The match started with expected gusto, as both teams showed why they are at the top of the league. Brilliant play through the midline saw the ball turned over in Chiswick’s favour, however their defence was just as tight, resulting in a lot of middle pitch play. The deadlock was broken about 10 minutes into the half, unfortunately not how Chiswick had planned. A well worked penalty corner from the home team saw a deflection from a post player that took Hampstead and Westminster 1-0 up. A score line that could have previously rattled Chiswick this time provided motivation as the ladies 4s kept their heads up and played on. Birthday girl Emma Milton fought tirelessly in front of her family on the sideline, and managed to work the ball up the right side of the pitch beautifully. Chloe Hole and Stacey Nevin also boosted morale with multiple turn overs and attacking play from what was proving to be an incredibly strong midline. Chiswick forward line were also making headway with several drives into the D, and eventually were rewarded with a penalty corner. A straight strike from the top of the circle from Sinead McGeever went millimetres wide, however Chiswick weren’t finished there. Spurred on, Chiswick worked the ball back up the pitch, Emma Milton linking up well with Laura Bryant who had found some space up front. Laura Bryant then drove into the D, crossing the ball to Gemma McIntosh who was unmarked on the right post. Gemma McIntosh tapped the ball in behind the keeper to level the game at 1-1.
At half time, Chiswick discussed keeping their passes accurate and playing accordingly with the somewhat bouncy water based turf. They also planned to switch the play as much as possible and commit earlier to tackles. Finally they discussed keeping the energy up as they knew they had another brilliant half of hockey in them. At the restart, the ladies 4s did exactly that. The defensive team of Alex Joss, Sinead McGeever, Jen Holman and Yssie Richards committed to clearing the ball early, and their passes down the line found their players. Any play that did find its way through the circle however was calmly cleared by keeper Alice Taylor-Bennett who proved her versatility yet again by saving shots either standing or diving. Chiswick’s midline did an amazing job of feeding the forwards throughout the second half, and with Nicole Shipperley and Penny Thane creating space up front, Chiswick looked strong and saw several attacking opportunities. Another attacking penalty corner was awarded to Chiswick, however with the first strike saved, Chiswick were unlucky not to capitalise in the scramble. The girls in blue went from strength to strength in the second half, with lovely passes, driving runs and solid tackles. Chiswick saw more possession and territory then their oppo in the second half, but with several unlucky misses Chiswick ended up walking away with their first draw of the season.
The Ladies 4s are still top of the table and four points clear, but are looking for wins in the final two games to solidify their space at the top.
Goal scorer: Gemma McIntosh
Man of the Match: Emma Milton