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Ladies 1s Vs. Salisbury 1s - Saturday 18th March 2023

9 Player Banbury still too hot for league leaders (no more) Salisbury

Banbury HC Ladies 1s vs Salisbury Ladies 1s – 18/03/23

The second half of the season has seen Banbury ladies 1s perform really well picking up lots of points on the way, and things are looking good for the team, so what could they do when the league leaders, Salisbury visited?

As has recently been the case, Banbury started well and after 2 mins Libby Haden had already won the first short corner of the game for the home team. Vic “Pagey” Coombs performed a great drag which was goal bound but the Salisbury goalie made the first of many good saves. A 2nd short corner ensued, but Salisbury escaped unscathed. Banbury had settled well, but certainly weren’t getting it all their own way, and on 5 mins, Salisbury broke up field and it took a great save from goalie Sammy Bates, to keep them out. Salisbury soon earned their first short of the game, which wasn’t great and the Banbury defence coped easily. Both teams were moving the ball well and both looked to have chances, but it was Banbury, who on 8 mins got the breakthrough. Banbury earned a short corner, the result of which was a bit messy, but Salisbury did not clear effectively and Tash Roberts poked the ball into the net; 1-0 Banbury. The next 5 to 10 mins was end to end stuff, but Salisbury were beginning to slowly get the upper hand and pushed Banbury deeper and deeper. This period saw our goalie, Sammy, called into action on a number of occasions, and each time, she defied the Salisbury attack. Salisbury earned a short after 26 mins which Banbury defended well, but they were pinned back and a couple of mins later, after failing to clear, Salisbury pounced on the ball and shot past Sammy, who was unable to do anything about it; 1-1. That period of play where Salisbury dominated culminating in their equaliser saw them take their foot off the gas (they probably thought they were already back in the game), as on 31 mins, Tash Roberts dribbled past half the Salisbury team and nearly walked the ball into the net, but it was in fact captain Rosie Gowing who finished it finish off and tapped the ball into the net; 2-1 Banbury. Not content to just have the lead again, Banbury pressed for more, and with the last play of the half, Banbury had another short. This was worked out to Harriet Bolland (this move had been practiced and tried before) and she hit a sweet shot towards goal. I’m reliably informed (by Tash Roberts) that Tash helped it on it’s way into the goal and Banbury had another; 3-1 at half time. What a great half of hockey!

Salisbury came out the traps with intent and earned a short within a min of the restart. Banbury didn’t clear this, but kept it out, however Salisbury had another short a min later. Again, their shorts were comfortably defended and Banbury appeared to have weathered the initial storm; Libby Haden trapped the ball in midfield and broke up into the Salisbury D, but she couldn’t get a shot off, however this did relieve the pressure. Soon after, Molly McCusker also intercepted the ball in the middle and she won a Banbury short corner. This was well taken and Charli Price rocketed a shot towards goal, but it was somehow stopped on the line. A min later Tash Roberts had her own bullet stopped by the Salisbury goalie. Banbury were creating chances! But, Salisbury were top of the league for a reason and they were soon back in the Banbury D earning a short corner which was well defended. For the next 5 mins Salisbury were attacking Banbury at will and Sammy made a number of fine saves to keep them out. It looked like Salisbury would soon be back in the game, HOWEVER, 18 mins into the half, Molly intercepted the ball in the midfield and raced towards the Salisbury goal. She had a head start on the Salisbury defence who had all pushed up high, so it was Molly vs the goalie. The goalie rushed out, but before she could do anything, Molly fired an unstoppable shot underneath the flailing goalie and it was now 4-1 to Banbury. I don’t think Salisbury could believe it, and to be honest, we were pretty amazed ourselves - things were going so well; Jaz Bixley had a powerful shot just fly wide a couple of minutes later. However, Salisbury weren’t done and on 21 mins, during their latest attack on goal, they were awarded a penalty flick. These normally result in a goal, BUT not this time. The flick was well taken, but Sammy flung herself to the right and made a terrific save. Salisbury may then have thought that this was not going to be their day. That said, they weren’t put off and came again at Banbury, and after another short corner on 23 mins, they scored to reduce the deficit to 4-2. They continued to press and on 28 mins, after another short, they had the ball in the Banbury net; 4-3. However, the Banbury ladies weren’t happy and after a discussion between umpires, the goal was disallowed for a Salisbury foot. Fortunately, one of the umpires had noticed the transgression. Things then started to get a bit heated with Banbury trying their utmost to retain the ball and Salisbury trying to attack and get back into the game and this saw Tash Roberts shown a yellow card, and less than a minute later, she was followed off the pitch by Zoe Young, who also received a yellow. Banbury were down to 9 for at least 5 mins and it was getting close to the end of the game. Would Salisbury capitalise? Quite incredibly, they didn’t really threaten even with the extra 2 players, seeming to run out of ideas when they got near the Banbury D. To cap a great day, after serving her 5 minute penalty, Tash Roberts ran back onto the park to support a Banbury break up the pitch, and with literally her first touch, she trundled the ball into the Salisbury goal for her hat trick; 5-2 Banbury. Salisbury did earn a short at the very end of the game, but this came to nothing with Banbury defending it well..

MVP – a great team performance again, but Sammy Bates’ heroics in goal made her the clear MVP.

“The ladies settled quickly again this week, and seemed to play the whole game with an energy and determination that sometimes hasn’t been there. Apart from a few loose passes in the first half, the team did everything right; they defended effectively, kept hold of the ball, and managed the game very effectively. They all ran themselves into the ground and each one of them left nothing on the pitch. I think they saw playing Salisbury as a challenge and lifted their game accordingly. This must rank as one of the best performances the season, a season which has been very successful. Even with 9 players today, Banbury were good enough to beat one of the league’s best teams – a great all round performance”.

Bryce Wilkinson

Ladies 1s Manager 18/03/23

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