Slazenger Men’s Firsts hosted Leeds at home on Saturday, and after a few weeks of poor performances the First Team were back on form… Determined to finally heed the mantra of statesman Chamberlin, the Firsts came out with ‘attack wide defend narrow’ ringing in their heads. Sure enough actually employing this back to basics strategy soon paid off as Richard Tuddenham found the back of the net within minutes, and by half time the score sheet also included the Swindon brothers (Mark and James).
Early into the second half a solid diving stick save from keeper Andy Loftus stopped Leeds from getting a foothold in the game. Shaken but not stirred Slazenger pushed on, keen to put the game beyond reach. With confidence high from first half points Tuddenham’s cannon was clearly loaded, as he marked up a second half hat-trick giving Slazenger a commanding lead. Despite second half injury’s to Wiper and Birkett the Firsts were bolstered by debutants Harry Gunning and Tristan Whittle who stepped up well. The final score was 6 – 0.
Mens 2nds travelled to Leeds 6th’s for a cold late 4:30pm game. With a slippy pitch, the team strugged to take advantage of their fast attacking style. This blunted the advantage, and the team struggled to find a way past a staunch Leeds defence. The visitors managed to get to grips with the surface in the second half and had a series of good chances, however Leeds’ keeper kept them in it.
Equally, Leeds had a little attack, with the exception of a few defensive slips from the Slazenger side. Thankfully, a series of fantastic saves from goalkeeper Darren Buttery were enough to keep the scoreline goalless.
Slazenger 3rds entertained Hull Uni and put on a festive show for everyone to marvel at. The home side started out of sorts when a short corner routine hit star striker Tim Carr on the knee. Despite the war like injury the bravery shown by Tim to continue inspired the team on even when star penalty taker Andy Birkett missed a penalty flick, only the third he’s missed in his 70 year hockey career, Slazenger still controlled the game. Andy however quickly made up for his penalty miss with a tidy finish into the bottom corner 2 minutes later. From here the majestic and magnificent Man of the match Matt Banks began to pull the strings and his sharp precise and beautiful delivery soon enabled Andy to double Slazengers lead. Slazenger continued to dominate after the break and extended their lead further with a composed finish in the mist of chaos from Tim Carr before Hull university got a rare break away goal. Carr got his second of the game after yet more festive play from the home team to round off a 4 -1 victory.
After last week’s defeat at Chapeltown, Slazenger 4s welcomed Chapeltown to our own ground. The lads had already talked about not giving Chapeltown chance to do the double on us, and were in determined mood. 2 goals from Owen Bland, 2 goals from Hayden Pitchforth, 1 goal from Brian Johnson and 1 goal from Dean Minchella was enough to secure a 6 – 3 win for Slazenger 4s and a perfect response to the previous week. Man of the match went to Owen Bland, well done.
The best part of this game for Slaz was the first 2 minutes! We had a plan to peg Wakefield back and used it, a fast long ball to Alex Stacey saw him tie the adult defender and the keeper in knots before calmly slotting home. After that it went slowly downhill, Slazenger had chances but it became end-to end hockey. As Slaz tired in the second half, Wakefield’s most skilful youngster got himself a hat-trick and Slaz missed the chance to go top of the league. MoM was (again) Will Gascoigne.
Slazengers ladies 1’s took on top of the table Boston Spa on Saturday with a game of 2 halves!!
Slazengers started the game strong and were playing Boston Spa off the Park . They kept the pressure on with some silky skills and ample opportunities, but were unable to capitalise . Unfortunately Boston Spa managed to take the lead with a well executed short corner routine near to half time .
In the second half Boston Spa came out all guns blazing and proved their position in the table, changing their game play to counter the Slazenger side . This change of formation and energy gave Boston Spa the edge and they put a lot of pressure on the Slazenger defence. Boston Spa managed to score a 6 goals in the second half from a mixture of short corners and on the break goals .
Slazengers ladies 3s travelled to Hull on Saturday to play current league leaders Hull Hawkes. It was a game in which the visitors expected to be dominated by Hawkes due to both sides’ run of form and goal scoring ability. However as seems to be the pattern with Slazengers, they are not phased by the high flying teams and the game was evenly played from the start. Hawkes were fortunate to take the lead after only 10 munutes after a shot was blocked by a Slaz defender only for it to bounce back into play and be tapped in on the post by a Hawkes attacker. Slazengers suffered another set back 5 mins later when key defender Sarah Ritchey was hit in the face by the ball after a jab tackle. A split lip required hospital treatment and marked the end of Ritchey’s game. Slazengers pulled together and remained strong putting pressure on the Hawke’s goal but were unable to get on the score sheet.
The first half ended with Slazengers unlucky to be a goal down and the second half was again an equal playing field. Hawkes had a 5 minute spell midway through the half where Slazengers had to work hard to keep them at bay but great saves from keeper Gemma Wilson meant they could not increase their tally. Natasha wiper and abigail collins made good runs on the attack and it seemed a goal was guaranteed when natasha passed the ball to an unmarked abigail in front of the Hawkes keeper, only for the ball to be pushed wide of the post.
Slazengers took nothing away from a game in which they deserved a point at the very least. None the less it was a great performance from a battling Slazengers side with player of the match honours going jointly to defender Emily Entwisle and midfielder Lauren Fealy.
Again due to shortage of players we joined forces with Ben Rhydding and enjoyed an nice Sunday trip to Ben Rhydding to play
During the morning the mixed team played some good hockey and worked very well as a team passing between both Slaz players and ben Rhydding working well, The first opponents were the second team in the league to merge to get a full squad, Northallerton and Thirk. The match was end to end play with some great work from both team with Slaz/Ben Rhydding eventually winning 1-0
Then came the local rivalry match for Slaz playing a strong Wakefield with chances for both teams to get a numbers of goals if it was not for superb goalkeeping but sadly Wakefield managed to get a goal that we could not reply to.
Next can the hardest of the matches, again a mixed team from Chappletown and Rotherham, who thanks to some excellent play by them and some very tired legs from us came out very deserved winners at 5-0. Roll on Jan so we can try and keep improving and show other teams how we can play.
The u16 girls were at darton college again this weekend in their 3rd tournament of the season. Although playing some great hockey, working well as a team and having numerous chances they were unable to find the back of the net during any of the three games.
Despite looking the stronger team against Northallerton, with most of the play in the Northallerton D, the girls were caught out twice on the break leaving the score 2:0.
Games against Wakefield and halifax were more evenly matched with end to end action. The defence stayed strong, but as said before the goals eluded them and the score line ended 0:0 in both games.