L8 Take 3 Points at Tulse Hill & Dulwich
By Louise Seddon
Tulse Hill & Dulwich L5 1 – 4 SHC Ladies 8s
The Ladies 8s had their second trip to Dulwich in the space of three weeks on Saturday. Having had 15 players on the teamsheet midweek, I was down to 14 following a nasty ankle injury to Taryn during training. By the time Dolly, the Mighty Schword and I had made the lengthy train journey to West Dulwich, I was down a further two! I have to admit my heart was sinking as we had lost to Dulwich on the first outing late September and Debs AKA Fanny Star Baker was returning from her horrendous ankle injury so we had no idea how it would hold up.
#AllAboutMimi had brought the music for the warm up and somehow we were listening to Christmas tunes (bit early we all thought!). Suffice to say after the jolly ho-ho warm up, everyone was galvanised for the match. "Please let the ball do the work", I implored, "Otherwise we'll be knackered" – I knew I would be! The girls duly took up the challenge and from the outset we were attacking their goal area with gusto.
Somehow the Mighty Schword's first (or maybe second) effort crossed the line – it was like slow motion (very slow) but the goalie was stranded on the other side of her goal and it went in. Somewhat shocked that we were 1-0 up within a few minutes, we happily returned to the halfway line.
I'm not sure which order the second and third were scored but Amelie's effort was full of skill and great reward for earlier scything runs into their D. The Mighty Schword struck again from a ball crossed into the D by Crazy Legs – someone tactically missed it and the Schword was on the keeper's pads and slotted it home! 3-0 going into half time!
Everyone was buzzing but we had to keep focused, start the second half as if it was 0-0 and keep working hard for each other. Tulse Hill immediately threatened our goal and in a frenzied few minutes had several opportunities but we were saved by Poppy, so calm and chilled between the sticks or their last play breaking down before getting a shot away. We managed to survive this early second half onslaught.
The game was end to end and everyone was really involved. Our forwards were superbly supported by the incredibly hard working midline (they were amply rewarded with the one sub being allocated to their line!). Chengai, Dolly, Mia and AllAboutMimi were tireless in tracking back to help in defensive duties and made crucial interceptions when Tulse Hill threatened. Ruby, Niamh, Fanny Star Baker and myself worked relentlessly in defence. How Fanny Star Baker's ankle kept going is beyond me but she was superb in perfectly timed tackles, snuffing out potential danger. Ruby and Niamh are blossoming in their defensive duties and happily add support to the mids when attacking. Crazy legs made several wonderful attacking runs into their D and thankfully was finally rewarded with the fourth goal. She works so hard for the team and always manages to create chances, so to get on the scoresheet was great.
With about two minutes left, Tulse Hill had a last frenzied effort on our goal. Poppy made an excellent save but somehow the ensuing melee saw the ball bobble around and annoyingly go in off a foot (theirs!). Tulse Hill deserved a goal but not that effort! It didn't matter, the whistle had blown and we had the three points.
This was an unbelievable team performance, a mixture of older heads and wonderful younger legs but the collective effort was fantastic. Thrilled to bits for the girls and somehow, the journey home didn't seem that lengthy!
Fanny Star Baker and the Mighty Schword were the joint POMs but we had five other nominees so a massive team effort!
Thanks to allaboutme (Ali Quinn) for the nicknames!