Staveley Seconds needed to secure a win today, not just to finish second in the table, but also to finish the season on a well-deserved high.
The sun was shining but we started slow.
Thankfully, Hannah Matchett was a legend, leading from the back with multiple stops giving the rest of us a chance to get it together and get into the match!
Once we did though, we were off!!
Showing great teamwork, our passing was clean, we kept to the widths and really helped one another out, showcasing the skills that have really kept us on top this season. Despite this, we closed out the first half, 0-0.
A strong team talk and some performance enhancing haribos bolstered our resolve and we stormed into the second half, with Dani slotting a neat shot away in the early minutes. This was shortly followed by another goal from a penalty corner setup by Rache.
Despite our lead, Belper continued to press and took advantage of our older and tired legs on the break. 2-1!!! Even as Belper found their rhythm again, we continue LD to press up the field, keeping the action in their defensive half, an effort that was rewarded when a returning Kelly F put our third away, 15 minutes from the end. 3-1!! Surely it was ours?!
To their credit, Belper never gave up fighting and managed to squeeze one more goal from us, despite some controversy about feet.
The final whistle blew at 3-2. Goals from Dani, Rach and Kelly F.
Thoroughly well deserved MOM for Hannah Matchett who leaves for uni before next season starts and who kept us in the game when the rest of us were looking the other way. Well done Hannah!
And to everyone who’s played this season, well done, you came, you played, you cheered us on, you were awesome! Next season, Number 1 Spot!!!?
With only two games remaining we arrived at St Mary’s looking to put in a solid performance against Matlock.
It was a glorious Saturday morning and with the sun shining we started well, putting together some good runs and dominating possession. We were pressing hard in the first half and had five short corners in quick succession, but all to no avail! As the half continued on Matlock came back into the game more but at half time it was still 0-0.
With the girls enjoying the sun and a half time team talk from Harry we knew we needed to start the second half as strongly as we had done the first. Things didn’t go to plan though as Matlock ran up the pitch and scored within the first couple of minutes. 1-0 Matlock!
Although we were a goal down our heads didn’t drop and we kept up our passing game and were rewarded soon after with another short corner. Kara pushed the ball out to Rachel who hit it in. 1-1!
Keeping up the pressure we continued to push forward and were rewarded with another goal within a few minutes. The second also came from a short corner, with Kara pushing the ball out to Jo who took the shot which was blocked by Matlock’s keeper. The rebound came out to Rachel who did a lovely flick to chip the ball into the top of the goal. 2-1!
The second half wasn’t over yet though and Matlock reapplied the pressure on us with a succession of short corners. Our defence held firm though and the final whistle went with an excellent team performance and 2-1 win for Staveley.
Player of the Match went to Sarah who had a fantastic game on the right wing.
As the season winds down, the competition amongst the top four teams hits up, meaning a good show against Burton was a must today.
Things started well as we arrived on time and to see our Firsts secure a 6-1 win against a higher division Burton team. Seems like a good sign.
We even get a good run and warm up before a few quick drills in the D. Almost unprecedented!
Straight from the whistle Staveley start well and string some great passes together. Pressing our defence up the pitch. A short corner is pushed out by Kara to Jo who laid off to Kelly who slapped it in. 1-0 up after 10 minutes!
Again we played our game and Jo pulled up for another short corner. A follow up of her own shot saw Jo scoring a brilliant goal. Just before the end of the first half we started to get a little tired against Burton’s Young and energetic team but we held our lead.
A good team talk at half time and we got back on the pitch. We started well but a quick break saw us slip up a goal. 2-1.
We needed to stay focused and keep our heads up. We kept the pressure up in the Burton half of the pitch and nearly put another one in but the post and some good skills from their keeper kept us out.
Our defence was put to the test again as Burton fought to get a goal. Brilliant goal keeping and a fantastic defence helped us hold our lead.
A short corner was awarded on the final whistle. One last chance for them to pull level. Thankfully our defence once again held out and cleared the ball. What a relief! Final score, 2-1! Well played everyone.
Very well deserved Player of the Match awarded to Holly ‘the machine’ Spavold and our scorers were Killy and JoBo.
Holly and I arrive on time, as usual, with the rest of the team arriving in dribs and drabs at the delightful Belper Meadows hockey pitch, on a soggy spring morning. You’d think with Belper only having a team of 9 players, this would give us an advantage.
However, with at least half of the team sorely hungover from Scalder’s birthday bash the previous evening, we were certainly not the stronger team on the pitch, despite having a full team and a sub unable to play due to a bad hangover.
Play started with 2 women down, but cries from Jen could be heard so we knew she was on her way.
Surprisingly, we were awesome with good, strong passes around the pitch. With play taken from one end of the pitch to the attacking half, Rachel stormed up the pitch to score our first goal. With more great play and determination, we found ourselves with a few short corners, one with a successful pass to Jo at the top of the D, where she hit the ball so hard it nearly cracked. With a cracking goal came an air punch from Jo. BOOM 2-0. Half time was called.
Although they were 2-0 down, Belper came out with a positive attitude and a fighting spirit, which caught us on the hop a few times but our hero, Charlie Calderbank, made some fantastic saves. Unfortunately, this forced the defence to pull together, sometimes even tripping over one another and despite digging deep, Belper took advantage and slipped it into the back of the net.
Like the cavalry, Belper fought on. The goal must have provided them with some encouragement. The second half saw good play from both sides, Jo launched over poor Yso resulting in bruising all round.
The final whistle blew, 2-1 to Staveley. Had we have played the second half like the first half, the score would have very different.
The most important lesson learnt today was that the chips provided by Belper were by far the best ever and we thank you for that.
Please enjoy a lovely picture of me and Holly. (Jo)
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!!
With only 9 players, we decided that the best thing for us to do would be to completely scrap formation and play anywhere and everywhere we could.
The first goal was scored by Gina, it was well within the first 10 minutes and after a cheeky weave through their defence, we were 1-0 up.
Their first goal was scored by taking advantage of our weakness, only having 9 players and 2 at the back. They had a break and it slipped down our right wing, it came to a one on one between their captain and our goalie, Han was so close but so far and they caught up with us and it was now 1-1.
Still in the first half, we were yet to score again. We were awarded a short and it was passed by Gina to the top of the D with Nuala, Lydia and Annie waiting at the top. The ball went to Lydia and with great communication skills was passed to Rachel who drove forward and stuck it into the backboard to make it 2-1.
It seemed that every time we scored, they felt like they had to too. They again took advantage of our weakness and made another break, just getting passed Sarah and who tracked up and down brilliantly. They slipped it through Yso and it was an unlucky goal making it 2-2.
After half time they came out with it all. They knew we were playing hard and we weren’t going to give up. However, they once again got past us and managed to score, but this would’ve been the last of the odds being in their favour.
After a stroll up by the opposition who were clearly pondering the half we’d played before, a annoyed Rachel caused a ruckus. She played the ball to Lydia before the whistle was blown and confronted the umpire with great confidence and she wasn’t going to be stopped. The umpire was speechless, she didn’t know what to say other than the classic “I’m the umpire you’re the player” and after that the game continued.
The ball was played back to Catherine who played a great defence role but also attacking when she went herself, and she carried it down the line to make a cheeky flick over a players stick. It travelled into the D and to Rachel who lifted it into the goal, making it 3-3.
We defended again and got it up pitch with Nuala, Rachel, Gina and Lydia all making runs up and down the pitch. It was passed up the pitch and found Gina in the D, she shot on goal and scored making it 4-3. The last goal was a well deserved one from Annie with a cheeky tap in the D, we were unstoppable, it was 5-3 and this was how it was to stay.
Man of the match was Rachel with Gina falling a vote short. Kelly, our excellent umpire for the day, made all the great decisions and didn’t crumble under any pressure like most would.