Vaguely excited “crowds” gathered for the friendly match between the Mighty Puckle and the combined forces of the Knowle 1sts and 2nds.  The abundance of players and umpires meant that Knowle had plenty of subs to choose from ensuring a constant supply of fresh legs to hammer home a victory against the visitors.  It was great to see Catherine show up and support the team despite being 20 minutes overdue for a family gathering, she wished the team “good luck” and then left.

The umpires for the match were the lovely as ever Cas and Knowles old favourite Malcolm.  Malcolm was proudly wearing his new yellow umpire hoody but sadly this clashed against the yellow and blue kit of the Puckle players, bizarrely to overcome this Malc put on a bib, a blue bib.

So game on and Puckle took the early initiative and owned most of the play.  Aimee, Julia, Jo V and Paige were up front ready to receive the occasional long ball or quick break, Sue, Eden and Ella maintained a strong midfield.  Sophie, Ally, Lucy and llama trainer Nat held a defensive line whilst Jo W was the woman in the padding and mask acting as the last line of defence.  Several times these positions were mixed around with Claire, Liz and Sam running on to sub for others.

Knowle have been working on finding their voices and there were plenty of good calls for the ball to be passed to them.  There was the occasional mix up where Knowle players weren’t verbally claiming possession with a firm “MINE!” and we saw a couple of Knowle players tackling each other, perhaps something to work on in training or over teas when there is one slice of cake left.

Towards the end of the half Puckle was piling on the pressure and won a corner, a textbook set play saw them fire in the first goal of the game.  Knowle were knocked but not out and quickly regained their composure for the reset, sadly Puckle were lifted by their goal and quickly grabbed another before the end of first half whistle.

You can see the first half below.

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At half time the team gathered together and probably discussed Corrrie, Stenders and Emmerdale along with the various shades of drunk some of the younger ones experienced the night before.  I’m guessing really as I didn’t listen in and spent my half time practicing aerial passing with other spectators.  Whatever was discussed seemed to have a positive effect as the players came back onto the pitch motivated and ready for action.

The second half saw Sam run on like a hockey Goddess, her bare tanned shoulders looking golden in the sun and on receiving a quick running pass from Aimee she quickly slammed home a goal to bring Knowle back into the match and only 2-1 down.  The crowd cheered and none looked happier than Catherine who had magically reappeared before rushing off, again.  Further opportunities through short corners didn’t amount to additional scoring due to the speed Puckle ran out from the posts to intercept the attempts on goal.

The second half saw Knowle looking stronger in comparison to Puckle and there was plenty more of the action kept in the Puckle half.  When Puckle did venture into the Knowle 23 area, Ally was ready to fire the ball at the legs of the Puckle attack/Zoe and put them/her down.

The second half videos below

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Knowle played exceptionally well and should be proud of their efforts, especially fighting characteristically and wholeheartedly until the final whistle.  Despite Knowle’s abundance of fresh legs the final score was 2-1 to Puckle who were worthy winners and a great team.

What Knowle lacked in hockey glory they made up for in teas success.  With gasps of appreciation from the visitors and some drooling from the hungry Knowle players it was the typically fine spread of food.  Dinosaur sandwiches, pate, fresh bread, cakes, rocky road and many more treats were what this commentator particularly enjoyed from the day in the sun and wind.  Man of the match was deservedly awarded to Aimee.