This week saw the Hockey 1st team win under ‘Friday Night Lights’ on the new Astro, against a strong Brighton College side, topped off with victories for the U14 ABCs winning all of their matches on Saturday.
1st XI vs Brighton College
The first ‘Friday Night Lights’ match of the term greeted the girls with blustery conditions and no need to water the new pitch. Despite the challenging conditions, both sides were unfazed and from the first whistle, the match was played with intensity and tempo. Undoubtedly, the Epsom home crowd added much to the atmosphere and the 1st XI rose to the occasion.
Both teams had chances early on, Izzy Evans (R) in goal did much to help Epsom weather the storm of five consecutive defensive penalty corners and it was the home team that took the opportunity and converted their first attacking corner with 15 minutes played, Tassy Williams (R) shooting strongly from the top of the circle. Solid work in the midfield from Gina Liebenberg (Rv), Alex Nienow (R) and Williams ensured Epsom maintained a good percentage of possession and when they attacked the flanks they looked dangerous.
A high work rate from the forwards, Grace Crompton (R) returning from injury, Farrah Stephens-Martin (M), Paige Chamberlain (Cr), Jennifer Phizackerley (Cr) and Emily Long (R) ensured that Brighton had no time on the ball in defence and any attempt to transfer and build from the back was met with keen opposition. A decisive move down the right on the stroke of half time was drilled home by Gina Liebenberg (Rv), making it 2-0 to Epsom at half time.
The visitors from the south coast were certainly not finished, however, and came out strongly in the second half. In defence, Epsom were busy, with Elisabeth Phizackerley (Cr) and Izzy Mitchell (R) providing some stability. Both teams cancelled each other out for a fair proportion of the second half, with good play in attack and defence coming in equal measure. However, a superbly worked move out of defence was well finished off with some superb individual skill. Emily Long (R) picked the ball up on the right wing, rode through a couple of stick tackles and promptly rifled an unstoppable backhand into the roof of the net; the match was secured and the appreciative audience were overjoyed.
The talented Brighton side fought hard to pull a goal back with minutes to go but Epsom had done more than enough to safeguard their third victory in a row. There were lots of positives to be gained, and as the team starts to play with more shape, and to pass with more purpose, the results are encouraging.
Goal Scorers: Williams (R), Liebenberg (Rv), Long (R)
Player of the Match: Gina Liebenberg (Rv)
U14 ABC victories
See all match reports on SOCS here.