Short-handed, but Alnwick hockey off to winning start
ALNWICK LADIES 3WHITLEY BAY 3RDS 0Alnwick Hockey Ladies 1sts got their new season off to a winning start when they beat Whitley Bay & Tynemouth 3rds 3-0.
This was a game played in the sunshine at Longhirst, but what made the victory all the more remarkable was that the home side played the entire game a player short.
Despite an encouraging run of early season training sessions, as well as pre-season friendly successes, Alnwick went into the match with an untried line-up as well as being a player down.
Under the circumstances, new first team captain Payne designed a 3-4-2 formation to flatter Alnwick’s lack of personnel, which succeeded in preventing Whitley Bay from creating an overlap.
Alnwick had the lion’s share of possession in the first half, putting pressure on the Whitley Bay defence, culminating in a goal created when Pringle passed to I. Rowland in the circle.
Coaching in the run-up to this season opener has been led by new coaches Craggs and Watson. Their focus on tactical hockey already seems to be paying dividends and the team was able to pass the ball around players and use delaying and channeling defensive moves when Whitley Bay threatened to break back.
No longer looking into the bright sunshine after half time, Alnwick pressed their advantage.
Robson and Rank were making tackles and sending the ball out to the right wing for Alnwick’s counter-attacking moves.
Pringle’s shot flew over the keeper and bounced off the top of the backboard to put Alnwick two goals ahead.
Later in the half, A Rowland collected a rebound off the Whitley Bay goalkeeper and was able to sweep the ball inside the left post to give Alnwick a 3-0 win.
This was an encouraging start in the reformatted North Hockey League, although Alnwick will be hoping to field a full compliment of players in future matches.
Team: A Payne (C), C Reed, L Brown, E Pringle, H Rank, N Robson, A Rowland, I Rowland, B Fergie, H Lapham (GK).
Umpire: J Fenwick.
Next match: Saturday, September 28 v Darlington Ladies 1sts (Away) 2pm.