Hockey: Wilmslow leave it late


Wilmslow Mens 1st 3 Leeds Mens 2nd 2

Oakwood Farm, Styal once again proved a fortress as Wilmslow defeated third placed Leeds. From the start of the game Wilmslow played with a level of skill and intensity rarely seen at the club. High pressing on Leeds brought eventual corners. Bas Steffens sent the first effort wide of the post but ten minutes later he made no mistake to open the scoring. Crucial to this domination was an inspired performance in midfield by man of the match Andy Hunt. Soon after a fine move by Hunt and Steve Edmonds provided a tap in by Pete Hallinan to make it 2-0. It was not all one-sided however and gaolie, Pickering was called upon to make a couple of excellent saves.

In the second half the visitors stepped up and seemed to be a yard quicker. Wilmslow were on the back foot bringing out some good defensive work by Martin Wright and the ever reliable Pickering. Leeds finally won a penalty corner and scored from a flick into the roof of the net. Not long after sustained Leeds pressure deservedly earned them an equaliser.

\Wilmslow fought back but their long ball game was not coming off. Sensing the game drifting into a home draw coach Turner called for a final effort in the last five minutes. In one attack Edmonds was upended with the ball at his feet in the circle and up strode Matt Westbrook to take the penalty flick. Wilmslow's most experienced player made no mistake 3-2.

Wilmslow Mens 2nds dropped a couple of points with a 2-2 draw away to Alderley 3ths. Mens 3rds also drew 2-2 against close rivals Liverpool Sefton but remain in top spot. Mens 4ths had a narrow 3-2 win against Macclesfield which also put them on top of the table. Perhaps the best win of the day was the 5th team trouncing Sale 3rds 7-1, with Danny Cork scoring five and acting skipper Livesey the other two.

Wrexham Ladies 1st 1 Wilmslow Ladies 1st 2

Last wet and wild weekend found Wilmslow ladies wandering to Wales to play mid table Wrexham.

For once, the Wrexham pitch was wet enough to prevent the usual soaking of both pitch and players pre game.

Warming up, several ladies who hadn't encountered this pitch before appeared determined to injure each other with 'bouncers' that Mitchell Johnson would have been proud of.

The game started just as Wilmslow expected, with most of the possession, some fast counters and rather stringent 'policing'. Despite having clear control of the game, the hunt for a goal found the team pressing too high leaving a lone defender to face a fast, skilful forward. 20 minutes in and the ladies found themselves very frustratingly a goal down.

With decisions and luck going against them, Wilmslow failed to find the equaliser despite dominating possession and winning several penalty corners.

A half time talk from travelling stand in coach Chris Stott focussed on short passes, quiet temper and calm minds.

The second half saw a Wilmslow tran even more determined to find the back of the net. However, the diminutive Wrexham keeper had an incredible, game parrying everything that was sent her way. Wilmslow keeper Lang also played her part as a couple of fast counter attacks almost undid the visiting side.

With 10 minutes to go, a rebounded short corner found Carla Botha, who neatly picked out Lindsay Rachubka to finally find the backboard and level the score.

Wilmslow, now feeling the win was more than a possibility, threw caution to the wind and pressed higher, with even intensity. In the dying moments of the game, Hall took a quick longer corner to Lily Harrison, who deftly dodged two defenders to find herself at a tight angle just inside the D. A screamer of a shot arrowed into the far corner to send an emotionally, if not physically exhausted Wilmslow into the lead with little time remaining. The 'bus was then parked' in defence and the game seen out for a well deserved victory.

Next week's home fixture is against the tough and skilled northern neighbours Oldham.

Wilmslow Ladies 2nd had a comfortable 4-2 away win against Bebington 1st to stay in top position. Wilmslow 3rds beat Alderley 4ths 3-1 to move up the table and the 4ths had a 9-1 romp against Whitchurch 3rds to stay in second place.

Match report by Steve Kinsella.

Hockey, Wilmslow Hockey Club