Ladies 2s Return to Winning Ways Against Trojans
By Beckie Middleton
Ladies 2s 5 - 2 Trojans 1s
After a brilliant start to the season, the Ladies 2s had stuttered in recent weeks and were keen to get some points on the board again after a run of five defeats on the bounce. Bottom of the table Trojans had won both their games in 2022 but the girls were ready to put in a big performance and get that all-important winning feeling back.
With a combination of some Ladies 1s call ups and your writer’s usual Saturday coaching commitments finally on pause for half term, it was time for me to play my first league game since 2019 and increase the average age of the Ladies 2s by several years in one fell swoop. Naturally I decided to make my comeback midway through Dudley, Eunice and Franklin - ideal weather for a great day out at Sugden Road.
After Jill had fed, clothed and generally spoilt the girls we went out into some fairly grim conditions. Frankie looked absolutely delighted he’d volunteered to help Will coach from the bench. Captain Ellie called us in for a huddle and instructed us, “Not to talk about the weather”. (This was particularly challenging for me given that not only am I British, but my other usual go-to conversation topics of 90s music and Man United’s glory days* are both basically from before 90% of the L2s were born, so I was left with very little to say.)
*I do have other things to talk about, honest.
Anyway, we bashed on with a warm up which mainly involved blowing on our hands and keeping our coats on for as long as possible. We actually started quite well but after a possible, potential, hiiiint of a stick block Trojans got themselves a penalty corner and took the lead after a few minutes. I’m not sure if it was raindrops or teardrops running down Will’s face at this point - he’d made it VERY CLEAR in the team talk we needed not to go behind, and ESPECIALLY NOT TO AN EARLY GOAL.
Fortunately, Noa, Freya and Lilie were beginning to find gaps all over the place, with Birchall and Daly taking up great spaces and making some excellent breaks through midfield. Tait and Ellie were pulling the strings and we started to gain some control and earned ourselves a corner. Having completely missed the original deflection that I was supposed to be on the end of (despite a perfect delivery from Elani), I managed to sneak the rebound over the goalie, who had kindly laid down on the floor.
Some quick thinking from Gemma, Ellie and Tait led to two further goals in quick succession, with Mera popping up perfectly to put the ball in with a couple of good close range finishes. Will was now looking more relaxed and, if anything, slightly smug that everything he’d talked about in training on Wednesday was coming to pass right before his eyes.
Late in the second quarter a rebound fell to Denno on an acute angle to the left edge of the circle. In the meantime, Ellie was either blown over by the hurricane (“don’t talk about the weather”) or she decided it was the ideal time to show off her roly poly skills pretty much directly on the line to goal. Denno wound up for a trademark big hit and thankfully managed to find the bottom corner instead of Ellie’s backside. Disaster averted, and a healthy 4-1 lead going into half time.
If we’re honest, we probably weren’t quite as good in the second half. They scored a goal which I actually can’t quite remember, we got a card which I also can’t really remember, Jess smashed home a backhand with ease after breaking through in a fast counter attack, and Jenny pretty much sat down three of their midfielders in one go with her silky dribbling skills.
Some of the individual performances from our young backline were immense and a big shout out to Lyra for playing her first National League game (I couldn’t believe this when I was told at the end of the game, she’s like a goalie ninja and took to it like a fish to water - fortunate given the conditions).
Thanks to the girls for letting an old timer back into the fray. If you could arrange for nice sunny weather and find a way to magically improve my hockey fitness for my next outing I’d be really grateful.