The Ladies dominated the weekend and turned in some outstanding performances with all four sides winning. The only blot on the day was a rare dropping of points by the 3rd XI at Surbiton
Ladies 1st XI 2-0 Wimbledon
The first game back after Christmas is never an easy one but the Ladies 1st XI worked hard for their well deserved first 3 points of 2018. After just one rusty training session it was time to shake off the cobwebs and run off the indulgences of the festive season! It was a 2.30pm pushback (not 3.30pm as Kate Scott would have you believe) and after our changing room chat the whole team had their heads in the game and were ready for a win.
From the first whistle we put the pressure on Wimbledon, closing down their free hits and controlling the majority of the play. 2 short corners, 3 shots later and still goalless, we decided to turn up the heat a bit. A brilliant transfer from Alice Durran – who’s solid performance at the back meant that Michele Rankin only got to make one save – saw the ball travel at pace from left to right over to right back Nikki Springett, who then worked it solidly up the channel and sent the ball up to Rosanna Hall. Running it to the baseline, Rosanna sent the ball across goal to the perfectly placed Jackie Waite who swept it in! GOAL!
Half time and the score was 1-0. A bit closer than we would have liked it to be, but still ahead and with 35 mins to go. We started strong but 10 minutes in Amy Mighalls took a stick to the head and play stopped – We regrouped and after a quick bully we were in their D attacking for the best part of the second half. Controlling most of the play again, it was disappointing not to see more goals from the OCs but after relentless work up front, we started to break through their defence. Worked up the pitch by Kate Scott, slipped to Katie Richards at top D, strike and the keeper saved. On the rebound, Jackie Waites picked it up baseline and sent it across goal. Rosanna Hall was ready and waiting – a quick sweep in to the corner. GOAL! Bringing the score to 2-0. Georgia Watson had a storming performance in defence – winning 50 50 balls and working it well up the left hand side which saw her nominated as player of the match alongside her left mid Jackie Waite, who as ever, was everywhere and anywhere she needed to be. Final score 2-0. A well earned win and a great start to this half of the season for the OCs Ladies 1st XI.
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Our first game back since early December posed a challenge, not helped by large portions of Christmas dinner still lingering! Even still, we were up and raring to go. Icy wind blew over the pitch as we started, throwing us off as we gave away a few short corners early on. Soon, however, we settled and gained the upper hand, retaining lots of the possession whilst defending against some useful players who created tricky breakthroughs. Our back line held up strongly, not conceding any goals and successfully playing the ball back outfield to create many shots on goal, each time defended by Spencer.
The Vamps faced an enhanced Bank of England side in the return league game. Game was pretty even and neither team were able to score until Debbie at last put one past the goalie. Second half seemed to be going Bank’s way until some nice little one -twos produced a lovely goal from Fi off Debbie’s skilful pass in the D. Debbie went onto score the third. Nice finishing from the Vamps to give a 3-0 score.
Surbiton 3-3 3rd XI
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The (usually) all conquering 3rd XI came into this match top of the league but with only one point since mid November (in fairness all but the draw at Wanderers had been frozen off) and we started cautiously on the bouncy water-base although gradually we started to play like the leaders and chances came and mostly went. We took the lead with a trademark Eds Copleston full-length poach and until shortly before the break looked good for our lead, but as half-time loomed we dozed off, allowed the Surbiton wing to run down the dead-ball line and feed their striker who could not miss from a foot out.
The second half began the same way, with chances largely coming from us, although too often players chose to shoot rather than feed better-placed team-mates. Surbiton always looked dangerous on the break and they took the lead with a well taken rebound from a short corner. This is a side not used to being behind and we did not respond well, allowing Surbiton a third ten minutes from time with some poor defensive work. That finally galvinised us into urgency but we struggled to break down a dogged defence. Copleston’s second, another well-taken effort from a yard out as he got his stick to a hard hit just before the keeper, four minutes from time set up a great finale. We won a penalty corner in the last 30 seconds which ended with Ben Jamieson looping in the equaliser and rescuing an unbeaten run going back to last February.
A good result all things considered and a cracking game of hockey to start the new year. We remain in the driving seat – level on points at the top with a game in hand and a good goal difference – but the cushion we had has gone with two draws and the second half of the season promises to be much tougher than seemed the case in mid November.