Category Archives: Men’s Section

National Lockdown: Latest updates

As a committee we first hope you are all keeping well and continue to through this difficult period.

Over the last week we had been discussing whether we could resume hockey on Wednesday 6th January as a Tier 3 club and there were valid arguments on both sides. Sadly, this decision has been made for us after the announcement of another national lock down last night.

The 2020/21 season has been up and down and I am sure we are all glad that we have been able to have some time on the pitch together.

Hopefully with the role out of vaccines the situation will have improved over the coming months.

We hope you and your families stay safe and well, best wishes.

WHC Committee

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.

Match reports 17/10/20

With the Men’s 1s having no game and the 2s postponed due to COVID travel restrictions it was left to the ladies this weekend.

Warrington ladies 1s 3 Whitchurch ladies 1s 4

The ladies 1s travelled away to play Warrington 1s this Saturday in what turned out to be an equal sided game.  Whitchurch started play with great control and passing around the Warrington players having majority of the play. Any possession was quickly intercepted by Anna Latham and Sophie Ward. The reds quickly won a short corner, Hebe Dixon and Sarah Field passing accurately to each other several times for Field to score.

Warrington fought back with a goal from a short corner too. Then it was back to Whitchurch with Kezzie Hutchings and Chloe Lloyd pushing hard up the pitch for captain Catherine Winter-Gresty to drive the base line and fire into Sarah Field who calmly slot past the keeper. Warrington before the half time whistle scored again from a well-practiced short corner.

Half time 2-2, a quick rest a team talk and Whitchurch set up as the start, Izzy Huxley and Stephanie Stanton collecting passes high up the pitch, keeping plenty of play in the Warrington half, Hayleigh Busby received the ball from Dixon and picked out Field for their third. Keeper Maddy Sugden had her work cut out saving many shots as again Warrington pushed forward and scored a third goal from open play.

Whitchurch needed this win and continued to have some great movement up the pitch, a last push for Whitchurch as Millie Edwards passed down the pitch to Sophie Ward who scored their winning goal.

A relief for Whitchurch as the whistle went for a 4-3 win.

Timperley ladies 6s 5 Whitchurch ladies 3s 0

Whitchurch travelled to Altrincham to face a newly formed Timperley team who are currently undefeated and top of the table. They had some very experienced players but Whitchurch held their own with some driving attacks led by centre forward Annie Buckeridge and Amelie Morris at right inner. Kate Buckeridge struggled at left inner to get the ball to Sasha Preece running down the left wing due to the superb pressure from the Timperley defence but the Whitchurch halves, Eryn Cookson on the left, Jan Teggin on the right and Nicky Barber in the centre proved equal to the task firing the ball back into the attacking dee for the forwards to run onto.

In defence, Tabitha Leonard on the right and Emily Lister on the left did a sterling job clearing the Timperley attacks and were backed up by the superb keeping skills of Louise Cottrell who denied some hard strikes of the ball in the Whitchurch dee with both stick and feet. Bella Morris and Heidi Carr linked up well holding the ball on the right supported by some superb tackling and passes from Teggin but after 15 minutes the pressure proved too great and Timperley eventually broke free and scored a good unstoppable goal tight on the left post.

Undeterred by going a goal down, Barber and Cookson tackled hard and prevented many more attacks feeding Buckeridge’s and Morris’s alike through the middle. Unfortunately, Timperley broke free after 10 minutes and scored another scrappy goal despite the sprawling attempts of Cottrell to save it. So stretched was she that she literally fell apart and it took a few minutes and some help to be put back together. This 2nd goal gave Timperley confidence and they went on to score another well-orchestrated hard hit goal shortly before half time, leaving the score 3 – 0.

The second half saw equal possession between the two teams and Whitchurch won a few short corners spurred on from the rousing cheering from the travelling ‘Leonard support team’. Timperley proved very experienced in their defence and tackling skills denying Whitchurch several shots on goal. Barber and Cookson were relentless in their tackles and determination to be first to the ball in midfield allowing Whitchurch to drive through the middle and giving Morris a fine hit right on the edge of the dee into the Timperley goal. This caused debate between umpires whether it was touched by a Whitchurch player inside the dee but unfortunately the goal was ruled out. An injury to a Timperley player unsettled the Whitchurch attack and they drove through the middle to gain a 4th goal against the run of play.

At the final pushback, Annie Buckeridge showed excellent stick skills turning and running forward through the tight Timperley defence linking with both Morris sisters before running into the Timperley dee. Once one on one with the keeper she narrowly missed a link up pass to the right to Bella Morris. Carr showed great tenacity on the left getting ahead of the Timperley players and linking up passes with Morris and Cookson but Timperley drove forward and Kate Buckeridge unluckily conceded a short corner with a kick on the edge of the dee resulting in a fifth goal for Timperley. The last 10 minutes of the game saw most of the possession with Whitchurch and it was felt that a goal would come in time but for the final whistle preventing further play. A valiant effort by all players and making their captain Teggin very proud.

Player’s player was Amelie Morris.

 

Whitchurch ladies 2s 3 Alderley Edge ladies 7s 4

Buoyed on by their success travelling to Macclesfield last week, Whitchurch ladies 2s were looking forward to taking on newly demoted Alderley Edge. With an extremely depleted team, Whitchurch took to the pitch with no keeper and no subs, what we did have was a team who were willing to pull together and support each other.

Head Coach Alex Fry was on hand to advise player positions, lining the team up in a strong attacking formation. Defenders Emma Clarke and Catherine Reece-Gresty pushed forward squashing the Alderley Edge players into their half, with Jess Kimberley sweeping any balls which made it through. Whitchurch started strong, with three short corners in the first 5 minutes and were unlucky not to convert them.

Whitchurch kept up constant pressure in Alderley Edge with Molly Fry in middle playing the ball through to her sister Amy Fry who interacted with Ellie Pearson all showing their skills and precision passing. When Alderley Edge were able to make a break against play, they were stopped by halves Holly Gilbert and Ellie Windsor, but managed to secure a short corner. Whitchurch have a good reputation for defending short corners, but without a keeper Alderley Edge were able to slot the ball through the Whitchurch players feet and score their first goal.

Whitchurch did not let their heads go down, keeping the pressure up using the left side of the pitch with Tracey Pearson and Amelie Morris playing confidently in their regular positions working well with Nicola Forster up front. Alderley Edge made sure Whitchurch’s defence were put under pressure constantly, but the ball was kept well away from Whitchurch’s dee. Unfortunately the youthful legs of Alderley Edge proved too much for Whitchurch and they scored their second on a speedy break against play. Again Whitchurch refused to lie down. And it wasn’t long until they were finally rewarded for their efforts, Tracey Tolhurst reversed the ball to Ellie Pearson on the post and she put it in.

The second goal came shortly before the half time whistle from a short corner, scored by Nicola Forster which was slipped left from the top of the dee.
Our half time talk was supported by coach Alex, who helped with our technique. The whole team was exhausted but believed we could still win.

Unfortunately, the second half proved too much for Whitchurch, with Alderley Edge having three subs and a keeper we were under constant pressure. The team worked hard keeping the ball in the Alderley Edge half as much as possible but they knew the Whitchurch team were flagging and time took its toll, with two more goals being score by Alderley Edge early in the second half.

But there was no way Whitchurch was going to roll over, 5 minutes before the end of the match Molly Fry lead another break down the centre of the pitch, passing to Nicola Forster who swept past the keeper and slotted Whitchurch’s third goal of the match.

Even though we were exhausted Whitchurch pushed back at Alderley Edge chasing the draw, unfortunately it was not to be. The final whistle went and Whitchurch lost 3-4 to Alderley Edge.
Next week the ladies 2s travel to Sale.