A new team! A new start!
The first of many!
Our first match has been a long time coming. I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have asked when our first game is. An early morning alarm was on the cards as we travelled to Longhirst for a 9:30 meet. For some it wasn’t early morning as they had not managed to get a full nights sleep! The Rochester clan arrive with mascot Sophie with billy the bear and her Epic hat in tow. This was then followed by the three musketeers who rocked up in their rule compliant clothing. (Thou must wear black to a fixture! – Rule 1 of the Flem-dog’s Hockey Bible)
In amongst all of the arrivals, Lou decided to spy on the Alnwick short corner preparation which paid off in the game! Finally, Rach was ready to share a few last words of wisdom however she couldn’t start before she knew everyone was there. After a quick look around, she was unable to locate one of the Three Musketeers, Tall Kate. Rach’s theory of looking up high for her had back fired as Kate was actually sat on the floor.
Kate was located and words were shared and so we set of to the pitch for a great warm up. Ready to start with time to spare isn’t our usual style but it paid off. Everyone was cool, calm and collected and ready for action. Well…except from Brian who was shouting at us even before the game started.
With a squad was full of fresh new talent and some unstoppable tactics we stood ready for the whistle. The game started well however we were panicking with the ball a little too much. As we began to calm down and work for each other the passes started to link and we attacked their D. Before we knew it, we had our first penalty corner which we converted into a very tidy goal after moving the ball around.
One nil and we were feeling good. The passing was developing well as we all go used to playing with each other. Shortly after the goal Alnwick managed to work the ball into our defending D. Amy was on hand and was obviously feeling a little more adventurous this season as she nearly left the D trying to tackle the opposition. Meanwhile Laura, Hannah, Lou and Farrah were pegging it back to cover the goal line.
The defence stayed strong in the first half however Alnwick did manage to get themselves a short corner. With Lou’s spy info, the defence read the play very well and made a great interception. Laura took her defensive roles very serious today and manged to head butt one of their attacker’s crotch whilst tackling. Baz would like to clarify that Laura just got low and tackled well and that Laura didn’t just decide to head butt her in the fanny.
With all this going on Fi felt the need to become a complete hypochondriac! She got taken out as she charged through the Alnwick defence. It was if she had broken her shoulder. Once her team realised she hadn’t then all sympathy disappeared. Man Up Fi! Princess Bobelina didn’t want Fi to have all the attention so came off the pitch with a phantom calf injury! This resulted in both Suze and Emma Dovey being asked by Brian if she had her kit as were running out of subs.
Newcastle carried on pressing and they were rewarded with loads of short corners. Flem-dog was the next to convert one of these opportunities into a goal with a super short into the bottom left. Two nil and we were bossing the game. Our defence made all the difference. They were upping the chat and controlling the game especially when we went to a half pitch press. The talk from the back enabled us to cover the pitch as Alnwick moved the ball across the pitch. Hannah scooped up any balls that manged to break through the forward line and Bazi continued to make tackle after tackle after tackle. Well until the ball went under her stick for the first time EVER!!!! But as always, the Bazi that she is she just recovered fast and then tackled the girls to win the ball straight back. Farrah literally just scooped up anything that managed to get through the rest of the team and did it consistently throughout the match despite generally spending most of the match bored at the back.
The half pitch press baffled Alnwick with members of their team shouting ‘I don’t know what they are doing!” This was the time for the team to shine! We were defending together and attacking together. We supported each other from the back to the front of the pitch. We attacked at pace as the forwards ran their legs off. We were all passing and moving and wanting the ball back as soon as we had sent it. The next two goals we the result of this continuous running to defend and the pace that we attacked. It was a turn over that Flem-dog played out wide to Nicky who sprinted down the wing to play one of the best balls ever across the d to be tapped in at the far post by Fi. Scoring a goal is a great feeling however scoring a goal that had been worked by the team is an even better feeling. The buzz lasts that much longer with everyone.
The opposition still couldn’t work out the half press and so we continued to pounce. Despite the interesting decisions by the umpires, we carried on and another turn over resulted in another team goal. Bazi to Kate, Kate to Megan then Megan took the ball glued to the end of her stick to tap it round the goalie and then pop it into the open goal with a reverse hit! Four nil was the final score and we as a team deserved every single one.
As Phil Jackson, an American basketball player once said...”Good teams become great ones, when the members trust each other enough to surrender the ‘me’ for the ‘we’!” WE all did that today! WE all made the difference! WE are Newcastle Ladies 1st XI … Imagine how good WE will get as the season goes on!