1st VIII v Mowden Hall
Wednesday 28th November
The squad: Hannah C (cpt), Hannah F (GK), Molly S, Amelie G, Eliza M, Rosie P, Emma SW & Mhairi B
You might have thought that the 1sts would have sought refuge while the 2nds were playing their game? Shelter from the driving, November rain, rain that was taking no prisoners. However, never to be beaten by the conditions, Hannah had her team out practicing and warming up, so by the time their game started at 1445, they were as drenched as we all were!
In all my years of coaching St. Mary's hockey teams (more than I care to remember), I cannot remember a game where I have been more impressed with my girls. Today, they were outstanding. Mowden were a good side. Skilful on the ball, positionally very astute and fit. However, they had no answer for the skill, speed, tenacity and teamwork of my girls. From the outset, pressure began to build on the Mowden defence. Within the first two minutes we had mounted three separate attacks on the Mowden goal, each culminating in shots just shaving the posts. Some fantastic goalkeeping continued to keep the score at 0 - 0 until about five minutes in, Mhairi, Eliza and Hannah worked the ball around the D and around the Mowden keeper to score the opening goal of the game.
For the next ten minutes the ball only ventured into the St. Mary's half a couple of times, each one being met by a purposeful and resilient clearance from Molly and Amelie. Hannah, in goal, was called to action during the first half a few times and dealt with everything confidently. At the other end, Hannah, Mhairi, Rosie, Eliza and Emma continued to pile the pressure on the Mowden goal and scored on a few occasions.
We made some adjustments to the girl's positions during the first half, which saw Amelie assume the role of striker, supported by Emma. This duo worked well and it wasn't long before Amelie showed some fantastic skill to put away her first goal of the afternoon.
We continued to change positions during the second half and I was thrilled to see the girls adapt to their new roles so efficiently. Rosie also got herself on the scorecard and Molly came close. What pleased me more however, was the confidence all eight girls showed on the ball. We maintained our width very effectively which allowed the girls time on the ball to lift their heads, survey their options and execute their pass or run. This happened time after time, continuously through the half. They linked well, worked back for the each other and had an answer for everything the Mowden team threw at them. Hannah F made some great saves towards the end of the game, shots at her from tight angles which she cleared wide with great confidence.
We called the second half short by ten minutes as the conditions by now had dampened the resolve of even the toughest. As with the girls who had played earlier, hats off to them all for embracing such challenging conditions, certainly the worst we've played in for years.
Next week we are at Riley House for our final game of the term and perhaps of the season! Where has it gone? A 1415 start.
Mr I Purvis