Wilmslow Men's 1st team welcomed Deeside Ramblers 2nd team to Styal Farm this week. It was the first return fixture of the season and with the aim of trying to put a stop to Wilmslow's perfect start, Deeside had strengthened with the benefit of no games for their 1st team. This paid dividends from the early play with Deeside on top from the off. A flowing move with some excellent two touch hockey meant they were able to carve through the ever reliable defence and open the scoring.
Matthew Westbrook was able to punish the Deeside 'keeper with a trademark penalty corner flick in to the corner to level up but Deeside soon took the lead again with another well worked goal. The game ebbed and flowed throughout most of the first half and was an even match. Another penalty corner was won after good work in the 'D' by James Warburton which top goal scorer Bastiaan Steffens finished expertly. Steffens was even able to claim his second after some close skills in open play allowed him to push the ball past the 'keeper to make it 3-2 at half time to Wilmslow.
The second half was very different to the first and Wilmslow's superior team work, skill and fitness shone through. Some excellent inter play down the flanks meant that Wilmslow were able to cut their way through the Deeside defence with regularity. Sam Dawson popped up on the right side of the 'D' very close to the base line. Surely he wouldn't shoot from that angle would he? Well he certainly did and roofed it high in to the net to make the score line 4-2 with a superb finish. It was soon 5-2 after a long ball found Warburton in the 'D' unmarked and with a little help from the keeper after the initial shot was going wide, put it in to his own net in the bottom corner. A finish that Warburton himself would have been proud of.
Some good work down the right again resulted in some tidy skill on the baseline by Pete Hallinan to put an easy tap in on a plate for Andy Hunt to make it 6-2. Deeside did pull one more goal back but there was still enough time for one more goal after Steve Edmonds found Hallinan unmarked in the 'D' who rounded the keeper and finished with aplomb. A 7-3 victory against a very strong Deeside side is an excellent way to finish for the Christmas break unbeaten leaving the team 6 points clear of 2nd placed Crewe with a game in hand. The team know that the hard work starts now to maintain this record and will continue to train over the Christmas period to reflect the efforts that the team have already shown throughout the first half of the season.
Elsewhere the men's second team signed off for the mid-season break with another success, their eighth in a row, to maintain their advantage at the top of the league. This was a rather laboured display, however, and Sale certainly enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, forcing Bobby Hassard into a couple of smart stops before capitalising on a poor umpiring decision to draw first blood. That served as a wake-up call for the visitors, and they soon drew level when Jack Wright pulled off his trademark move to set up Ric Pheiffer for the equaliser. Wright was at it again a few moments later, using the same trick to get in behind the Sale back four before squaring for Cam Armstrong who finished with a neat reverse stick strike. In the second half some good work from Romeo Hall helped the prolific Pheiffer notch two more well-taken goals and bring up his hat-trick, providing Wilmslow with a cushion which proved valuable as Sale finished strongly, grabbing a late consolation and making the final score 4-2.
The men's third team were unfortunate to lose 4-2 to Macclesfield, whilst the men's fourth team beat Macclesfield 3-0. The under 13's beat Triton 3-1. Whilst the ladies first team were unlucky to lose to Oldham 2-1 despite a goal from Charlotte Kelman, the ladies second team retained their 100% record with a 2-0 win against Buckley with Fiona Mellor scoring both goals to go 6 points clear at the top of the table, the ladies third team beat Timperley 4-3.
Match report by Amy Bracegirdle.