MK Hockey Club round-up

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Results and reports from the city’s men’s and ladies’ teams.

MK Ladies 1sts 1

Witney Ladies 1sts 2

The MK Ladies 1sts hosted Witney and having not lost at home since the new astro turf was laid at Woughton on the Green, they were hoping for some similar good fortune.

MK began very strongly, having some excellent passing exchanges and penalty corners, but were unable to convert, and it was Witney who took the lead when a penalty corner of their own was not cleared out of the circle, giving them an opportunity which they took advantage of.

Witney continued to push for another goal but the strong defence of Stephanie Bates, Sonia Fraser, Maxine McMenamin and Sarah Lowry kept the visitors at bay with some fine tackling and marking.

Player of the match, goalkeeper Emma Small, also played a key role, especially when one on one with a Witney attacker. But despite MK’s best efforts, the visiting team’s dominance prevailed and they managed to score another from a penalty corner.

Sophie Reynolds was unlucky to hit the post and Alice Vigor won a number of penalty corners for the hosts, but the Witney keeper did a sterling job and the goal just wasn’t forthcoming.

With not long left, MK’s perseverance paid off and they pulled a goal back – Gemma Meredith scoring from close range following some good work down the right side of the pitch.

With minutes left in the game, MK pushed and pushed for an equaliser and won a short corner which the keeper saved and then rebounded back into the path of Sophie Reynolds who hit a perfect shot which was cleared by the Witney defender on the line to deny MK of what would have been a well deserved draw.

Marlow Ladies 2nds 1

MK Ladies 2nds 0

MK dominated the first half, taking charge of the midfield, with notable performances from midfielders Hayley Fry and Beth James, who held the left side of the pitch with help from defender and player of the match Sophie Wombwell.

The away side had numerous chances in the Marlow circle, with goals nearly coming from forwards Gemma Little and Zoe Carter as they managed to receive numerous long balls – fed from defenders Janet Millar, Jackie Collins and Mel West – but they couldn’t convert to give MK the upper hand.

Realising they needed to come out stronger to beat MK, Marlow upped the ante in the second half, and soon opened the scoring, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Emma Brennan who kept out many of their shots.

MK didn’t let their heads fall, and tireless work from forwards Jane Gibbs and Trish O’Rourke and midfielder Vikki Alexander made it seem like MK could turn the game around. However, the game didn’t go MK’s way and they were unable to score.

MK Men 2nds 6

Marlow Men 2nds 3

MK 2nds went into their game against top of the league Marlow fully fired up and looking to even up the score following a loss at the away fixture last year.

The game promised to be a close run battle and it didn’t disappoint, with both teams coming out fighting. Marlow were first off the mark after a brave block on the line by Mike Anderson, but the conversion of the penalty flick saw them 1-0 up.

But MK kept their shape and composure, and were soon back on level terms – Grant Webster stepping up with a powerful short corner strike.

Marlow showed that they were top of the league for a reason, coming back quickly on the break to take the lead again from open play, 2-1. However, MK kept their heads and some excellent passing saw Stewart Clark unleash a reverse stick strike to level the score at 2-2 going into half time.

And MK came out after the break with one thing in mind, three points. It wasn’t long before a well worked move up the right saw Dave Bruilly finish using a recent skill picked up in training for 3-2.

MK then played the next 10 minutes with calm, professional hockey to ensure they held onto the ball and the lead. Another short corner for MK and a deflected strike shot past the Marlow keeper made it 4-2, with Webster claiming it.

MK now had the edge and were playing some lovely flowing hockey across the team. Marlow were starting to show cracks with two green cards for decent, but they bounced back with a short corner goal to cut the deficit back to one.

It could have been an edgy finish from MK but as Marlow stretched themselves looking for the equaliser MK capitalised and drove the nail home. A great tackle in the middle of the park from man of the match Jo Vernon allowed a quick pass up the right, setting the forwards away in a three on one opportunity, tucked away neatly by Clark.

MK were not finished yet and a brilliant run from Dave Bruilly over half the pitch, followed by a neat pass through to Matt Darvell saw him calmly tuck the ball away to complete the 6-3 victory. It was a fantastic team effort from all and a well deserved three points to take MK top of the league.

Elsewhere the Men’s 3rds lost 4-0 to Wallingford, while the 4ths were beaten 3-1 by Oxford Hawks, the 5ths went down 2-0 to Eastcote Eagles, the Men’s Samurai team had a 3-1 win over Reading, and the Ladies’ 3rds drew 1-1 with Wychwood.