The first weekend of the new season saw the Flutes back on the road for the first O-45s match of the new campaign. Despite the picturesque scenery of Thames Ditton and surrounding environs the travelling time always makes it a struggle to field a team for an away game at OCs. With Lynn away on holiday and despite injury, Kathy took on the mantle of organising and with a bit of help from some ‘friends’ – thank you Hils and Sarah- we were able to field 11 players.
We were able to secure a fair amount of possession during the first quarter but struggled initially to break into their D. With OCs maintaining a high player and subbing regularly from their bench they were looking dangerous on the break. However, it was against the run of play when a move down their right using some good interplay led to a neatly taken ball being squeezed past Hells , at a tight angle. This galvanised us into pushing higher and as the passes began to click we were able to create some chances in the box but were not able to take advantage of them. On occasions ,this left us a little exposed at the back and a well-struck ball through the middle enabled their front-runner through for a one-on-one against our keeper, which she duly dispatched.
This did not feel like a fair reflection of the play but did feel like a mountain to climb. However, Flutes never give up and we started stringing together some slick passes and were eventually rewarded when our newest recruit Francine drove through the middle dispatching a hard ball to Claire at the left post connecting brilliantly to volley home in spectacular fashion. Game on!
Great advice from Elaine (also injured) and Kathy at half-time gave us self-belief at the start of the second half. There were a few hairy moments when the oppo were able to find their high player and the defence were called upon to make some last ditch tackles – which they dealt with admirably. However, we continued to push hard producing some gorgeous linking moves all over the pitch during the final quarter – also not conceding any PCs throughout the whole game. This sustained pressure in their D was eventually rewarded when Hils moved decisively into the box sweeping the ball through the legs of the oncoming keeper. Buoyed by our success we fought hard to find a winner but, at this stage, lack of subs told with the game finishing in a draw but one that felt like a win.
An excellent team performance and plenty of candidates for POM but our winner was new SG player Francine in her first Flutes game. Her solid defence, slick link play and assist on the first goal getting the nod. Also a big shout-out to our injured players, Kathy for her organisation and to her and Elaine for coaching and support on the side. Finally, to Annette for playing 2 games on a weekend after 5 months off after shoulder surgery and looking as if she had never been away!
Next game – 15th October at home v Teddington Flamingoes.