On a stereotypical autumnal day, Wilmslow men's 1st team welcomed a much strengthened Crewe Vagrants to Oakwood Farm. Uncharacteristically, it was the visitors who exchanged the first blow with some swift counter attacking hockey, which soon became apparent would be their main threat. Long balls and some incredibly fast forwards tested the Wilmslow defence early on. Following a sustained period of pressure, a mistake by Wilmslow gifted Crewe the early lead.
This was the wake up call that Wilmslow needed and the response prompted some dominant display and a number of clear cut chances that were missed by the normal, free flowing front line. Andy Hunt with arguably the best chance of the game so far. The pressure did continue to mount however and a number of short corners were awarded before Bastiaan Steffens stepped up and flicked a penalty corner high in to the corner of the net leaving the keeper with no chance, making the score 1-1. Wilmslow continued to create chances but another sloppy error in the midfield led to another break away goal leaving Adam Ford no chance. 2-1 at half time.
Half time couldn't have come soon enough with Coach Turner able to unleash some of his wisdom on the Wilmslow players. There was an increased dynamism surrounding Wilmslow when the whistle signaled the start of the second half but again, Wilmslow were left wasteful in front of goal. A number of corners were awarded in succession and Bastiaan was able to pull the Dutch courage to flick another past the Crewe keeper, 2-2. With what can only be described as jealousy by the Crewe forward and some pushing to follow, Darryl Stocker and the Crewe player were both given a 5 minute yellow card.
This prompted another increase in intensity by Wilmslow which resulted in a penalty stroke being awarded. Captain, Martin Wright stepped up to the plate with a merry dance and some kidology before the strike was taken. If the fair play award was up for grabs this early on in the season, some would argue that Wright would have been given this accolade. His flick can only have been that tame on purpose and must have felt the initial decision was harsh. The Crewe keeper duly obliged in snaffling up the effort as it rolled along the floor.
Wright did however not let his head down and rallied his troops to continue to fight until the end. This is a trait that the great Sir Alex Ferguson would be proud of and there was one last twist left in the game. Crewe were awarded a penalty corner that was expertly defended by Pete Hallinan and Wilmslow won a free hit. From the resulting attack, James Warburton was able to pick the pocket of the Crewe defender after they had won the ball back and play Steve Edmonds in for a one on one against the Crewe keeper. The chance was taken with aplomb past the on rushing keeper which sparked wild celebrations amongst players and fans alike. The full time whistle was blown 20 seconds later and Wilmslow picked up all 3 points winning 3-2. They travel to West Derby on Saturday looking to continue their 100% record.
The men's second team took on Bowdon this weekend, in a very see saw like encounter, the attacks were firmly on top these two strong sides shared the goals evenly. Wilmslow opened the scoring when Rick Pheiffer converted a short corner, but it proved a short-lived advantage as Bowdon quickly hit back. Wilmslow continued to take the game to the home side, and gained due reward when James Bell bundled his way through the defence before slotting home, Pheiffer then doubled the advantage with a well-taken deflection. After the break Bowdon upped the ante, a quick-fire double from Bowdon levelled matters as Wilmslow struggled to maintain their discipline. The prolific Pheiffer brought up his hat-trick with a 15-yard pile driver before Wilmslow were again pegged back, and it took a last-gasp goal from Bell, after some excellent work by Jack Wright, to make sure the points were shared in the 10 goal thriller to make the score 5-5.
Elsewhere the men's third team faced local rivals Alderley Edge, which was a top of the table clash, surprisingly early on in the season. The game started with a great intensity with teams somewhat evenly match for the first 20 minutes. However Wilmslow had Matt Brickhill in goal who made a string of superb saves to keep the scores level. Wilmslow pressed on and gained control of the game, which they continued to do so for the remainder of the match. Young scored two goals to put Wilmslow in the lead at half time and Wilmslow continued to dominate with Roberts scoring two goals and Welsh with a hat trick. Wilmslow continued to attack and were awarded a short corner which made the score line 7-1. 4 games into the season and Wilmslow are top of the table with Knutsford their nearest in second.
The men's fourth team also faced local rivals Alderley Edge, with a successful 2-1 win. The ladies first team beat Sale 1-0, the ladies second team beat Buckley 3-0 with Rachel Payne scoring the hat-trick. The ladies third team were unlucky to draw 2-2 against Timperley, whilst the fourth team lost 2-0 to Sandbach first team. On Sunday the ladies vets (over 35's) beat Cronkbourne from the Isle of Man 3-1 in the England Hockey vets cup.
Match report by Amy Bracegirdle.