A Good Start to 2023 for the Ladies 2s
By Beckie Middleton
It was straight in at the deep end for the Ladies 2s in their first competitive action of 2023, with a double header on the road against Division 1 South league leaders Barnes and a cup tie against Premier Division side Buckingham.
Ladies 2s 1 - 1 Barnes 1s (A)
We managed to get to Barnes early enough to avoid the rugby traffic and after some eclectic playlist action in the portakabin changing room (coach’s choice of “Jolene” receiving mixed reviews) we headed out. I was looking forward to the start of the game purely for a bit of zen after half an hour of sensory overload with our speaker competing with Barnes’ throughout the warm up.
Things did not start well, with us going behind from a penalty corner flick after less than a minute. Thankfully Liv was on hand to equalise with a diving (falling?) backhand strike into the corner within a couple of minutes - totally worth the grazed knees, as in the words of Club Captain Sian who was supporting us on the sidelines, “Is it even a reverse if you don’t end up on the floor?”.
1-1 is how it stayed. After practising overhead receives for most of Wednesday’s training - possibly an excuse for Will to show off his 20-35m aerial - we did a pretty good job of pressing throughout the game and had some nice build up play and a handful of good chances of our own, which we just failed to convert. Barnes dropped to third after this result and while our league position hasn’t changed we can definitely go into next week’s game feeling confident about the things to come.
Saturday’s POM was captain Ellie after a strong performance in midfield and despite Lottie "catching" a ball in a way she won’t want to repeat, Char secured her standard DOD award after tackling someone with her head.
Ladies 2s 2 - 1 Buckingham 1s (A) - T1 Cup
Some of the youngsters skived off a trip up the M40 on Sunday - something about an U18 game? - but those who did play were rewarded with a long drive up the M40 and an almost as long drive through the country park that is Stowe School. After navigating sheep, limited parking and an arctic-temperature changing room, we were ready to try and repeat our pre-season win against Premier League team Buckingham.
Jessie starred in her return to the L2 with two first half goals - the first from Gemma’s pass and the second with a rare ‘tackle goal’, every defender’s nightmare. We coped well with the intensity and physicality of Buckingham’s play throughout, with Shaki, Issy and Josie all slotting in as though they have played at this level for years.
I’m not sure many of our team knew what I was going on about when I described her as being like peak Rio Ferdinand but POM Lottie was a Rolls Royce in central defence, picking off anything that came near her and basically never losing the ball herself. Incredible performance.
We held on for a 2-1 win despite conceding a well worked field goal in the second half, with the only real downer being a nasty late wrist injury to Ellie (pleased to report nothing is broken). Hopefully L2 super fan Rene has now recovered from his sprint around the pitch to check on her - fairly sure he may have been travelling at a faster speed than any of us recorded in the game.
Well done to the whole squad on a big weekend - next up Canterbury at home at 1.30pm on Saturday.