1st VIII Hockey v Riley House

Wednesday 6th December
St. Mary’s 2, Riley House 1

1st Hockey 6th Dec
What a fantastic game of hockey! Fiercely competitive yet played in great spirit, today saw two good sides go head to head in what was a very even contest. Even more pleasing is when balanced games such as this, tip in your favour!

Starting at the earlier time of 1.30pm, light wasn’t going to be an issue this week and in fact, although windy, conditions were pretty favourable for hockey. From the starting whistle, it was clear that Riley were a strong and dangerous side. Four or five key players capable of pinging the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, were good on the ball and a constant thorn in our sides. However, our team work and ability to work the ball around the Riley girls, allowed us to also threaten, and threaten we did. It was Hannah who eventually scored the opening goal to give us the lead, courtesy of a great run down the right wing by Eliza, who found Jessica lurking on the edge of the D, who in turn threaded the ball through to Hannah. Minutes later, Riley equalised courtesy of a hard hit from the half way line which their striker just managed to get a stick on. So, we went into the break 1 – 1.

Having rotated all 11 girls, we started the second half with the starting 7 and again dominated play. The Riley keeper was playing a blinder and had it not been for her heroics in the first half and throughout this half, we might have notched up a few more. However, midway through the second period we managed to score again and we maintained that goal advantage for the remainder of the game. With a minute to go, we were awarded a short corner and all the girls baring Lucy went up to attack. The Riley girls cleared the ball which found its way up the pitch to the two Riley forwards who then had only Lucy to beat. Knowing the game was still in the balance, Lucy somehow managed to thwart their attack and stopped them equalising; a match saving tackle!

However, it wasn’t just Lucy efforts that earned the girls the win. Phoebe and Tegan played half a match each in goal and both were busy at times. In close games such as this, every save and every clearance counts and they both did very well and made some excellent savves. Isla, Iona and Freya played at the back and were superb. Their marking was excellent, their clearances strong and only once did the Riley girls get the better of them. Jessica, Rowan and Eliza played in the midfield and worked their socks off. It was from here that we managed to control large chunks of the game and all three girls showed superb vision and distributed the ball very effectively. Hannah and Mhairi both played up front and, as ever, were a constant menace for the Riley defenders. They became ever more tenacious as the game unfolded and as I’ve already mentioned, might have scored a couple more had it not been for the Riley keeper. As it was, both girls played really well and were instrumental in our win.

So, a great was to round off the season, or at least the term. With the Kilgraston tournament booked for March, there will hopefully be some hockey next term but school matches are done and dusted. Including tournaments, the 1sts have played 22 games, have won 14, drawn 3 and lost 5 which is a superb effort for such a young side. Well done to you all and have a relaxing and fabulous Christmas!
Mr P

Jules Birdsall, 14/12/2017

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