At a glance
L8s 2-2 (without a keeper!)
1’s v Dereham 1’s (Premier)
In an exciting six goal bonanza in Norfolk last Saturday Stortford Ladies just failed to kick start the second half of their season with a victory, failing to convert their ascendency into victory and three points.
Player of the Day was Skipper Kate Robinson who explained, ‘It was a game full of goal mouth action and although we had the most chances full marks to Dereham for playing well on the counter-attack. We can be pleased with our resilience coming back from being behind twice but then when we got ahead we didn’t put the game to bed.’
After a five week lay off Stortford were slow out of the blocks and allowed Dereham to score a soft goal with their first circle entry. It wasn’t until the 25th minute that Stortford equalised when Abbie Barrett scored from a Lexi Guthrie pass at a penalty corner.
Keeper Charlie Nash made a couple of crucial interventions at the start of the second half when Dereham broke through but Stortford were finding their form and asserting their control thanks to good link up play between Harriet Wilmott, Rory Mitchell and Lucia Catley creating plenty of opportunities from one of which Barrett took a neat pass from Gracie Cowan to give Stortford the lead.
Then in a frantic final ten minutes Dereham first equalised and then, against the run of play, took the lead only for Stortford to rally and draw level through Barrett once more. Then pulsating closing minutes first Liv Smerdon then Katherine Langridge came agonisingly close to sealing a dramatic victory.
2’s v St Alban’s 1’s (1S)
Stortford were edged out by promotion chasing St Alban’s in an intense match on Saturday.
Having lost 4-0 to the visitors in the reverse fixture, Stortford knew they were in for a tough game against one of the divisions top sides, but bouyed by last week’s performance they were confident of getting something.
Alban’s were ahead early, a player left free at the back post to tap in. Minutes later Stortford had a chance to equalise, a short corner hitting a St Albans foot on the line meant a penalty flick was awarded, but the keeper made a save, the ball just rebounding off her glove onto the line, no goal.
Alban’s doubled their lead soon after with a shot that grazed the post and crept in.
Anna Sydes pulled one back before the break, a quickly taken free hit from Suzanna Holmes, who ran into the D, laying the ball off to Sydes who turned the defender and fired across the keeper to make it 2-1 at half time.
Both teams were evenly matched in the second half, Stortford forcing a diving save from the Alban’s keeper before a counter attack saw them restore the two goal lead. Anna Sydes bagged her brace, set up with a fantastic run and assist from Pilar Montu to narrow the gap again.
In an effort to push for the equaliser, Stortford pulled their keeper off in the closing minutes, opting to play with 11 outfielders. They were unable to clear to capitalise on the player advantage, St Alban’s pressing the defence in who,at times, literally put their bodies on the line to keep the ball out. Time ran out and the match finishes 3-2 to St Alban’s.
3’s v Hertford 1’s (2SW)
Goal scorers: Jen Pearce x2 & Jemma Petitt
A great start to the game when the home side broke and Jen Pearce put away the ball within the first 5 minutes of the game. However, Stortfords determination to pass the ball to the opposition led to the visitors equalising and then finding another one. They were also lucky that a penalty stroke went wide of the goal keeping the visitors to just a 2-1 lead at half time. Coach Tom Frenzel’s opening line was ‘what colour are you playing in’. This led to a much improved performance in the 2nd half and Jen Pearce again finding the backboard to draw the scores level at 2-2. Ali Martyn & player of the match Grace Grindrod produced some heroics at the back to keep a hungry Hertford from scoring as the clock ticked down.
2 shorts awarded to the visitors in the dying moments were turned to the home sides advantage as they broke and were rewarded with their own short corner. Jen Pearce thought she had her hat trick but was denied by the capable Hertford keeper. In the dying seconds a Stortford long corner saw Jemma Pettit pop the ball into the goal for a 3-2 victory. Super effort from all involved.
4’s v Berko & Hemel 1’s (2SW)
Also in division 2 the ladies 4’s continue their struggle to get out of the relegation zone. Despite all their best efforts and some fantastic hockey they suffered another disappointing 4-0 loss to Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead 1s.
5’s v Letchworth 3’s (4SW)
PoM: Rachel Moore
With our second game of the new year, we faced Letchworth 3’s away.
The game started with a home team pushback, which saw them take control of the game from the offset, giving them a strong start. With the opposition approaching the D, Maddie Lucas and Nadia El-Zanfaly performed well to shut them down before clearing it to our mids. The home team dominated in the early part of the game, but Bishop’s Stortford soon found their feet and scored from a short corner, won initially by Eva Sanderson and converted by Charlotte Turner. The girls continued to battle throughout the half, defending well against the opposition, allowing us to go into halftime with the lead.
The home team again flew out of the blocks, putting pressure on our defence with a few short corners which were very well defended. One of which being cleared by Catherine Clune which sent the ball into midfield, which went to Lisa Suckling and Rachel Moore who were able to play through to the forward Laura McBride who was able to then win us a short corner. The short corner was then successfully converted by Rachel Moore to double our lead.
The girls continued to battle throughout the end of the second half, which lead to us closing out the game with a well earned 2-0 victory and Rachel Moore claiming Player of the Match.
6’s v Upminster (4SE)
POM Claire Holmes
On a chilly Saturday morning in Upminster, the Stortford 6s ventured onto the turf, a bit of a mixed bunch, but determined none the less as they faced the first game of the second leg of the season vs the Upminster 4s.
From the initial pushback, Upminster displayed a robust attack that tested the mettle of the Stortford defense. However, Stortford then got possession and passed the ball well towards goal, a well-fought battle between the forwards and the keeper saw Sarah triumphantly pushing the ball over the line at around the 5th-minute mark.
Despite their efforts, Stortford conceded a couple of consecutive shorties which resulted in Upminster netting their first goal with a solid shot to the right corner.
The remainder of the first half showcased Stortford’s sturdy defense, with the mids and defense thwarting Upminster’s attempts to extend their lead.
The second half kicked off with Upminster determined to dominate their home turf. Stortford, equally determined, fought back, with the match taking a turn in their favour when they secured their first shorty. Keeping their positive trend with shorties, they conceded their second goal through a spirited exchange between the keeper and forwards, with Hannah delivering the final blow, bringing the score to 2-1.
In the final five minutes, Upminster rallied, breaking through Stortford’s defense in a relentless 3v1 struggle. Despite a valiant effort, Stortford conceded a goal, bringing the match to a 2-2 draw. In the closing moments of the game, with only 5 minutes left on the clock, both teams continued to battle it out on the Upminster turf. Stortford 6s, determined to break the deadlock, and Upminster 4s, equally resolute in defending their home ground, engaged in a fierce struggle.
As the final whistle pierced through the air, it marked the end of the intense clash. The scoreboard freezing at a 2-2 draw.
7’s v Letchworth 4’s (5SW)
Goals Mary Sanders 4 Emily Wood 2 Grace Gladen 1Elizabeth Clune1 Scout Neville 1
PoM: Mary Sanders
It was a crisp and sunny afternoon for the 7’s to take on Letchworth at home. Having previously lost to them away, the team was ready to come out hard for a win. A Letchworth push and an early D entry cleared by Kim Durbin. Keeping in mind the previous weeks’ match feedback to play wide, the team managed some early runs down the sideline confidently moving the ball from defence to midfield and up to the forwards. The first goal came four minutes in when Elizabeth Clune won a tackle and passed to Mary Sanders whose one touch strike made it 1-0.
Following a Letchworth short corner expertly saved by keeper Summer McGowan Stortford were awarded their own short. Injected by Kaitlin Range, stopped by Emily Wood slipping it left to Mary Sanders for her second goal. Stortford were on a roll and once again the ball was moving up the pitch with quick passing and players holding their positions. A tackle won by Laura Batchelor followed by a quick pass to Charlie Woodrow who expertly carried it up the wing and crossed to Emily Wood who tapped it in for Stortford’s third goal.
A frustrated Letchworth made several attempts to enter the D but could not get past the skilful Stortford defenders. The momentum was high and soon a 16-yard hit from Naomi Holloway to Kim Foster whose wide pass to Elizabeth Clune sent her charging into the D to make it 4-0. This was quickly followed by a fifth goal when Emily’s deflection offered Mary Sanders the opportunity to finish with a sliding tap-in making it 5-0.
Stortford kept the pressure on right to the end of the first half with a superb run up the middle from Scout Neville, passing to Grace Gladen who fed the ball to Mary Sanders on the left post to knock it in and make it 6-0 at the end of the first half.
Confidence was high following a flurry of goals in first half, but Stortford remained focused. Strong back up and winning tackles from Lexi Baird allowed for several good runs for Charlie Woodrow and Grace Gladen up the wings. Two short corners in quick succession saw Emily Wood and Mary Sanders both making attempts that were seen off by the Letchworth goalkeeper or the crossbar. Following an impressive save by Summer McGowan off a Letchworth short, their desperation to get on the score sheet was palpable. A continued steady effort by the Stortford defenders allowed the midfielders and forwards many more opportunities to increase the score line. Denise Clark who confidently stopped a straight strike clearing the ball wide to Laura Batchelor whose quick pass to Scout Neville on the run allowed Emily Wood to get into position to receive a precise pass and score her second goal of the match making it 7-0. Stortford weren’t finished yet with Mel Dummet opening the door for another Stortford goal with a quick pass to Kim Foster who fed the ball to Scout Neville whose impressive run and straight strike made it 8-0. In the final few minutes of the second half, a determined run by Grace Gladen saw her move past the Letchworth defenders and score the 9th and final goal of the match.
An strong team effort which sees the team move back into 7th place in the table. Well done ladies.
8’s v Hertford 4’s (6SW)
In the low setting sun, and starting slightly later than scheduled, Ladies 8s hosted Hertford 4s at Hockerill. Recognising immediately the lack of keeper for Stortford, the away team came heavy on the attack with lots of possession. A break down in the home teams defence meant the visitors were able to score in the first minute, giving the Ladies 8s a quick wake up call. Despite repeated attempts, the Stortford defence held strong with a couple of fantastic saves from defender & Player of the match, Amy Duff.
Fighting back Ladies 8s pushed hard against the Hertford defence team and were awarded a penalty corner. Interjection from Hannah Witchalls, smashed in from Nula B resulted in Ladies 8s equalising in the 23rd minute.
The game continued in its fast pace with equal ball possession from both sides. Ladies 8s pushed hard in the defence and midfield against Hertford’s strategy of doubling up. Jemima O, with an opportunity created by Katie S smashed the ball into the goal at 33 minutes, resulting in Ladies 8s heading into half time 2-1 up.
As the second half began Stortford continued to play some strong hockey. With some fantastic hit outs from Amy Duff, the ball was pushed high and picked up well from Gemma Jarmain and Nula B. Despite some balls on target the Hertford keeper kept them out and Ladies 8s just couldn’t get the ball over the line. Unfortunately, Hertford’s strong attacking line and determination to score meant they managed to score in the 43rd minute.
The game continued with strong performances from both sides and despite giving everything, the final whistle blew with the score 2-2.
Special mentions go to Pete Duffy and Hannah Wynne who umpired the match and who were praised for their ability to provide great educational feedback and allow for a constant flow of play.
9’s (development side) v Potters Bar (7SW)
The Ladies 9s had their first game after the Christmas break against Potters Bar.
The 9s found it difficult to get into their stride against this very experienced Potters Bar team. The 1st half finished 4-0, however, the 9s found their confidence again in the 2nd half, they had the greater share of possession and the 9s Sarah Alderson got onto the scoresheet with a great goal.
Potters Bar finished the game with a 5-1 win, following a penalty shot awarded in the last few minutes.