Hockey: Wilmslow celebrates one of their most successful weekends


Wilmslow Hockey Club had one of their most successful weekends in the club's history as every team was undefeated.

This weekend saw Wilmslow Men's 1st team take on City Of Manchester (COM) and Colwyn Bay in a double header due to Colwyn Bay's no show the previous week.

First up was City Of Manchester (COM). Wilmslow started the game with only 1 substitute due to 5 regular players been unavailable, they didn't let this have any effect gaining control of the game from the first whistle and creating lots of opportunities notably Hunt and Edmonds missing sitters both created from Hallinan passing to them inside the D.

COM punished these missed chances by taking the lead with their first shot of the game from their first penalty corner. As has been the story of Wilmslow's season they instantly responded with Dawson winning a penalty after being brought down as he was about to pull the trigger, Hallinan stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, evening the score at the break.

The second half was a much more even affair with James, Westbrook and (joint) MOM Stott working hard alongside a makeshift defence of Marty Wright, Stocker and Jack Wright to repel COM's counter attacks. Despite still being the dominant team Wilmslow were unable to find a way through and again conceded a weak goal which came from the oppositions second meaningful strike.

With 10 minutes to go and 2-1 down Wilmslow were facing their first defeat of the season, with attack after attack proving fruitless. Up stepped (joint) MOM Dawson with another maze-like run at the end of which he found himself at the top of the D and finished with a bullet into the far corner.

With the scores at 2-2 Wilmslow could smell blood and were pounding the City Of Manchester goal with Edmonds striking the inside of the post, somehow the ball stayed out. In the last 30 seconds of the game Edmonds crashed a ball into the D which came up off a defenders stick eventually finding Hallinan who with the slightest of touches knocked it onto the crossbar, the ball then came down and struck a defenders foot setting up Hunt for what everyone thought would be the winning goal only for the Umpire to blow his whistle as the ball crossed the line awarding a penalty corner.

Unfortunately Wilmslow were unable to convert and the final whistle blew. The team were very disappointed losing their 100% record but remained positive knowing they were still unbeaten and had a chance to correct their form with a game against bottom side Colwyn Bay the following day.

Despite a few sore legs (and heads) Wilmslow were eager to put yesterday's draw behind them, which they did in 'Styal!!' Boosted by 5 extra players from the day before including a season debut for Cam Armstrong, Wilmslow came out firing scoring 5 goals in the first half and going into the break 5-0.

The first goal came from Captain Marty Wright popping up at the back post for a tap in from an Edmonds strike, the second was a standard short corner routine expertly executed, Jack Wright's push out to Edmonds stick stop leaving our foreign import and man of the match Steffens to drag flick the ball into the side netting.

Another short corner routine saw Steffens spinning (ballerina style) putting the ball on a plate for Westbrook to do what he's always done inside the D sending the ball home.

The fourth goal came from season debutant Armstrong, deflecting the ball past the oncoming keeper after Edmonds crashed the ball in for his second assist of the day. After more perfect defending from Darryl Stocker and some slick passing down the right side of the pitch Hunt found Hallinan in the D unmarked, there could be only one outcome with a first time slap into the top of the goal.

The second half didn't go exactly to plan with the previous day's game clearly taking its toll. Wilmslow pressed forward with Bonner finding Hunt, he then turned and smashed the ball past the keeper making the score 6-0.

To their credit Colwyn's young side came back scoring 2 open play goals that Adam Ford could do nothing about. Wilmslow then got back into gear and scored a 7th when Hallam and Dawson combined to find Lumpy at the back post for an easy finish. The 8th and 9th goals were both scored by Edmonds; yet again Dawson found space down the baseline squaring the ball for an easy tap in.

The 9th came from good work by Lumby on the right passing to Edmonds who dispatched the ball into the corner.

There was time for Hallinan to make it 10 when finding himself in acres of space, but he didnt want to embarrass the opposition by making it double figures. So he kindly hit the ball off into the corner ending the game. 8 points clear of their closest rivals Wilmslow have some big games coming up in the next 4 weeks.

Wilmslow ladies 2nd team faced an away fixture at Northop Hall looking to continue their current form. In frosty conditions Wilmslow did not look too hot themselves in the first 10 minutes. This soon resulted in going 1 nil down as Northop Hall continued to disrupt play, and managed to convert a short corner after continuingly threatening the Wilmslow goal. Just before the end of the first half Wilmslow managed to make it 1 a piece as Jen Nurmi fired in from the top of D after winning short corner.

The second half saw a completely different Wilmslow team as they took control of the game. Amy Bracegirdle was determined to turn the game around, and after a clever pass from Louise Charlesworth, she dribbled into the D and struck the ball confidently to make it 2- 1. Wilmslow continued to take control, and began to play the hockey that has seen them do so well this year.

The third goal came from a well drilled short corner that was finished off by Rachel Payne. Wilmslow's confidence grew and the whole team starting to fire on all cylinders. Northop Hall continued to defend in numbers but another short corner was won and Jen Egan made no mistake scoring from the top of the D making the end result 4 – 1 to Wilmslow. A second half performance that Wilmslow can be very proud of.

Elsewhere the ladies first team were unable to play due to a frozen pitch, the ladies third team beat local rivals Alderley Edge 1-0, whilst the ladies fourth team beat Macclesfield 2-0.

Wilmslow kept their run of success going against Triton, but made heavy weather of it, eventually labouring to a 3-1 success against their relegation-threatened rivals. As has been an ongoing theme all season, Wilmslow started quickly, and were soon in front when Roger Eden did well down the right wing before finding Matt Bonner in the 'D', who finished with a trademark reverse-stick shot.

Wilmslow failed to press home that advantage, though, allowing Triton back into the game, and the visitors drew level before the break when converting a short corner. Wilmslow remained unable to hit top gear the second half and needed an off-the-line clearance from man-of-the-match Max Green to keep things level before James Bell scored a goal befitting of such a scrappy affair, his slow-motion effort creeping over the line. It wasn't until Eden and Bonner combined again late in the match to bring up Bonner's brace, that the home side could relax, and better will be needed when they travel to closest rivals Bramhall next week.

The men's third team beat Timperley 6-1 whilst the fourth team also beat Timperley 2-0. However the juniors had the greatest success beating Chester an astonishing 18-1, and Brooklands 4-3.

Match report by Amy Bricegirdle.

Hockey, Wilmslow Hockey Club