Paddington Wreck Take 2 for Ladies 1's
Last month we came away with a narrow defeat. This time, however...
For the second time this season, the Ladies 1st XI had an away fixture at the delightful Paddington Recreational Ground, at 3pm in the afternoon! For someone like me, who can't eat anything before a hockey match, this wasn't the best start time… cue reluctant banana chewing whilst watching the Ladies 4's.
The team banter started well as we sorted the cars for travelling in… Sophie offered up a choice of booster seats for AJ to sit on, so that she could see the stunning views out the window. Katie rocked up after an emergency dentist appointment with all teeth firmly in place - be honest, who else was hoping we'd see "tooth-gap" Katie?
So, off we go (kind of on time), and after a short while, Larissa's car comes roaring past us mini tanks on the M40, whilst Joy & Pikey get there well ahead of us all by taking the shortest route (who would do that?!). Our car journey was particularly entertaining, as Sophie once again proved that the future generation are in unsafe hands when it comes to grammar and pronunciation of the english language. Although the "amoeba" attempt wasn't much better... Amazingly enough, this was our first trip into London that didn't have some sort of traffic jam holding us up, and we all managed to get to Paddington Rec at least an hour before the game.
I'll gloss through the warm-up, except for the fact that Claire & Sophie can't be allowed to lead again… running around the track is not cool. Fact. So, quick warm up, in for the team huddle, totally psyched and ready to go! Yes, we were all ready to hit the ground running and start the game strongly, right? Erm...
There's a lot I won't say about the first half. What I will say is that things didn't quite go to plan, and by half time we found ourselves 3-0 down and pretty steamed (and not the good kind). For further details on the precise nature of how this half went down, please consult a member of the team who hasn't already erased it from memory. Maybe Anna, as she was quite the stalwart in goal, and made sure that the score wasn't any worse, which it could have been.
Needless to say, we were feeling pretty ticked off, and gave ourselves a bit of a talking to at half time. We had a tough challenge to turn this around in the next 35 minutes… cue second half.
We started the second half with much more energy, moving the ball around at pace straight away. About 10 minutes into the half, Pikey won the ball in the corner, and we ended up winning a short corner. The ball was injected and found its way to Emma, who got a hold of the ball and hoofed it into the goal to bring us back to 3-1. That was the turning point for us... Game On!
From then on, we attacked with more confidence. Passes were on target, and movement off the ball improved all over the pitch. Joy was solid as ever, winning the ball constantly and re-playing back into our midfield. Over on the other side, we were also making some great passes. Before long, a 'lovely ball from the halfway line from the exceptionally modest Katherine Pike' shot across the pitch towards the far post, where AJ dived for the ball, with her stick in front of her. We all watched it in slow motion - literally, her dive was in slow motion - as AJ made contact with the ball, which passed back across the face of the goal, past the keeper, dinked against the post, and tumbled into the goal. 3-2 and we're getting closer to reclaiming a point!
It was quite the emotional team performance, so much so that our usually calm and subdued coaching staff were whooping and hugging on the sideline! Oh, wait, maybe that was the rugby… Anyway, back to the game. The defensive back line remained solid & composed, ensuring that we didn't allow the opposition any further chances (except for one short). Annie & Lars held the middle and controlled the defence splendidly - it really was beautiful to watch.
Solid play from Sophie today, who worked well with Joy to stop a lot of play from going down their side of the pitch. Coops & AJ put in a lot of effort up front, putting pressure on. Alice & Katie also had stints up front, which mixed things up a bit! Claire was a zippy little terrier as always, but was slightly too fast for her own good as she got a little too light headed to play the whole game!
Alice was having the game of her life, and absolutely tore the opposition apart. With 15 minutes to go, 3-2 down, Alice made a fantastic run down the line and around the backline, skinning the players as she went past. She popped the ball across the goal perfectly, where AJ was waiting to send the ball in, making the score 3-3!!
The last 10 minutes of the game was crazy, with us trying all sorts to get a winning goal. H&W did well to keep the ball out, including a goal line save that we were convinced was going in. As the clock wound down, Katie won a long corner, and then did a grand job of dodging past 3 players to win a short corner. Final whistle blows, and we all come up for the short.
Pikey calls everyone into the huddle, and makes it clear that we are all to pile in, no matter what. There we all are, ready for the rebound…
Ball comes in… it's stopped...
Pikey brings her stick back…
strikes the ball…
We all pile in for the rebound…
And the ball flies straight down the middle through the keeper's legs, and into the goal! 4-3 victory, after an awesome fight back!
Pikey was mobbed in the D, whilst our supporter Miche was mobbed by Mark on the sideline! Whilst we made it tough during the first half, I couldn't ask for a better team spirit in the second half to bring us that victory. Totally. Exhausted. And. Smiling,
Our victory was topped off by an improved greeting by the park staff and a later closing time, which meant that we could get to our cars without having to hop a fence. Scrumptious teas was followed up by a "super slutty cake" made by Sophie. It was so sweet and chocolaty that I'm still on a sugar high from it, 24 hours later.
After swigging down pints of water to wash down the cake, we embarked on our journey home. Note to self, vote Sophie's tomtom for muff next week.
Well played girls, I think we agree umamimously it was totally awesome stuff!
PS - I can spell unanimously… Katie can't. So that's a dig at Katie. Just in case you didn't see it.
Players' Players - Alice
Coaches' Player - Maips
Muff - Joy (mainly because we want your baking skills next weekend!)