Hockey: Mens 1s return to winning ways


Wilmslow's Men's 1st team faced West Derby at Oakwood Farm, in week 17 of the season. After a disappointing loss last week to Brooklands Men's 3s, Wilmslow (and their merry followers) were ready to get back to winning ways and maintain their top spot.

After an active start by Wilmslow, Stott muscled his way through the West Derby midfield to find Edmonds who slotted the ball home with ease between the Derby keeper's legs. The fans cheered for an early lead which motivated the mighty men to make a break once more. Soon they snook into the West Derby D and were rewarded with a short corner. With no "Dutch Courage" and the team OAP away skiing it was left to captain Wright to flick the ball into the bottom left of the goal.

With the success of the earlier goal still ringing in his ears Capitan Wright once again stepped up again 4 minutes later to make it 3-0 with a mirror image perfect drag flick. Wright and the rest of the Wilmslow men were hungry for more.

Wilmslow's defence, struck by injury woes after the Christmas break, were aided by the return of "Man of the Match" Christopher Berkon. He bravely put his body on the line once again, he chose to head the ball away stopping the West Derby attack from scoring. The team nurses rushed to his side but the warrior managed to play on after being patched up.

Wilmslow had little choice but to call on a jetlagged Hallinan. Fighting through his blurry vision he managed to fixate on the net and score the next. The goal was certainly worth the journey. Set up from 75 yards away with perfectly threaded ball from the double goal defender Captain Wright, Hallinan deflected through the keeper for the 4th inside 17 minutes.

West Derby's only glimmer of hope came after a break in the defence when the away team captain Chris Hart took on the Wilmslow keeper, his success continued when the ball ricocheted off Stockers impressive stature giving away a way a penalty flick. Taking no prisoners Hart neatly tucked the ball away for Derby's only goal of the game.

Wilmslow soon found form charging again at their opponent where an opinionated Edmonds soon found himself in space inside the visitors D. After drawing the keeper from his line, Edmonds found himself with options on both penalty spot and back post. Deceiving the keeper Steve confidently swerved the flailing keeper and flicked the ball into the side netting himself making the score 5-1 to the home side.

Wilmslow didn't stop there, and before the end of the half another Wright showed some international standard 3D skills breaking the West Derby defence. Jack being the selfless player he is passed the ball to an eager Dawson who took his chances, flicking the ball high into the Derby goal. Back on top form, Wilmslow returned the dugout for a half time team talk beaming unlike the sun which has failed to heat the frozen fans.

The second half started once again with the young Jack Wright bursting with confidence from his first touch. Showing his skills once again, this time as he entered the away teams D, he shot high into the Derby net. With a final flourish, Hallinan moving swiftly deflected the ball into the Derby net for his brace.

Edmonds was on the hunt, with Stott showing his strength and determination through the ever-slowing midfield of West Derby found Edmonds on his own back post to complete his hat-trick for the afternoon.

Dawson, inspired by Stott's strength, decided to run full pelt at the Derby defence, The intimidated defence were felt in the shadows of the young Wilmslow whippet. With his eyes on the prize he saw Mark Lumb. Smashing the ball with all his might Dawson shouted to Lumb, who proving that communication really is the key to success scored his only goal of the day.

It's not over until the fat lady sings, or in this case until the final whistle blows. Wilmslow were caught sleeping and the Derby team started to move up the pitch. Yet another Wright stepped up and saved the day with a last-ditch tackle stopping West Derby from doubling their tally. The golden locks of the Aussie pro shone as bright as the smiles from the side-line seeing the Wright brothers playing together once again.

Awakened by the shock of the Derby break, Wilmslow found themselves back inside the West Derby D. Wright, completed his hat-trick with a top corner drag flick causing post man Mike Dimnell to duck in fear for his life. Finally, the first team captain was leading by example.

Although the time was counting down, Captain Wright felt that there was time to add one more to the scoreboard. With a drag flick, powerful enough the snap the legs of the West Derby keeper the outcome was inevitable. The final whistle signalled the end of the game. 11-1 just another day at Oakwood Farm for the Orange Hurricanes.

In an interview after the match, Captain Wright was heard saying he was "incredibly proud of his lads" and was "hoping to carry on with their winning ways until the rest of the season".

Wilmslow travel to third place Crewe Vagrants next week where a win would help them keep their fight for the top spot alive in the closing games of the season.

The men's second team took another big step towards the league title with a hard-fought 2-1 success over Liverpool Sefton, in the process notching up their thirteenth straight win. The home side made the stronger start and duly opened the scoring ten minutes in, their striker unleashing an unstoppable reverse-stick shot into the roof of the net.

Wilmslow fought back immediately though, Matt Bonner squaring for Ric Pheiffer who turned sharply before finding the bottom corner. The second half was just as tight, and with Wilmslow down to the bare bones of their squad after Danny Large had to go off injured (hacked down as he ran through on goal), Wilmslow showed great character to take the lead, Marten Hall cleverly finding James Bell at the top of the D who made no mistake.

With the minutes ticking down Sefton's bigger squad size began to tell and Wilmslow were forced to hold on grimly, Bobby Hassard securing all three points for the away side with an instinctive last-minute save. Wilmslow face Bowdon next and will be keen to put the record straight, having been held to a draw in the reverse fixture.

Elsewhere the ladies second team secured their place at the top of the league and promotion this weekend, with 4 games in hand, when they faced Triton. The ladies were hungry for success and determined to continue their undefeated record for their 18th game.

Despite Triton making a number of changes to their team for the game, the Wilmslow ladies were not deterred, they started the game with strong form, testing the Triton defence tirelessly. However Triton were not to go down without a fight and they tested the ladies. A dangerously high ball from Triton, saw the ball fly down the pitch almost taking out some Wilmslow players, however the umpire ignored it along with Wilmslow's protests whilst Triton ran down the pitch and managed to score, much to Wilmslow's dismay.

This did not deter Wilmslow, who picked themselves back up and managed to use their anger to push to Triton defence to their limits. Wilmslow worked together to break down the Triton defence, and Jen Middleton-Egan calmly slotted the ball home. Wilmslow were back on track. Wilmslow continued to play with confidence, and some textbook play saw Grace Kerner slot two goals home from the back post making it 3-1 to Wilmslow. However Triton caught Wilmslow on the break and fired the ball home making it 3-2. Wilmslow fought back and Rachel Payne flicked home one of her finest goals from a short corner, to make it 4-2. Wilmslow were caught switching off in the last minute of the game which allowed a very determined Triton to make it 4-3. However Wilmslow were delighted to have secured yet another win and clinched promotion and the top of the league.

Elsewhere the men's third team beat Winnington Park an impressive 5-1, and the men's 4th team beat Bowden 2-0. The ladies 1st displayed an impressive performance to beat Timperley 2-1, whilst the ladies 3rd team were unlucky to lose 4-3 to Runcorn, whilst the 4th team were unlucky to lose to local rivals Alderley Edge 2-1.

Match report by Amy Bracegirdle.

Hockey, Wilmslow Hockey Club