|Date||1 December 2018|
|Result||W 5 - 1|
|Time played||Normal time|
Today the green machine travelled to Coombe Dingle to show Westberries how to play hockey. It turned out they already knew, and after a strong start from Redland, it soon became a fairly even match with attacks from both sides, usually ending before the two well-defended Ds. In a match that felt very crowded in midfield, Emily's remarkable ability to pass a ball through a solid wall of opposition - much like physicist Rutherford did with alpha particles and gold foil - once more came in handy and helped us slowly establish dominance in the match. There were some nice links especially with Woody who did some good ball distribution.
Eventually, a long ball to one of our attackers, who (spoiler alert!) shall from now on be known as two-goal-Hannah, led to a beautiful run into the D and perfectly timed shot that found its way into the goal. It's obvious that Hannah carefully read last week's match report and followed my instructions to score earlier on in the game, I'll instruct my cardiologist to send some thank you flowers soon (note: I do not have a cardiologist so just go pick yourself some of whatever grows at this time of year, probably mushrooms tbh, so take care).
Sadly, Westberries soon equalised with a stunning deflection following a perfect pass across the face of goal, but neither team was ready to settle for the draw. We were soon putting on a bit more pressure with small advantages in 1-1s, some good skills by our midfielders and some good passes especially on the right between Team Price. It also helped that Laura, Molly and Abi had clearly not received the memo of this being a slow-mo match. Whilst reliable Rosie kept us equal at the back with some nice saves, we soon created more chances with some fantastic runs with and without the ball by Cat, Hannah and Jules and eventually were rewarded with a short corner. Clearly, in our alternating weeks schedule of short corner greatness and disappointment, we were on the positive side, with some beautiful tiki-taka variant leading to Emily re-establishing our lead. On the other side, Westberries attempted to take a short corner quickly and not at all from where short corners are usually taken (Jules, any chance it was you who taught them about corners?) and then attempted to repeat their first goal. However, it takes a bit more creativity to beat the greens twice, and this time Bettie reacted faster than her chemicals and saved a knee height (or in her case, thigh height) ball with her backhand on the goal line.
With this near miss in mind, it was a great relief when Jules beat the goalie to set the half-time score of 3-1. Half-time came at a good time to allow our 11 players a breather and let us regain our formation.
The second half started with many attacks down the right side for both teams, with Molly now doing plenty of runs down that side. It took some time until we started utilising the left more, mostly by Jules and Bettie turning over the ball on this side and making some nice connections with Hannah up front. It was another good interchange between Emily and Woody that initiated the passage of play that led to Hannah's second goal of the day, a chip in from the post.
Westberries however showed character, coming back strong - not strong enough though, to beat Claire P who once again proved brilliant positioning in the D and Rosie who was always in control of the situation, but generously lets us defenders have a run around anyway.
At this stage of the game came the realisation that it was simply unfair to have greedy MOM Hannah score two goals whilst Cat hadn't scored any (it's a team game, sharing is caring!), so we decided to set up another short corner for Cat to convert. Enjoying the attacking hockey, we continued putting on the pressure, but another goal wasn't meant to be (or maybe it was, but someDODy didn't let the ball leave the D during a short corner before "scoring") and a higher result would not have reflected the game, either.
A lovely match to finish this calendar year and a good reason to celebrate at the club's christmas party. With our smartest minds (or more likely those who actually turned up) and some help from an alpine first teamer, we formed an all star team known as Mewwy Quizmas. A combination of excellent Christmas knowledge, fantastic aeronautical engineering, good international hockey player recognition and controlled face wiggling (honestly, watch the video - I'd say my performance in the hands-free after eight movement is my proudest achievement of 2018!) we actually WON IT! Official Redland christmas quiz champions 2018 - that is certainly something to put on the CV.
Great performance on and off the pitch and a lot of fun, thanks, ladies. Also many thanks to captains, committee members, umpires and league officials, may you enjoy your well deserved break.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year, ladies, to many more Redland wins!