On a cold, wet, windy November morning, it was 9:47 at Staveley’s home hockey pitch and the first players were starting to arrive! Our very own Sarah Calderbank was keen to get the pre-match warmup underway as the cold started biting our noses.
After some vigorous warm up exercises and passing skills, we were ready for action! Oh wait, there were no umpires. Finally the umpires arrived and after a few helmet issues with our goalkeeper, Hannah Matchett, the game started.
It was a tough first half as Ilkeston were very determined to get a goal and succeeded in the first 15 minutes. By then we had a few good shots on goal but they were all stopped by the opposition’s defenders. There were many short corners, shots on goal and a few 16s. 5 minutes to go before the whistle and we were desperate for a goal. A nasty stick tackle from an Ilkeston defender gave our team a short corner and an opportunity for a goal. Kara Mason was the taker for the short corner.
Everywhere was quiet except for a couple of shouts of encouragement here and there. A fantastic, powerful ball was passed from Kara straight to Sam Dean. She did a quick dribble and hit it straight into the back of the net. A great victory dance was in order so Sam outdid herself and did a perfect little dance.
At half time, everyone was cold, wet but very happy at Sam’s goal. It was 2-1 to Ilkeston and we needed to get another goal. We were all in high spirits (despite the weather) and the team was giving great feedback and constructive criticism. After a much needed team talk from Captain Kara, it was time to get back on to the pitch. The other team were set and ready whilst we were still talking tactics and giving gossip. A couple of the players from both teams were running on the spot to get warm and suddenly the whistle blew.
The second half was underway and Staveley started with the pushback this time. Most of the time, the ball was down Ilkeston’s defending end because our team had a very positive attitude towards the second half and it was looking good.
Sideline after sideline after sideline for our team as a result of Ilkeston’s defenders and keeper hitting the ball out and still no luck. Finally another short corner was awarded to our team for yet another nasty stick tackle. This time, it was Sam’s turn to take the short corner. All the attackers were lined up against the circle and so was the tension. A brilliant hit from Sam, sent the ball flying to Fran Puddick and then straight into the goal. Everybody along the sideline and our half of the pitch were cheering like we had just won the league. Ilkeston’s pushback again and they were at it now. Still determined and still raring to go. They were not giving up. But this determination made our defenders work even harder. They were not getting through us. The ball had been turned over now and we had a chance to get another one. However, a wet pitch plus a fast running lady results in very good splits from Sam. The ball was travelling very fast (due to the awful weather which still belting down hard) and it was heading our end.
With a hard hit from the number 10 player on the opposing team, it was aimed right at my foot which led to a short corner. The time was coming to an end as the player was ready to take the short. A quick pass was made and a quick run from me but I jumped too early which led to the final goal of the match. There was small hope for us now yet we kept going.
We were awarded our final short corner which was a final chance for us. Grace Colley (sweeper) had told the whole team (except Hannah) to gather round the attacking D for our last hope. Kara was taking this final short and it was going for Sam. Unfortunately, Sam hit the ball in the wrong direction and it went out for a 16. Every member of our team sprinted back to their own positions and we were ready for another chance but the whistle was blown and every team member shook hands with one another. Three cheers were awarded to each team and over to the sideline for fantastic feedback and constructive compliments.
At the pub, man of the match was decided. From Ilkeston, they chose Kelly Thring who played fantastically and was an all round good player. From Staveley, Sam Dean was awarded the man or woman of the match for her fantastic goal and brilliant interceptions.
Written by Holly Spavold Memeber of Staveley Ladies Hockey Team