Men’s see points on the board, ladies see Steph return to the pitch

17 FEB | BY CREWE VAGRANTS HOCKEY CLUB

Mens 2s v Knutsford 3s 2-2 draw
Men’s 2s faced Knutsford 3s at home. Crewe struggled in the first half to find a rhythm finding it difficult to string passes together to put pressure on Knutsford’s back line. As a result, Knutsford struck first on the counter. Crewe tried desperately to reply before half time but had a goal ruled out from a short as the umpires were unsure who’s stick it had come off. At half time Crewe changed things around and came out in the second half with a renewed appetite to win. Simon Childs found space from a quick free hit and slotted the ball neatly past the keeper at his near post to equalise. Crewe found their second through a short corner again falling to Simon who crisply converted. Crewe seemed determined to hold their 2-1 win until Knutsford cruelly equalised with 3 minutes left on the clock. Final score 2 a piece.

Ladies 1s v Oldham 1s -5-0 loss
Crewe Vagrants Ladies 1’s travelled to Oldham for a fixture that always proves challenging. Some early umpiring decisions put Crewe on the back foot, a position they never recovered from. Oldham were quicker to the ball and appeared to have more desire, managing to put five goals past an uncharacteristically tame Crewe side. MOM Emily’s shoes.

The only positive to be taken from the game was the return of Steph Thompson, eight months after being diagnosed with cancer. And a month after being given the all clear. What was meant to be a gentle reintroduction to league play turned into a demonstration of her indomitable spirit. Actual MOM Steph.

Mens 1s v Lytham St Annes 1s – 5-2 Win
Men’s 1s looked to bounce back after a set-back last week. A Nathan Watson one-two with the Lytham post and then into the back of the net put Crewe ahead. Lytham replied soon after to tie the scores. A Ben Read flick was too powerful for the keeper to put Crewe 2-1 ahead going into half time. In a mad 5 minutes Crewe found themselves 5-1 up with Ben Read securing a brace along with the man in form, James Capper who fired home leaving the backboard struggling for breath. The game ended 5-2 with man of the match going to James Capper.

Ladies 4s v Alderley Edge 6s 11-0 loss
Kings School, Macclesfield welcomed us with a quality pitch & glorious sunshine. Alderley were speedy with both decision-making & agility. Hit-outs by Crewe were quickly intercepted by the swarming opposition. As always, experimentation is key to making progress & with a different formation than usual we saw Alderley take advantage of us having no sweeper, working the ball mainly up the centre & the right. Every player on the pitch was kept busy & having subs was most welcomed! Nic Ticehurst, Becky Holman & Becks Eaves, were goal-hungry but stopped in their tracks by Alderley. Twins Lauren and Georgia Griffths had a good game with strong movements up the pitch & confident interceptions. Our other twins, Izzy and Lauren Berresford listened to advice and were key in getting the ball towards the Alderley D. Jayne Sharpe in goal who was kept busy & made some key saves was again awarded player of the match. A plethora of defensive short corners were well controlled by Jayne & the defensive trio of Dawn Price, Mary Lofthouse & Adele White who boomeranged into action; quick to pounce on & re-distribute countless balls, with the odd dive for good measure! Hannah Chesters supported the defence well, providing a much-welcomed midfield option for receiving a hit out. Grita Vilutyte, as ever, was all over the pitch, tackling & passing the ball onto her teammates. The strong team unit of Crewe supported one another throughout the game, with players dropping back to support which avoided more Alderley goals. Next week sees our rearranged match away against Deeside Ramblers.

Ladies 3s v Oxton 3s 4-0 loss
Crewe travelled away to play Oxtons 3s this weekend, an improvement in the weather certainly helped our positivity. From the whistle Crewe were faced with a challenge; 11 outfield players for Oxton who chose not to provide a keeper or a kicking back. We rose above it and edged forward with skills in midfield but just couldn’t get the ball in our attacking end. Oxton pressed well, injecting hard balls into the D for our defence and keeper deal with. Erin Wray cleared a great ball off the line from a defensive short corner for Crewe but Oxton found confidence and got a goal from open play shortly after. Another goal quickly followed for Oxton from a short corner strike by ex-vagrant Ali Cutler, making the score to 2-0 before the break. Crewe kept their spirits up and after a positive team talk we were interlinking well and got our first chance of the game attacking in midfield only for the ball to go short and Oxton to clear in defence. We were pressing well with some great balls from the back, especially from player of the match Tanya Downs, but nothing was stopping a strong tight defensive unit of the opposition. From controversial umpiring we were unlucky to gain more defensive short corners of which Oxton took the advantage and got two other goals to finish the game 4-0. Frustrating match all round but onwards and upwards for Crewe Vagrants 3s who face two home games on the trot after a week off next week.

Ladies 2s v Lymm 2s – 2-0 loss
A lovely spring afternoon saw Crewe Ladies 2s at home against 10th place Lymm. Crewe started well with Claire Duncan making her debut for ladies 2s with some great short passes with the rest of the midfield. In the first half the possession was 50/50 with Crewe making some vital passes between the midfielders of Mel Brooks, Laura MacLeod and Cate Whitehouse leading to many balls finding their way through to the forwards. One of which was Morgan Zwijnen who had a great game; running from the attacking D, looking for chances to score, to then being back in the defence half marking Lymm’s attackers. Bev Jackson made some amazing runs around Lymm’s defence to find space and continually put them under pressure. Crewe’s defensive line of Grace Newman, Katie Gibbs and Kate Humphrey dealt with their share of pressure; from scrappy shots in the D to defensive short corners, resulting in a drag flick from Lymm to then be well cleared by GK Grace Leonard. Defender Grace Newman also made a fantastic stick save clearing the ball in the air away from the Lymm attackers. Starting the second half 0-0 Crewe were looking positive but Lymm were the stronger team this time around which led to a scrappy goal on the goal line despite a great effort from the entire defensive line, 1-0 Lymm. The intensity dropped slightly but Crewe were still looking for the win; Anna Bates and Helen Glanville worked hard together to feed balls through to the attackers, to try and create a chance on goal whilst also dropping back to mark Lymm’s fast players in the defensive half. Lymm created another scrappy situation with the GK on the penalty spot leaving Katie Gibbs to clear the ball of the line. Crewe also had an attacking penalty corner which was well structured and organised but unfortunately did not lead to a goal. However, despite all efforts a Lymm player manged to get through gaps to create a 1 vs 1 and hit the ball bottom right of the goal and left the GK with no chance and Crewe Ladies heads dropped. With 10 minutes left to go, Crewe kept fighting to not concede again. Crewe were still looking for a goal but struggled to get the ball up the pitch, the game ended with 2 defensive penalty corners as the whistle blew. MOM was rightfully awarded to GK Grace Leonard for all of her hard work and amazing saves. Crewe Ladies 2’s face Bowdon’s Ladies 3s away in two weeks time.

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