Back to Back Wins for Women’s 6s
By Val Beveridge
Women’s 6s 3 - 1 Richmond Ravens (H)
Saturday 27th January
On the initial outing we’d dispatched this game very efficiently in the first nine minutes with three slick goals, but then proceeded to take the rest of the day off, with varying impacts on everyone’s Stroke Indicators.
This time round we dominated the play throughout, maintaining our pressure and securing lots of outcomes. Three goals spread across the whole of the first half this time - two slick and one lucky. They all count!
This week we welcomed Erin “Speed” into our backline and it proved to be a magical example of nominative determinism in action with cool-headed drives up the wing out of defence leaving opponents in her wake. She slotted in so well alongside our existing similarly aptly-named defenders; Aiofe Effortless, Sammy Intercept, Fee Force-to-be-Reckoned-With and Sinead Brick-Wall.
Coach Sunny was warmly welcomed back to the dugout and came sporting a massive white board and magnets! Clearly she has faith in us listening and understanding the tactics and hadn’t spotted we’re usually just fighting over the Tangfastics and Flumps at half time.
We utilised the diamond formation again to make optimal use of Thea, Ffion and Liv’s pace and strength driving wide on the wings. Jen again played a stormer holding the high centre, winning key 50/50s and feeding sharp, crisp balls through to the forward line. Sunny considered a return to the original structure but opted for confusing the oppo as a more effective tactic as they argued with themselves about where all the “extra” players had come from.
We had chances galore up front with the first coming from a rocket-smash top D from Jen that was nearly stopped on the line by my chest before survival instinct kicked in and I realised with insufficient padding from Mother Nature I was ending up with a broken rib! A quick turn and the ball was deflected in, admittedly off my pinky but the hand is part of the stick, so it’s all good.
Goal two was a Neve masterclass in picking your path through the oppo, teasing them with your magnetic stick-ball combo, then letting rip an absolute scorcher.
Goal three was classic Tarryn tenacity in the D. Great link up play from Liv and Speedy Gonzales Gracie gave Tarryn the ball on the P spot for her to do her trademark lightening changes of direction resulting in one very dizzy GK so she could pick her spot for a notch on the Golden Stick.
Ravens proved more threatening in the second half but Eve with her trademark Spiderman reflexes was having none of it and shut them out without breaking sweat. Their goal was a quickly taken long corner that we didn’t re-act to quickly enough so it’ll be three bags of sweets at half time next week.
We nearly secured another when I pounced on a slow transfer to face down the GK on a one-to-one only to have a brain fart and think smashing it as hard as I could was the solution. Fine if it hadn’t gone half a foot outside the post. But at least it gave their very relieved sweeper a good laugh.
POM: Neve, countless intercepts and driving runs plus the screamer of a goal
DOD: All clothing themed: the juniors who still don’t have shirt numbers; Thea’s super wrinkly shirt (clearly a tribute to our Shirt Legend Lauren) and Liv’s effortless style rocking a cashmere baselayer.
Hero of the Day: Amber for trying to use the power of positive thinking to handle shin splints that are clearly very painful. Rest up and recover quickly!
Women’s 6s 3 - 2 Old Cranleighans 2s (A)
Saturday 20th January
The previous week’s outing is one we’d all rather forget. A disappointing 3-1 loss where it felt we’d gifted the oppo the win on account of us all collectively playing like, I believe the technical coaching term is… “a bunch of eejits”.
But like the best sequels, we were about to turn things around. Right the wrongs. Achieve retribution. Think Return of the Jedi with less teddy bears and exploding planets and you’ll get the gist. This time the good guys were coming out on top.
Games were being frozen off around us by the time we arrived at Old Cranleighans but their pitch had emerged from the carbonite (yeah, ok, I’ll drop the Star Wars references now).
We went straight onto the pitch and warmed up hard, fast and loud (thanks Thea for the music. Gutted by the absence of Wham or T’Pau though. More 80s bangers please). The oppo appeared about 30 minutes later, sauntering into their dugout. Either misplaced confidence or we’d already “broken” them.
I’m writing this two weeks later and I can’t even remember where I put my phone down five minutes ago, so this is very much abbreviated highlights…
Goal one was a backboard splitter from Thea at a PC. The only thing better than her goals is the genuine look of surprise and joy when they go in.
Goal two was a Ffion special. Breakdown at a PC and she just stepped up and reverse chipped from the penalty spot. Caught on video as well so we can all hear the collective squeals of joy.
Goal three was a classic Neve. Weave through the oppo and release a bullet of a strike to split the backboard.
Almost goal four would have been Gracie’s supreme drive up the right, across the face of goal only to be denied by the tightest of margins on the far post.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic. They scored two goals and our defence were in constant soak-up-the-pressure mode. We battled really hard to win lots of 50/50s in midfield and our forwards set new FitBit records on steps and ground covered while their defence made things really hard for us.
We got a little vocal with their umpires as we felt we weren’t always getting the rub of the green. But we were always polite, especially Amber with her “Excuuuuuse meeeeeee”.
A very welcome final whistle saw us bouncing with joy and lots of crazy grins in the obligatory Ffion BeReal photo opp.
Passion means you care and boy did we care about the result. A strong and confident team performance from start to finish that got the deserved result.
POM: Aoife. Supremely calm at the back. Get timing on tackles and drove the ball out of trouble so cleanly.
DOD: Amber for her hands in the air/excuse me moment.