MILTON Keynes Hockey Club’s Ladies had to wait three weeks for their first game of 2012, but it was well worth waiting for as they beat Wokingham 4-1 to maintain their excellent run of form from last year.
Having had a friendly match cancelled and their league game the previous Saturday postponed due to a frozen pitch, the team made the trip to Wokingham eager to pick up where they left off before Christmas with a win and three more points.
MK started tentatively playing some rather untidy hockey and found themselves under an unexpected amount of pressure from the Wokingham attack, and despite successfully keeping out a number of defensive penalty corners, it was from open play that the hosts managed to find a way through to score the opening goal of the game.
However, the goal seemed to give MK a boost and a quick ball out of defence from Steph Bates and some good link-up play through midfield from Laura Browne and Charlotte Batty enabled captain and player of the match Sophie Reynolds to fire the ball past the Wokingham keeper to level the score.
Wokingham continued to attack, however MK defended tightly, giving them no way through – goalkeeper Laura Pellington-Woodrow making some fine saves to deny them a second goal.
Instead MK stepped up their attack and Reynolds found the net on two more occasions before half time to give the visitors a 3-1 lead.
Following a half time team talk from coach Sue Sutton, MK returned to the pitch determined to play sharper hockey. Some quick passing hockey by Chrissy Little, Helen Cooke and Dee Davis meant MK continued to create chances in attack, with Karmel Bracken, Gemma Meredith and Kate Cash going close to scoring.
The only goal of the second half came from the younger of the Reynolds sisters, Lou, who slotted the ball past the keeper from close range about midway through the second half to make the score the game safe.
From this point on, MK looked to consolidate their win – Issy Morgan and Sarah Lowry defending well and giving Wokingham few opportunities to attack as they saw out the 4-1 win.
The win and three points leaves MK second in the league, three points behind Reading but with a game in hand. And they look to continue their winning ways this Saturday at home to Sonning.
The Ladies 2nds faced a Reading team they lost to when they met in Berkshire earlier in the season and were determined to do better and take the game to them on home turf.
They started the game with a great ball pace and some fantastic switching around the back confidently created space. However, Reading were organised and made creating clear chances difficult.
MK were given a short corner after a good period of pressure, and despite a good initial save from the keeper, MK pounced and finished the rebound, Lindsay Kettleborough scoring.
However, Reading came back into the game straight away with some good play and scored to level the tie at the break.
MK came out determined in the second half and again took the lead, this time on the break Pip came face-to-face with the keeper, chipping the ball over her to take the lead.
But Reading worked hard and soon levelled the game again, this time from a short corner. And despite both sides pushing for a winner, the game ended in a 2-2 draw as Olivia Curle took the player of the match prize.
A blustery Saturday in Maidenhead saw the Ladies 3rds wanting to keep hold of top spot.
MK had some good ball possession after a jittery first five minutes, but were taken by surprise when Maidenhead scored a breakaway goal despite the best efforts of goalie Holly Captainino.
Good pressure in the Maidenhead goal area by Jo Hayward, Susan Watkins, Sam Grover, Sophie Wombwell and Zoe Carter saw MK being awarded several short corners in quick succession. Unfortunately they were unable to convert those into a goal as the first half ended with them a goal down.
Anya Dunlop started the second half brightly, attacking Maidenhead and winning more short corners. Even though MK changed their tactics for the second half it still was not enough to beat the quick Maidenhead defence.
Maidenhead added a second goal early on getting through with a long ball. The defence of Jackie Collins, Emma Hooton, Sue Pardy, Alex Barnard and Lizanne Muller seemed to be managing to put the pressure on and MK had some great interlinking play with Sadie Carrington, Sophie, Sam, Jo and Zoe.
But that was not enough to stop Maidenhead adding a third from a short corner to give them a 3-0 win.
The Men’s 3rds travelled to Windsor for an early evening game and started the better of the two teams even though they didn’t play last weekend due to a frozen pitch.
MK’s midfield started to take control of the game. Windsor did get through for a shot on goal, which was well saved by the keeper Alan Phillips, but MK pushed forward with a good run by Sam Scannell into the Windsor D to strike the ball into the corner for 1-0.
MK’s midfield and defence were making Windsor resort to hitting long balls forward. Corey Jamieson pushed forward down the right and got tangled with the left back which saw him get a green card. Windsor then lost the ball giving away a free hit which Tom Fitch took quickly and laid the ball off to Matt Darvell who was unmarked to slot the ball passed the keeper to double MK’s lead.
Windsor won several penalty corners which they could not make count. David Stone picked up the ball and drove forward with it, and he laid it off to Corey Jamieson on the right, who then laid it in to the D for Matt Darvell who tipped under the on rushing keeper to make it three.
MK started slowly in the second half as Windsor pushed forward and flooded the midfield. They won a short corner and the ball found its way into the back of the MK goal, but it was disallowed. MK regrouped but soon found their league pegged back to 3-1.
Goalkeeper Alan Phillips was being worked more in this half than the first. MK had a sideline hit in the left corner which Gorden Murray took, he went to transfer the ball across the D which went straight to the Windsor striker to first past Phillips who had no time to react, making it 3-2.
Windsor were now full of confidence and were pushing MK back, a ball across the D was well saved by Phillips, but found its way to a Windsor player who shot at goal which Alex Fuller tired to keep it out, but it ended up in the roof of the net for 3-3.
MK were struggling to get back into the game and press forward, and soon found themselves behind after Windsor completing a fantastic turnaround. MK’s man of the match was Sam Scannell. He scored one and Matt Darvell got the other two.
MK Samurai got back to winning ways with a hard fought victory over a well organised and physical visiting OMT team.
Somewhat against the run of play, MK found themselves two goals ahead midway through the first half with well taken strikes from Mark Ling and Ollie Lumm.
The visitors threatened constantly however, and pulled a goal back. Nervously MK held on to their lead until half time. After some harsh words during the break MK took control from the restart.
Hard work in midfield and attack in closing down the opposition more quickly put the visitors under pressure. This enabled the defence to pick off the stray passes with ease and MK began to ease into their more familiar attacking style of hockey.
Although the game remained open, MK had the best of the chances and with 10 minutes to go Mark Ling sealed the result with a well struck short corner.