Saturday 2nd March 2013

L2s 4 – Hertford 2s 1

“A Shaggy Dog Story”

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Liz ‘Mad Dog’ Gates, a veritable rottweiler in defence, rightly feared and respected by the opposition, gave herself (and her team) a bit of shock when she trotted out of defence and scored her first goal…..ever. The veteran defender couldn’t quite believe it herself and was seen to look back at the goal and double check the umpire’s signal to confirm that indeed, the ball had crossed the line and her name was on it. Some have to wait longer than others but eventually, every dog has its day!

For a while, it looked like the reds might have adopted a formation more akin to rugby than hockey as midfielder Riana Smit was the next to put the wind up Hertford’s tails with a virtually unchallenged run into the D. This time Hertford’s keeper kept them out of trouble with a powerful block but Stevenage continued to press and were rewarded when a beautiful cross from Captain McGrellis found graceful greyhound Gemma Penny who ‘whippet’ in the back of the net. The home side continued to hound their visitors out of the game, as effective as collies, herding flock breakers into the jaws of Keeper Pikard and her pack of defensive hounds who despatched the ball back up the field. Gutsy Highland Terrier Jan Gibson was frequently in the mix and voted Best in Show for her dogged determination that the fight isn’t over until the final whistle.

In a re-run of the team’s first encounter, Stevenage appeared to paws for thought in the second half and let Hertford back in the game however the reds were quickly back in the hunt and baying for blood. With uncanny spaniel like traits Alfie Gunther was soon pleading for the ball, chasing down every opportunity and generally running amok in Hertford’s circle. But it was old dog Debbi Church who stepped up for the short corner, picking up a perfect injection from McGrellis and planting the ball firmly in the back of Hertford’s kennel. As the game drew to a close Hertford became increasingly frustrated and a rather hard lesson was learned that one should never take that frustration out on a Boerboel..

Time for one last hurrah before the final whistle, using Grannie Church to unsight the keeper, Tennille Steiner slammed a cheeky ball straight through the old dog’s legs and into the backboard. A good day’s hunting made possible thanks to Viv Hamilton who gave up her own match to umpire the game – thanks Viv!

M5s 1 - WGC 4s 3

Another big effort by the 5’s ended in defeat to Welwyn Garden City by 3 goals to 1. We played well for much of the game but some defensive slips by us and good play by the away team let them in to score their goals. Mike Hamid played well in goal and was unfortunate to be on the losing side. Aytan, Tom and Matthew played well with some good tackling and passing. Matin Elliott was pleased to score his first goal of the season. Guests Scott, Danny and Chris all helped to improve our game in the absence of a couple of regulars taken by the higher teams. We must win one soon.

Saturday 9th March 2013

L1 0 - Old Loughtonians 8

There was at least one good thing to say about today's match versus second in the league Old Loughtonians: Yellow Balls!

In fact there are many more good things to add. The game was always going to be a hard one and with a few regular players missing, it was up to Daisy Mould, Sam Allum and Theresa Luciani to step up to the play and join in the team debut on "the smurf turf".

The blue pitch was certainly the highlight, even with the problems it posed with bouncy balls and speed only Nobel could dream of. Stevenage Ladies adapted quickly to the pitch and settled into the game calmly. Old Loughtonians provided a clinically perfect team; speed, skill and well drilled and inevitably the goals started to be scored. A concerted effort from the defence and GK was unfortunately not enough to keep the young Loughts side at bay. The difference from earlier games in the season meant we never gave up and we battled until the final whistle. An unfortunate decision made the final score one more than it could have been, but an 8-0 defeat did not dampen the team spirit, leaving one question unanswered... How does the bamboo stick keep rising?!

L2s 1 - Tring 1s 1

Gemma’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Making her debut for the 2s, Gemma Roakey could have been forgiven for thinking she’d stepped into a fairy tale - observing that the red’s keeper was sporting a fine pair of bunny ears and tail. It must have been a relief therefore to see that the outfield players were carrying regulation sticks rather than live flamingos and that there wasn’t a hedgehog in sight.

Having given league leaders Tring a bloody nose in the first game, Stevenage knew the return meet would be tough however; it was the red’s final game of the season and they were determined to strain every muscle and squeeze every last ounce of energy out to contain the young visitors – no guts no glory!

The home side duly opened the match with high energy, causing absolute mayhem in Tring’s half. Jules “Mad Hatter” Rhodes was on fire and a few scant minutes into the first half fired a goal bound exocet which a hapless defender only managed to slow down slightly before it thundered against the backboard. When Tring went down a goal in the first encounter they visibly wilted and Stevenage were able to press the advantage, not so this time. The rest of the match could be compared to the Mad Hatter’s Tea-Party as both teams were locked in battle and time seemed to stand still. Stevenage’s defensive line up played out of their skins and keeper Lisa Pikard’s bunny ears served to enhance her lightning reactive skills – seeming to hear the ball coming before she saw it. Tring finally found a hole in the red defence to draw level and then the fight was really on. Jules Rhodes put her mad hat back on and chased the ball round the pitch like a woman possessed. Passion was high as the two teams socked it out, Tring’s Queen of Hearts dealt out a few green cards but thankfully refrained from upgrading to a yellow or a deadly “off with her head-red”. Finally the last whistle of the last match of the season was blown, with the league leaders once again frustrated by their mid table opponents. Player of the Match went to Lisa Pikard and her bunny ears (and we hope those, ahem, painful bruises heal soon..)

And so, dear Reader, I finish the season with one last terrible pun – the result left the 2s grinning like Cheshire Cats…Tada!

M6 2 - Southgate Adelaide 4s 5

This week's game was our best of the season for the M6 team; plenty of basic hockey and it showed throughout the game. We held them back in their own half for quite some time and defended extremely well, with some excellent play by all our youngsters, especially our new recruit Jack Scott. We were 3-1 down in the first half with a final result of 5-2 to Southgate Adelaide and goals Scored by Kevin Wharton.

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