Meeting the 2022 winners, who come with a formidable reputation, was always going to be a daunting prospect. An away tie with four of our regulars missing only added to the challenge. Fresh from the station at Bristol Parkway our train contingent linked up with the rest of the team and headed for the UWE pitch to gain first sight of our opposition. Their long, thorough warm-up told us quite a lot about what we were going to be up against.
Both teams started fairly cautiously but Flutes initially found it harder to get the ball out of their half. We eventually found a way to break through on the right and create a couple of chances across the D but could not get a shot on goal due to their solid defence. It also became apparent that their excellent play through the middle would make it very difficult for the midfield to take a high line in support of our forwards, with their first goal coming courtesy of a sharp counter attack. Redlands now began to push forward with determination forcing us to play in a more defensive mode.
We defended well breaking down wave after wave of attack but eventually something had to give and they scored their second. The goals did not come thick and fast but in more of a trickle and their small but vocal band of supporters began their ‘Green Army’ chants. We strove relentlessly to mount a counter attack but constantly found our efforts thwarted and several more goals put the home side well ahead.
In the second half we made a few positional changes in the hope of stemming the flow through the middle and were finally rewarded with a PC. A well struck shot from Caroline produced an equally good save from their keeper but we also began to tire and conceded a couple more goals under the constant pressure.
Although the score line looks like a whitewash we left it all out on the pitch and gave them a good match . They are a well drilled side used to playing with one another with good players and a few exceptional ones. If anyone has any doubt of the quality of play that a women’s master’s team can produce -this is the squad to watch- and am sure they will carry this form forward to capture their second successive title.
As for the Flutes – we enjoy playing together win or lose- our season is finished but we have plenty to look forward to with Masters hockey continuing over the summer and many of us playing in the regional tournaments over the next few months.
Finally a big thank you to our captain Lynn Bryden who despite being unable to play most of our matches after a substantial injury, has spent many hours administrating reminding and ensuring that we put a team out for every game this season.#🥂