Composed, sure footed, precise, synchronised and perfect teamwork are all terms that applied to the University ballroom dancing competitors in Merchants main hall, sadly not to either of the two teams on the hockey pitch outside, well for the first 15 minutes at least.
Knowle2 and Keynsham were head to head on this cold Saturday and both teams struggled to settle down early making the players and supporters quite anxious. Keynsham only had 10 players whilst Knowle2 had the luxury of a sub. Both teams remembered to pack a very vocal supporter and both of them happened to be umpires struggling not to umpire from the side-lines, (although one was an umpire coach and really knew her stuff).
The scrapping about saw a ball ricochet up into a Keynsham face after only 6 minutes, ice was applied and following a brief rest on the side-line she returned to the pitch. Knowle2 struggled to take advantage of the 2 man advantage although they were the more dominant team by this point.
Knowle2 were able to put together some good passes from defence to midfield but on the few occasions the ball was released to the forwards they were not able to get into realistic shooting positions. Keynsham did manage a couple of early counters and an unsteady Knowle2 defence gave the supporters some worrying moments.
Vanessa started the first real challenge of the match for Knowle2 when she was able to run and release a great ball to Amy and Grace, they progressed but were unable to work their way around the Keynsham defence. This play had a calming effect on Knowle2 who were beginning to gain some composure. Another attack saw Knowle2 now in the Keynsham D where Jan received the ball, but the Keynsham defence closed off the angles forcing Jan wide.
Still maintaining the pressure Knowle2 had another shooting opportunity and this time Amy fired the ball only a few inches wide. Keynsham countered strong on this occasion and looked threatening, Liz, Fran and Jo had to work hard to close Keynsham out allowing Knowle2 back on the attack. Jan and Grace found themselves taking it in turn to take shots but the Keynsham keeper and defence did well to deny them.
8 long minutes of back and forth play followed with no real opportunities for either side. Keynsham did break into the Knowle2 23m area and a mistimed back pass by Keynsham allowed an interception and long ball up the pitch through to Grace. With no one else up the field to support her Grace ran on facing 2 defenders and the keeper. Grace out ran and first defender and skilfully outmanoeuvred the second defender, now she was closing in on the keeper and fast. To us on the side-lines the keeper seemed to instantly double in size and it looked like Grace had left her shot too late, but with calm she slotted the ball past the keeper and scored. The crowd went wild (all 3 of us), the team celebrated and it was 1-0. BOOM!
Knowle2 were now in control and won a couple of short corners but weren’t able to add to the score line.
Half time, cue lots of pointing at each other and saying things like “You’re awesome”, “Well played”, “keep up the good work” and “have you seen my water bottle?”
The Keynsham team must have had a good half time chat as they were more effective as a team and making the Knowle2 ladies work hard. Grace managed to advance with the ball and win a short corner, sadly no goal came of it. A second attack saw Lucy close down on the Keynsham keeper and repeatedly fire the ball at her knee pads, then both Lucy and the keeper stopped and stood upright thinking the umpire had blown the whistle. When both player realised that the game hadn’t stopped Lucy was quickest to get to the ball and score Knowle2’s second goal.
With heads still up Keynsham came back strong from the reset and quickly won a short corner which just went wide of the post. Keynsham were eager to get on the scoreboard and took control of the game. Knowle2 were starting to flag and it looked unlikely that they were going to keep their 2-0 lead for long.
In the last few moments of the game Knowle2 found a burst of energy which saw Vanessa and Jan work the ball through to Grace who again had a run, 2 defenders and a keeper ahead of her. Well she did it before and she did it again, BOOM goal number 2 for Grace and it was 3-0 to Knowle2 which was the full time score.
Everyone found the game hard work and everyone had moments of greatness and moments to learn from. Liz, Fran, Jo and Ceri worked hard in defence and kept Keynsham at arm’s length. Catherine had little to do at times and that is when players tend to fall asleep and make mistakes, but she stayed focused throughout and when she was called upon she was ready with a big boot out. Karen, Vanessa, Julia, Lucy and Jan did well in midfield creating opportunities for attacks and feeding the ball onto Amy and Grace in attack. Everyone came off the pitch overjoyed with a good result.
Teas were awesome too……as always.