Ladies’ narrow defeat

Alnwick first team hockey with sponsor Clare Laing of Bit-a-Sweet.
Alnwick first team hockey with sponsor Clare Laing of Bit-a-Sweet.

Alnwick Ladies I 0 Newcastle Ladies I 1

Division Two North East

Alnwick had a frustrating Saturday after the previous weekend’s runaway 10-0 win over local rivals Morpeth.

The sun came out just in time to defrost the pitch ready for the mid-morning game to go ahead with both teams anticipating a tough encounter.

The game started well with both teams creating good chances within the opening 10 minutes and a fast pace giving the spectators plenty to get excited about.

Newcastle won the first penalty corner of the game after a spell of strong midfield play saw Alnwick eventually pinned back into their goal area.

Solid defence cleared the ball after a well-judged and strong save from keeper Taylor denied the initial shot.

Alnwick were creating some opportunities of their own with good running from Pettifer in the centre-forward role and Murray driving up the left-wing. The Newcastle defence were incredibly strong and despite some good possession and linking play, Alnwick struggled to breach the tackles and gain shot opportunities.

The first half was an end-to-end and physical game with huge commitment shown by the visitors in attack and some superb tackling and clearances from Payne, Taylor and Byers for Alnwick to keep the score at 0-0 on the half-time whistle.

Alnwick returned to the pitch determined to make further inroads into the opposition circle this half and they gained quick reward for their positive play with a penalty corner awarded after just a few minutes of play.

A strong injection from Horn found Cook, who slipped the ball to Byers, and Alnwick were only denied the opening goal by an excellent save from the Newcastle keeper. Newcastle responded by increasing their pace too and began pressing the Alnwick defence again with strong, long balls through to their forwards.

Clean tackling from Simpson and Richardson denied them many shots on goal, though, and Taylor was again superb in goal, dealing calmly with any balls that did fire her way. A clearance from Taylor in defence found Byers, who linked with Cook in midfield to drive the ball up past the halfway point, where it was sent out wide to Murray.

Her clean cross found Britton waiting by the keeper and she duly directed the ball into the goal.

The celebrations were short-lived, however, as the umpire ruled the goal out due to a perceived foul, although the Alnwick attack were convinced it should have stood.

Spurred on by this, Newcastle mounted another excellent attack and their strength and determination drew reward as they finally swept the ball into the Alnwick goal to take the lead (0-1).

Despite some determined play from Cook and Oates in keeping Alnwick camped in the Newcastle half for the rest of the game, the ladies could not find a way through their opponents’ defence and the full-time whistle signalled the first loss of the season for the ladies in red.

The game served as a good reminder of the strength of the teams in this league and gives the Alnwick ladies a taster of what lies ahead next weekend when they travel to Durham to take on the undefeated university team who currently top the league.

Alnwick: Linzi Taylor, N Richardson (c), A Payne, Leanne Taylor, S Horn, A Cook, J Oates, C Britton, R Murray, B Simpson, H Byers, G Pettifer. Player-of-the-match: Hannah Byers.

On November 29, Alnwick will hold a bingo night at the football club to raise funds for the club, starting at 7pm.