The Womens indoor team had some solid preparation behind them from two weeks worth of training as we headed to compete in the London League at Whitgift School on 18th December. Knowing the men had lifted the trophy the evening before gave us extra fire in our bellies to do the same.
We started the day well with a great team performance against our first opposition of the day, West Herts, winning 7-0, with 5 different scorers.
With only a 30 minute rest before our next match we continued our clean sheet and winning streak to defeat Old Cranleighans 2-0 and a strong Wapping side 3-0.
Next up was the toughest opponents of the day, and old rivals Barnes, who pipped us to outdoor promotion last season. It was a tight game against an opposition who had several indoor premier level experienced players, and after going 1-0 up, we then conceded our first goal of the tournament to a well-rehearsed and strong drag flick. We then scored again and we battled to level them, with both teams scoring again in quick succession to win the tightly contested game 3-2.
Our final game of the day was against a strong and well drilled Spencer side, but thanks to the experience of our coach, Rob Schilling, we were able to alter our tactics to expose their team and score some fantastic team goals, winning our last game 4-0. We topped the table having scored a healthy 19 goals and only conceding 2.
But apparently that wasn’t enough to top the table, we had to play a final with 1 v 2 of the table. And second were our rivals, Barnes, who were now a player down due to injury. This meant they played the good old ‘park the bus’ tactic which in indoor, makes it very very difficult to score. The game followed a very similar pattern to earlier in the day, we went 1-0 up, they equalised, we then managed to score a fantastic goal, and with 2 minutes to go, they equalised. This meant we went to shuffles and sadly lost the league and thus promotion to Division 2. This was absolutely gutting as we had been the best team there and played superb indoor hockey throughout the day, learning and progressing from game to game.
However, this has now established the foundations for our future indoor ladies programme and with a year’s London league experience under the belt for the team (with many not having played any indoor before) we are well positioned to aim for promotion again next season, more experienced and driven, as well as making sure we don’t feel the same at the end of the outdoor season! Even more fire in the belly now.