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Ladies 1s vs. Salisbury 1s - Saturday 13 November 2021

Banbury Ladies start slow, play some good hockey, but fall short

Banbury HC Ladies 1s - 2, Salisbury 1s - 5

Today was a lovely autumn day; the Ladies travelled to the far-flung reaches of Salisbury without

their Coach, Hobs, who was away with the men’s 1s (who won!). After a long 2 hour drive, the ladies arrived with a strong team, believing in themselves, and eager to get started.

The first few minutes were quite tentative with both sides getting the feel for the other, but with a break up the right wing after 5 minutes, Salisbury fired the cross into the D and the ball was tapped in to the net. One – Nil to Salisbury already!

Salisbury continued to press Banbury and to have the best of the play, but Banbury did look

dangerous on the break, and when on the ball were posing Salisbury problems. However, Salisbury rarely gave Banbury much to play with, due to their accurate passing and movement and 15 mins in Muqaddas had to pull off a great save. More Salisbury pressure followed and saw them in the Banbury D again shortly afterward, and the team wasn’t able to clear it and a second Salisbury goal followed. Two – nil Salisbury!

Despite some forays into the Salisbury half, Banbury was pinned back, and a Salisbury Short corner after 27 minutes wasn’t cleared, and it was three – nil Salisbury! Clinical finishing.

But, as always seems to be the case, adversity seems to bring out the best in the Banbury Ladies and they immediately started to move the ball better and have more of it, leading to a Banbury Short with 5 minutes of the first half remaining. It was a well-taken corner, and from it, Becca saw her short just zipping past the outside of the post. Banbury had Salisbury rattled, and continued to make it difficult for the opposition; some excellent wing play by Libby bringing about another short corner. This one was again well-executed and after a good ball stop, one pass, two passes, Kate blasted in an unstoppable shot and it was three – one Salisbury! Just to highlight how much Banbury was now on top, we saw yet another Short in the last minute, and despite it being well worked, it was efficiently defended by Salisbury. Going in at halftime, it looked like Banbury was on the ascendency and there was everything to play for.

Within a minute of the restart, Libby broke upfield and earned a great Short Corner. As previously, the ball was stopped well, one pass, two passes – back to Kate and she shot the ball sweetly into the goal. Three – two Salisbury!

We thought that Banbury would now go on to push for an equalizer, however, Salisbury wouldn’t lie down, and shortly after the Banbury goal, we saw another attack which the Banbury defense dealt with effectively, but this showed that the game was still in the balance. Despite Banbury playing with renewed vigour and confidence and being the better team, Salisbury still came at them on the break, and their pressure paid off when in the 47th minute of the game they got a 4th goal. On the balance of play, we did think this was somewhat undeserved, but that was four – two Salisbury!

In the last 20 minutes of the game, both sides had ladies receive cards and the play was frenetic, but it was Banbury who were still the better team and were showing more energy and purpose than Salisbury. However, no more goals were forthcoming - until the last 5 minutes, when Banbury was flying and Salisbury flagging; Charlotte broke upfield, supported by Libby; a neat one-two saw Charlotte with just the goalie to beat but couldn’t find the net. A minute or two later a similar attack had Libby passing to Charlotte, again with just the goalie to beat, but the Salisbury goalie was not to be beaten and made a lovely block. What did Banbury need to do to score? In the very last minute of the game, with Banbury pushing in the Salisbury half, Salisbury broke upfield and somehow managed to earn a Short Corner. The full-time whistle went! Could Banbury keep it out with all the Salisbury players in the D? Indeed they could! The Banbury defence dealt well with it and it looked like the danger was over, but they couldn’t get it far enough upfield for the umpire to blow full time, and it fell to one of their attackers on the edge of the D who fired a somewhat speculative shot towards the Banbury net, and unfortunately, it was head height meaning the defender on the goal line was unable to keep it out. Five – two Salisbury!

The scoreline did not really reflect the balance of the game, and everyone was a bit deflated at the end wondering how they had been on the end of a 5-2 defeat. Overall, It was a good team performance, and fantastic energy and effort shown by all - particularly in the 2nd half.

MVP– the award goes jointly to both Libby and Kate who received 4 votes each.

Bryce Wilkinson

Ladies 1s Manager 13/11/21

Photo: Setting up the short corner

Photo: Charlotte on the move!

Photo: "I thought you were getting it?", "No, I thought you were getting the ball?", "wait, what?"

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