Old Silhillians 1st XI 4 - 0 Rugby & EW 2nd XI
By Stephen Tabb
3 weeks in a row, Sils score 4, to go 5 points clear
Old Silhillians 1st XI 4 (2) - (0) 0 Rugby & EW 2nd XI
Goalscorers: Frankie Levey x 3; Annabel Dalby
Sils had a full squad of 15 going into their match against Rugby & EW seconds - though unknown to the coach, Lauren Hobday and Libby Shepherd were feeling the effects from a late night!
The Sils started brightly, and played some excellent passing hockey, with the ball being moved from side to side effortlessly. However, the visiting GK (Emma Olifent - the England Over 40s GK) was in fine form, and was equal to most of what Sils could throw at her. She was also ably supported by her defenders being very strong in the tackle, and effective at clearing their lines.
However, Sils did manage to take the lead shortly after the first 10 minutes, with some training ground work paying off, with Frankie Levey getting to the far post to deflect in a half-saved shot from Caro Kappes. Whilst the Sils were 1-0 up, and playing some great stuff, the visitors had forwards very eager to run, and always left at least one of their players high, and hence looked capable of causing problems on the counter. Thankfully, Clara Miles was in commanding form at the back, reading the game expertly, and working with her fellow defenders Sophie Williams, Hattie Evans and Lucy Connors to mean Rugby really struggled to get any meaningful efforts on target - but the two or three times they did, Jo Brett in goal was equal to their efforts and turned the ball away.
As half-time approached, Sils did their usual and switched off a little allowing the visiting side to get a little more possession in the Sils defensive 23 - but unlike in previous weeks, the team held firm and actually scored a second themselves right on the final whistle - Frankie Levey scoring her second thundering a straight strike from a PC into the bottom corner.
This second goal really worked to take any wind out of the Rugby sails, and meant that they did not really look like getting back into the match in the second half. Again Miles and Brett did their job in preventing any real threats on the home goal, whilst Connors, Evans and Williams took it in turns to be slightly more adventurous attacking down the flanks.
With Hobday and Shepherd not quite as full of running as usual, it was left to Priya Majevadia to do a lot of the legwork upfront - particularly when Ursula Santos took a five minute break after taking offence at the physical way in which she was being marked. Ruth Dovey also provided additional legs down the right, and from one of her forays, the ball found its was to Levey in the D who reacted quickly and turned the ball home from close range to complete her hat-trick.
The icing on the cake for the match was when Rugby managed to charge down a PC only to be met by Annabel Dalby picking the ball up on the edge of the D, drifting onto her reverse, and rifling an unstoppable shot into the top corner - leaving even an International GK with no chance of stopping it! Great to see her practising is paying off in terms of end result from her shooting.
Another clean sheet, another 4 goals, and with the three sides below Sils all drawing, they move 5 points clear at the top. A slightly awkward looking fixture against a University side next week stands between the Sils and an unbeaten first half to the season.