Match Report by Alex Hutchinson
We drew 2-2
Early on Saturday morning, we gathered bleary-eyed at Croydon High to face Richmond Ladies. The only exception to this was AJ who, bright-eyed, had eschewed all birthday celebrations the evening before for an early night with a mug of hot chocolate. We ladies take our league matches very seriously.
Despite a reassuringly autumnal feel to the morning as we warmed up, the sun broke through just as the match was about to start, leaving us grumbling about heat stroke and dehydration. We will do our best to remember this in the depths of January as we are scraping the ice off the astro before each game.
The match was played at blistering pace and Richmond took an early lead, only for Hannah H to thump home an equaliser within minutes. The early season pundits have noticed something different about the mighty COWHC Ladies 1s this year. We have so far avoided going to pieces when the opposition take the lead and have ceased our irritating habit of then gifting them 3 or 4 easy goals while we fall apart. We have also developed an uncanny knack of noticing what is going wrong on the pitch and doing something about it. Richmond overloaded their right flank; so we sailed into attack down our right. Richmond played it endlessly around the back at 16s; we broke them with tight marking and relentless pressure. Richmond played the ball in small triangles; we stepped into the spaces and cut out the passes. Richmond snatched a second goal to take the lead again as the ball whizzed from end to end. Kirsty played some great crosses into the D, but in the end (and despite Richmond’s protests) the equaliser came from Alex. We were unlucky not to add to our goal tally, particularly as AJ’s short corner strike sizzled millimetres past the post; some injectors will insist on standing at the post with their eyes shut and not putting away those conversions as they fly past at 1000mph.
The match finished with a 2-2 draw: we had stood firm against Richmond’s physical tactics and so hold on to 2nd place in the league.
Thanks to Martin and Keith for umpiring, to Netty for supporting, to Nicky R for being super-sub, to AJ for spotting all the things Richmond were doing and to the BBC weathermen for promising us that autumn is on the way and we can get back to playing hockey in the cold and wet.
The team was: Sharon, Chloe, Lena, Kat, Santy, Hannah Mc, Alex, Becky, Kirsty, AJ, Hannah H and Nicky R.
PoM votes were 1 each for Becky, Alex, Chloe and Hannah Mc, 2 each for Lena and Kirsty and 3 for the absolute scourge of the Richmond defence, Hannah H.