I’m watching an epic battle on the television…its GB versus the USA in Davis Cup doubles tennis. GB are playing out of their skins and look like they might just beat the mighty Americans. That’s just how epic it felt out there on the pitch this morning, against our old friends Winscombe.
We started with our usual moving nets warm-up, and quickly got started on the task in hand. It was great to have several spectators on the side-line encouraging us and willing us to do well. Knowle appeared nervous and a bit disjointed (I think they do that to keep me on my toes!) and it took a while for us to settle into our rhythm. Winscombe gave us a master class in long passes and finding space. Soon they had tapped a goal in without even breaking sweat.
And so the game continued for a while. They were soon 3-0 up, and seemed to be cruising. But then Knowle found their feet and played a blinder. Nessa in midfield danced and whirled on her line, passing to Karen who skipped neatly round her opposition players. Suddenly the ball was spending more time in the Winscombe goal area, and we found our stride. Roanne and Liz seemed to endlessly pinch the ball from under people’s noses, and I giggled at the rolled eyes and sloped shoulders from the defeated players. Becky hovered dangerously in the goal area, threatening to repeat her amazing goal against Chippenham last week. (In fact, a gasp went up when Winscombe were told about it later at teas!)
But Winscombe weren’t easy to break down. They continued to counter our surges, and were often dangerously close to scoring again. Fran did her usual brick wall routine, stopping each move in its tracks, and Jo was incredible at returning shots and getting in the way of plenty of crucial Winscombe exchanges. Ceri also played a solid game, doing an amazing job of organising the troops and making sure everyone was keeping their focus, and intercepting key shots with a cool, calm confidence. (Alliteration – Jan, Karen and Ruth…just so you know for next time in the quiz, ha ha!)
We worked our way to half time, and gratefully gulped our drinks!
In the second half we got stronger – both Ruth and Sarah L were putting on one-woman hockey displays at the drop of a hat…showing everyone how it should be done! I’m sure I have bruised my chin today, as my jaw dropped so many times inside my helmet! It was a good job I left the dribbling to Ruth….in my head gear I would have drowned – boom boom!
We successfully defended a myriad of short corners, where our running had left us unable to jump over balls, but we did slip up and fall into the mistake of not playing to the whistle. Thinking a short corner had been given, several players stopped, and Winscombe swooped and scored!
To my immense pride, heads didn’t go down, and if anything we played more strongly. Jan made some inch-perfect passes into the front of goal, and how we did not score was the biggest mystery since ‘Who Killed Lucy Beale?’ (And yes, embarrassingly I was one of those people who watched Eastenders for the first time in years that night….were you?) Rachel stopped the ball coming back too far down the pitch so many times it frustrated our opposition, and Lucy enjoyed her new-found freedom up front and zipped around trying to get on the score sheet. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
To add insult to injury, Winscombe sneaked in another goal towards the end – against the run of play, I felt! – and finished the match 0-5 victors. Despite the scoreline, I felt we deserved a couple of goals, and thought we showed great tenacity and spirit. This was demonstrated by there being 7 nominations for Player of the Match, which was eventually won deservedly by Karen.
Returning to my initial comparison with the GB doubles tennis team, we were not expected to do as well as we did, and we are getting ever closer to winning against difficult opposition. GB weren’t successful against a team that has been number 1 for over two years – but I’m sure they will get there very soon. And so will we….just watch this space!