With a late re-arragement of venue, the U11 girls travelled to Whitchurch again to a tournament, where they played Barry, Gwent and Howells.
The first match was against Barry. This was the first outing of 2012 for the girls, having not even had a training session after all the festive over-indulgences. And perhaps that showed a little, with the girls getting off to a slow start.
The match was well balanced, but really we never looked in great danger of conceding a goal. Rikki-Jae McCarthy in goal was forced into a quality save with her stick towards the end of the match, but the result was clear by then. As the match went on we settled into our style, and some lovely interplay being commanded by Eleri Williams
and Laura Nuttall
in the middle started to allow wings Nell Butler
and Bethan Phillips
a little more space on the ball. Showing skills that many older players would be proud of, they began to dominate. Skills typified by Bethan's reverse stick pass from wide out directly to Nell in perfect position. With Eleri and Laura totally dominating the midfield tussles, they scored a goal apiece to leave the result secure.
With the memories of how to move the ball around into open spaces finally beginning to kick in, the girls put together a masterful performance against Gwent. With the ball genuinely not really getting into our own half, the only thing to be decided was who was to score the goals. With joint top scorer prior to today, Eleri, taking on the goalkeeping role, it was left to Bethan to torment Gwent down the right and deliver some great balls in. Laura and Rikki-Jae were delighted to create space in the centre and release Nell and Lucy Stockley
down the left, continually working their way around the back of the defence to create goal scoring chances. Alys Morgan
and Efa Mullin playing at the back could also come forward to stop any sort of clearance or breakout, and the dominance was intense. Goal of the day must go to Rikki-Jae for a great first time slapshot following another cross from Bethan - right off the training pitch that one. Bethan was sharpest to react to another goal mouth scramble, and she also found the corner with a rasping shot, and Nell also got in on the act with a fine strike, to leave us 4-0 victors.
The final match against Howells was a little frustrating. The opposition were so fearful of giving the ball away that restarts seemed to take forever. But with all our team waiting like springs ready to pounce on the weak clearances, who can blame them? But as so often with this incredibly one-sided match, it's nigh on impossible to find the net. With the goalie making many saves, we simply couldn't find the target, and Eleri and Rikki-Jae many times went close, but probably every single one of our players had a shot which either went wide or was cleared by the desperate defence. All except Bethan of course, taking her turn in goal and finding the backboard provides a comfortable way of resting weary legs. The team were disappointed to achieve a 0-0 result, and perhaps making sure we put teams like this to the sword is a key lesson to learn.
The third tournament now where we haven't conceded a goal.
Players player of the tournament went to Laura Nuttall
, deserved recognition for her tireless work in midfield and around all the pitch.