whitchurch’s relief the goal was ruled out for a swinging stick in the build-up. The Reds managed to see out the remaining seconds for a satisfying 1-1 draw.

Using the two performances against Golborne as a gauge there has been clear development in the quality of hockey from this team. All of the young players are making valuable contributions, although this week special mentions to Luke Beddow and Joe Faithfull who had excellent games on the wings, providing useful width in attack but also real application to get back and defend when Whitchurch were under pressure. It was also great to welcome Pip Jones back to competitive hockey; his strength and experience really helping the team to take the game to Golborne in the first half and survive the onslaught in the second period.

Next up for the 2s is an away friendly to Sandbach 3s on Saturday 2nd February.

Winnington Park Ladies 2s 2 Whitchurch ladies 1s 8

Both teams got off to a strong start with the first 10 minutes remaining a stale mate with lots of attacking down both ends of the pitch and a few missed opportunities from both sides. Soon though, Whitchurch found an opening with a deflected goal past the keeper from Helena Dannenfeldt. This really motivated Whitchurch with lots of crucial runs through the middle from Lisa Sullivan and lots of strong runs from Ellie Windsor on the wing leading to more chances and soon these paid off with two more goals from Dannenfeldt again in quick succession for her second hattrick in as many matches.

The final 10 minutes of the half Whitchurch began to tire, as they had no subs, meaning Winnington began putting more pressure on our defence but with some strong tackles from Catherine Reece-Gresty and immaculate clearances from Millie Edwards to get rid of the danger leaving the score 3-0 to Whitchurch going into the half-time break.

Whitchurch resumed the game very strongly with lots of attack down the left hand side from Helen Mellor, soon leading to some short corners, one of which was dribbled through the defence by Hebe Dixon for Whitchurch’s 4th of the match.

Whitchurch kept up the momentum with some beautiful runs from Sophie Ward to get on the end of some long balls to drive the attack. This soon led to another goal with Dannenfeldt setting up Dixon for her second. After going 5-0 up, Whitchurch began to lose their heads allowing Winnington to gain some short corners which were well rehearsed, but Edwards and Ward managed to keep the ball out.

Finally, Winnington got their reward after a lapse in concentration by Whitchurch led to a counter attack goal. Whitchurch soon regained focus and, shortly after, Izzy Huxley got rewarded for her brilliant positioning throughout the game with a deflection through the keeper’s legs at the far post. Whitchurch remained strong winning some short corners which eventually led to a goal from captain Cath Gresty to set the scores at 8-1.

In the final few minutes, it was evident that Whitchurch were in need of a fresh pair of legs after a full hour of pretty intense hockey meaning Winnington could gain some valuable corners. Although some great shots were kept out with more killer saves from keeper Maddy Sugden, one managed to slip past the defenders putting the final score at 8-2. This is a great and crucial win for Whitchurch and player of the match was awarded to Helena Dannenfeldt.

Whitchurch ladies 3s 0 Eirias Ladies 1’s 10

Whitchurch had fielded a strong team and against the run-away league leaders who had scored 100+ goals in the league before Christmas. Having lost to them away 0-9 earlier in the season, Whitchurch were hopeful to get a closer score line this time as they had travelled to Whitchurch. However, Eirias broke quickly with fast, hard hitting passes which despite the valiant defence of Emily Hilton, Wendy Cooper and Emily Lister, they managed to score three quick goals in the first 15 minutes.

It was the first time Whitchurch had started a match in the rain this season and we were soon soaked to the skin but at least this week Louise Cottrell in goal was kept busy and was warm! Caitlin Edwards, Gwyn Thomas-Rees and Edina Jones linked up well on the right-hand side driving forward and tracking back well to help the defence. Nikki Foster made some excellent runs down the middle picking up some hard-hit outs by Emily Hilton, both attempting to get the ball to Annie Buckeridge in the dee but unfortunately the supporting attack couldn’t get there fast enough to help her out. Eirias were very fast on the counter attack and managed to score another 4 goals making the score 0-7 to the away team at half time.

After a rousing team talk by captain Wendy Cooper at half time, Whitchurch started quickly, and Kate Buckeridge tried to use the waterlogged pitch to her advantage hoping no one would follow her into the puddles on the left wing and managed to get a few passes to Laura Workman near the dee but Eirias were fast to clear the ball to their waiting attacking players.

Despite some magnificent saves by Louise Cottrell and brave tackling in the dee, Eiras managed to score a further 3 goals bringing the final score to 0-10.

The umpires decided that the game should be abandoned 20 minutes into the 2nd half due to the waterlogged pitch but enough of the game was played for the result to stand.

Although Whitchurch were sad to lose by double figures they did ourselves proud by running to the point of exhaustion in very tricky conditions. Emily Lister was nominated ‘Players player’.