First by name and nature in derby final

Northumberland Plate ladies hockey final'The second team.
Northumberland Plate ladies hockey final'The second team.

Alnwick Ladies II...1 Alnwick Ladies I...7

THE County Plate final saw the two Alnwick ladies’ teams facing each other on at Longhirst.

Northumberland Plate ladies hockey final'The First team.

Northumberland Plate ladies hockey final'The First team.

The game started with both teams determined to put on a good show for the supporters who had travelled down and a quick-paced match ensued.

As was to be expected the first team had the early pressure of the game but were frustrated by some excellent defending by Frew, Broom and S Fairbairn in midfield that blocked the path into the goal area on numerous occasions.

Good passing play by Allen, Cook and Murray eventually found a way through and it took an impressive save from keeper Taylor to deny Cook a goal from her initial shot.

The firsts kept the ball in play though and a well-driven cross from Brown found Murray running in towards goal with space to collect and shoot to open the scoring.

The first team continued to dominate possession but were unable to break through until some silky stick-work from Brown saw her skip past a couple of defenders and score her first goal of the season to double the lead.

Their continued pressure saw the first team win a series of penalty corners which were well covered by their opponents until Cook eventually found a way past Taylor to secure her first goal of the match after a number of strong saves and determined tackling from Nixon and Liddle.

Allen was the next to score with some calm passing between the first team forwards eventually drawing dividends for the midfield player as she stepped up to collect the lay-off ball and send it over the line.

Cook had the last word of the first half after a number of attempts that were off target she finally struck a clean and unstoppable shot into the corner of the goal to give her team a 5-0 lead at half-time.

The second half started at a similar pace to the first with confident runs from both teams.

Good tackling by Moralee saw her win possession for the firsts around the half-way line and she then linked passes with Allen, Cook and Britton to move the ball across the pitch before Britton’s cross found Murray in space again to slot home her second goal of the match.

The second team were far from dispirited and built some good runs of attacking play with Straker, Brown and Lincoln pushing up the pitch. Their well-worked pressure was rewarded with a penalty corner which was passed around to S Fairbairn who slotted it in at the corner to give the seconds a goal, much to the delight of the supporters.

The first team bounced back with renewed vigour after conceding the goal and built pressure of their own again at the opposite end of the pitch.

E Fairbairn was calm and collected in defence as she stopped a hard strike before it crossed the line and cleared it out wide. But Oates intercepted the counter-attack to send the ball back towards the second team goal area.

With just a few minutes remaining on the clock, the first team had one final push. The ball was swung across the pitch to find Murray, who ran a great attacking line into the D. She slipped a neat cross to Richardson who then swept the ball into goal to complete the goal tally for the evening.

It was a positive end to a solid season for the first team while the seconds have a further shot at gaining silverware for their season as they play in the Northumberland Shield competition on April 21.

First team: T Graham, S Horn, N Richardson (c), J Fornear, R Allen, A Cook, E Brown, K Moralee, C Britton, J Oates, R Murray, L Simpson.

Second team: L Imeson-Taylor, C Frew, S Fairbairn (c), C Nixon, A Liddle, A Lincoln, J Broom, E Straker, L Brown, E Young, E Fairbairn,

Players-of-the-match: Linzi Imeson-Taylor and Rachel Murray.