With the sun on our backs and a spring in our step we stepped out to face Findern, formidably placed one spot above us in the League Table.
A positive start saw Staveley defending forcefully, pressing high but struggling to make the most of our extra woman on pitch. In fact, at times, it felt like that extra person was a curse with movement and passing looking a bit sluggish in the early stages.
It was a good, physical game with more than a few knocks and scrapes, with Gina getting a painful knock to her nose and an early ball to the foot saw poor Catherine limping off the pitch. Thankfully, we had subs and our fresh legs kept us on top, with Rachel finally converting with a fantastic flick into the Findern net. 1-0!!
Unfortunately we took our eye off the ball straight from the pushback with Findern running the ball down to our defensive ‘D’. With a nutmeg through Fran’s legs and a shot towards goal, poor Holly’s clearance went in the wrong direction and straight into the back of the Staveley net. 1-1!!
After a very long first half, we trudged off for our team talk. Recognising that whilst there were moments of real strength we just weren’t playing aggressively enough and needed to play our game, instead of Findern’s, we knew we had to step it up.
Fired up, we ran back on the pitch ready to score, win, run and all the other good stuff that happens in hockey matches. The difference told almost immediately with a great run down from our own half from Gina, who pulled it all the way round the back of their defence and hit the ball across the front of the goal for Sarah to smash home. 2-1.
Keeping the pressure on, Staveley pressed all the way inside Findern’s half, with some great runs from the back from Holly. On the occasions Findern broke through, Yso and Jo put in some great tackles with Hannah performing some fabulous saves when needed.
In no time, Rachel had secured her hat-trick with two more fantastic finishes and we had a win in our sights. Findern however weren’t giving up and popped in one more on the break.
But we were to see one more knock, with poor Nuala twisting her ankle quite badly: get better soon Nuala!!
Final score, 4-2 to Staveley, with a hat-trick from Rachel and a goal from Sarah C.
Special mention to Player of the Match, Annie, who put in a top-notch performance today, with great hassling, passing and movement on the right. Well done on 2nd spot in the table Staveley!!