This Saturday the L1s took on Newmarket 1s, a team that came down from Division 1 last season. After Robyn had had her captain’s armband personally delivered, and Blythe’s enforced pre-match positive mental attitude coaching, we were all ready to put the loss and poor performance last week behind us, and to get the promotion challenge back on track.
With the message from Robyn to score or win a short in the first five minutes, South pressed hard from the start. Laura Ludlow put South one-nil up after the first five minutes with a fantastic solo effort. After turning over the ball on the halfway line, and the highest South player on the pitch, she drove at pace all the way to the top of the D, before slotting it past the keeper.
Newmarket were playing fast two-touch hockey, and we matched them with our own sharp triangles and supporting play. We soon had a second on the scoresheet, with Kim coming on as a high forward and scoring in only her second game back after her (hockey) maternity leave! After effective build up play through the midfield, the ball reached Kim in the D, who pushed it past the keeper’s foot and had the Newmarket defenders scrambling to try and it clear off the line. To quote herself, she’s “Back in the game!”
Throughout the first half we had excellent moments of recycling possession and passing back, rather than driving forward into trouble, and transferring the ball from left to right, often through central players Robyn and Amalia. Alison Small finished off another great move from the South girls, in the perfect position on the post to knock the ball home. Three-nil up at half time and the message was to keep playing calm, purple-to-purple hockey, and to retain possession.
The second half was closer and, with some tired legs and a lapse in concentration, Newmarket pulled a goal back. Shortly after, Alice Wright restored the three goal cushion with a hit from the top of the D after intercepting a Newmarket defender’s pass. The defence of Robs, Blythe, Kim, Nicola, Hannah, Maddie and Emily shut down numerous Newmarket attacks, made interceptions and calmly distributed to the attacking players. Emily showed the Under-18 Cambridgeshire County Cricket skills are still there after an awesome block to Newmarket’s lifted shot at a short corner. Near to the end of the game, Alice W added our fifth goal with a strong strike to the bottom corner in one of our practised short corner moves.
Alice W and Laura shared joint man of the match rewards for their efforts in front of goal, and Alice W was voted Lemon after being shown how to put her astros on correctly and suddenly the pain disappeared (thanks, Hannah!) After a great team performance, the L1s finished happy to have bounced back so well after last week, with some good preparation before our trek up to Skegness next week.
Finally, happy eighteenth birthday to our normally default Lemon, Maddy! And most importantly, Maddy’s beautiful yet fragile cake, made by a gin-hazed Katie, made it to Long Road in one piece!