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Ladies 1s Vs. Basingstoke 2s - Saturday 22 January 2022

Ladies 1s just come up short

Banbury HC Ladies 1s - 1, Basingstoke Ladies 2s - 2

Unlike the corresponding away fixture where it rained heavily, today was almost a perfect day for

hockey, and despite a couple of key players being unavailable, Banbury still had a strong team and hopes were high. After last week’s fixture was postponed, everyone was looking forward to getting back on the pitch and blowing the cobwebs away.

The early exchanges were a bit cagey, but the first foray into opposition territory came from Banbury with Maddie finding Jecca, who had her shot stopped by the Basingstoke goalie, who we learned was the Basingstoke first team goalie (their league not starting for a couple of weeks). For the next 10 minutes or so Basingstoke had all the ball, and Banbury had to soak up a lot of pressure and faced 3 short corners in this time, but Banbury defended them all well. Basingstoke continued to press, but Banbury always looked dangerous on the break, and after 21 minutes Evie passed to Libby and onto Jecca who found Tash and she expertly earned the first Banbury short corner. Basingstoke defended this effectively though, and they soon moved the ball back up into the Banbury D, and with all the constant pressure, it was only a matter of time before they found their way past the stoic defence. 1-0 Basingstoke.

As has been the case in previous games, this galvanised the Banbury team, and despite these past 25 minutes being difficult, on the whole, Banbury had coped well. The final 10 minutes of the half saw Banbury getting to grips with the game, and some excellent work by Tash saw her earn Banbury a second short corner. However, Basingstoke were reading our shorts well, but Tash still managed to get a shot off, which found the side netting. 3 minutes later saw Molly finding Tash, who again earned us a short. 1 minute later we had another, but both times, Basingstoke read things well and cleared their lines. In the last 5 minutes of the half Banbury won 2 more shorts but were finding it difficult to get past the excellent Basingstoke goalie. The final play of the half saw another Banbury attack with Rosie finding Charlotte, but again their goalie saved.

The 2nd half started frenetically and within a minute, Basingstoke had a player green carded, and Banbury took advantage earning their first short corner of the second half. Banbury were starting to mix up their shorts and this was a good one, but their goalie saved – again. For the first 10 minutes of the half, Banbury were just the better team, coping well with the Basingstoke attack, so it was disappointing when after 12 minutes, Basingstoke broke upfield and earned themselves a short corner, which wasn’t cleared, and led to another short, from which they found the back of the net. 2-0 Basingstoke.

The next period of play saw Banbury having the best of it, but they were still finding it difficult to

penetrate the well-drilled Basingstoke defence, and it wasn’t until 21 mins in where Jecca went on a run and dribbled all the way into the D that they earned another short, and chance at goal. This was defended, but we were awarded another short, and despite this being initially defended by Basingstoke, there was a bit of a melee in the box, and Rosie was on hand to turn it in. 2-1 . Game on!

With 8 minutes to go the Banbury coach changed the team dynamic and pushed an extra player up into the forward line. This rattled Basingstoke, and for those final 8 minutes, it was all Banbury. Basingstoke were unable to get the ball out of their half, and in the main, were pinned back in the D; they had all 11 players behind the ball! Tash won a short, which the Basingstoke goalie saved. With only 5 ½ minutes left, Basingstoke had a player carded for not going 5 and we got another short, which, unfortunately, Basingstoke dealt with. Banbury were camped in the opposition D and earned a further 6, yes 6, shorts in the last 4 minutes, including one at the death, but each time, the Basingstoke defence, and their outstanding goalie, kept all our efforts out.

"This was a hard game against a very good team and I think the Banbury ladies can be very proud of the way they played. On occasion, I think we hung on to the ball for just one or two seconds too long where the pass would have been the right thing to do, but on the balance of play, perhaps a draw might have been a fair result; if only we had put some of those short corners away! However, fair play to the Basingstoke defensive line, who were very well organised, and their goalie was top quality. After the disappointing result against Trojans before Christmas, this was much better, and it should set the team up for a string of strong performances in the next few weeks. This is clearly a good team, so let's go out and get some more points."

MVP – There were many vying for the award, but Becca Atkins just got the vote. Well done!

Bryce Wilkinson

Ladies 1s Manager

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