“Go Hard or Go Home”
Slazenger Ladies 3s faced Ben Rhydding, who are currently defending their top of the league position. Slaz started out hard, with 100% determination to defeat what they anticipated to be a strong team. Minutes into the game, it was clear all Slazenger’s players were in it to win it, giving Rhydding minimal chance to attack, and maintaining over 80% possession of the ball. Right midfielder and player of the match Alex Stead along with right wing Justine Birkett, demonstrated some quality hockey and great build-up of play into the D.
After uncountable shots on goal, missed opportunities and 3 short corners, Slaz just couldn’t get it round Rhydding’s strong keeper. Rhydding had a couple of breaks but nothing our strong defence of Sarah Ritchey, Donna Wood, Rachel Hughes and GK Lizzie Tunstsall couldn’t handle. Slaz continued to play with composure and created a number of good openings, including yet more shots on goal, but couldn’t convert. After some great short corner routines from Claire Dunstan, Frankie Tyrrell and Justine Birkett, an attempt at goal was saved by a Rhydding player on the line, resulting in a penalty flick. However, Slaz again were denied a goal as Frankie’s flick was saved by the Rhydding GK. Slaz were not to be deterred and continued to play outstanding hockey, leaving the first half the stronger side of the two.
The second half started fast with Ben Rhydding playing the sort of hockey that has got them to the top spot and Slaz struggled to gain back their earlier match intensity. Rhydding took advantage of a break in play and much to Slaz’s disappointment, scored the first goal of the game. Slaz continued with determination, a number of long passes down the pitch to new recruit Becky Townsend and former 3rd team captain Gemma Whittam, saw more opportunities for Slaz, including yet another penalty flick. Captain and central defender, Sarah Ritchey stood up in attempt to score her first goal of the season. Sarah tried her luck with an attempt at the top corner, but unfortunately the height wasn’t enough to beat the experience of the Rhydding GK. Rhydding had their moments leaving Lizzie Tunstall to make a number of testing saves. Slaz began to tire and they were no longer making the ball do the work, resulting in another goal conceded. Slaz gave their all in the final minutes of the match, but after another short corner in the final minute the game ended 3-0 Ben Rhydding.
By Frankie Tyrrell