report by Jo Price
This long awaited top of the table clash did not disappoint. This week the home team fielded a youthful side comprising seven junior players and started at a fast pace. Within minutes a hard-struck ball through the centre from sweeper Zoe Griffiths was beautifully deflected by Vic BL into the roof of the net. Encouraged by the speed of the score against strong opposition the home side transferred confidently around the back unit of Ellie Haberlin, Zoe G, Jo Price, Liv Richardson and Sally Hames and fielded well to their midfield line. Tabs, Helena, Megan & Julie were bossing the middle and were rewarded when a well-timed run from Helena on the left produced goal number 2 with a push inside the left post producing a satisfying thud on the backboard.
The second goal appeared to galvanise H&W and finding some rhythm began to have more success driving through the midfield, making some inroads into the home D and applying pressure on the stalwart HS defence. A good movement from their forward line pulled our defence out of position creating an opportunity for their LF to neatly slip the ball inside the near post and we finished the first half with the match finely poised at 2-1.
In the second half both sides tussled well to gain control of the midfield. The opposition had now got the bit between their teeth and were playing a faster, more fluent game which made for an exciting finale. There were some great exchanges with clinical defending from Hotshots, on several occasions displaying good two-touch hockey out from the back. With 15 minutes to go Captain Jo Price limped off the pitch and we were down to 13. Despite a few bruising encounters with Liv momentarily winded and most players grateful to take a breather, our strong combo held fast with Caitlin HC weaving her magic to score goal number 3. Despite several PCs against us and missing several defenders, we were well prepared this week and with Caitlin HC running out at number 1, valiantly snuffed out any chance of the visitors scoring.
The game ended on a strange note with the travelling umpire blowing the whistle just as HS had earned a PC and walking off the pitch before we could take it! Nevertheless, this did not detract from a great win against strong rivals. Next up, Mightygate.