Knowle v Chippenham – A Game of 4 Halves….Balls to You!
The ‘White Christmas’ that old Bing used to sing about in the good ole days came early to Wiltshire…..this weekend in fact! I will deny to anyone that I was hoping the match was unplayable….it was so much warmer inside….but on the A420 we went. Despite it being bug weekend, we had 11 players thanks to a last minute appearance from Jan ‘dig-in’ Duggan.
The match was slightly delayed whilst we waited for Mr Sun to make his appearance, and get rid of most of the thick frost that covered the pitch. The match after was cancelled…..but Chippenham knew us of old – at Knowle we’re ‘ard!!! I was just glad to have time to visit the now-infamous tardis toilets once more!
The match started with both teams trying to work out what their opposition was made of. Knowle eventually settled down, and fell into a rhythm. Lovely-Ness Hay kept firm control of the midfield, and showed great courage when intercepting a strong attack from our opponents. The engine-room in the middle was completed by Karen ‘Megaphone’ Norman (so called as I can hear her down my end of the pitch all throughout the match….love it!) and Rachel ‘Wack-em’ Williams, whose reverse stick stops are the things of legend. I just loved hearing the sighs of frustrated attackers as they were stopped in their tracks.
Chippenham were solid, and eventually were awarded a short corner…..and we sent it packing! Unfortunately, however, they carried on with the pressure, and a terrible mistake from the Knowle goalkeeper gifted them their first goal. Yes, I know I should have put my glasses on and realised that the player behind me wasn’t Ceri, but rather had a blue shirt on!!! I mentally walked across broken glass as a punishment, and got back on my line. Luckily I don’t think anyone noticed my mistake ha ha!
Knowle battled on against some strong opposition. Fran ‘Solid’ Southway kept them at bay whilst Liz ‘Exocet’ Fox fired the ball out of harms way. Ceri was my extra pair of legs and put in masses of solid stops. And then we get to Lucy ‘Basher’ Bartlett. She was so tough she took a hit out…..and broke the ball! I know she could hit hard…but not that hard! I’ just so grateful she’s playing on my side!! We gave away another short corner- and unfortunately this one went in!
Onwards we continued…..Jan and Becky fought valiantly up the far end of the pitch, but Chippenham were resilient, and kept getting in the way and taking the ball. Our stick skills were incredible, but it wasn’t our day. Roanne ‘Sergeant Major’ Wootten rallied the troups and even went for a quick skate on the last bit of frost on the pitch whilst Basher tried to cheer us up by breaking another ball (!) but we walked off the pitch at half-time 3-0 down.
The second have started a bit wobbly, as everyone settled down. In midfield we kept on battling, and we regularly took the ball off our opposite numbers – always threatening a goal. Nessa’s Red Bull was helping her to ‘fly’ up and down the pitch, and Becky was absolutely brilliant at running to the ball and trying to take on the Chippenham players in front of their goal. Everyone played their socks off – we always do! – and we successfully defended 5 short corners….I wasn’t even needed for 4 of them!! If I didn’t squeak so much when I walked in my kit I would have sneaked off for a coffee. As I thought I would be rumbled, I stayed put, and chatted to the Chippenham umpire, who was very friendly.
I obviously chatted to him far too much, as another two goals rattled in against us. The last goal was from a short corner – we ended saving five out of seven – but everyone played right to the very end. Our committment stayed at 100% throughout…and I couldn’t have been prouder walking off that pitch. I am the most luckiest captain in the known hockey universe to have such a great group of girls around me, helping me play the game I love. I wouldn’t want to spend my Saturdays with anyone else. Last season we were losing to Chippenham 12-0, so 6-0 tells me we are 50% better this season. The second half of the season is going to be incredible!!
Watch out world……we are on our way!!!