Stratford Ladies 4th XI 0 - 3 Old Silhillians 3rd XI
By Stephen Tabb
The future is looking very bright
Stratford Ladies 4th XI 0 (0) - (1) 3 Old Silhillians 3rd XI
Goalscorers: Eva Robinson, Imogen Pemble (x2)
Old Silhillians Ladies, having seen fabulous performances from the 1st and 2nd team this season, looked to provide their up and coming stars with the chance to play adult hockey as well. So, on a bright Sunday afternoon, 7 of the Sils U13s and U12s combined with Lucy Routledge, Issie Thomas (back from University for a weekend) and our two Brazilians, to play against Stratford in the first Ladies 3rd team game for the Sils for 5 years.
The opposition were definitely older, but they were very clearly concerned about the ability levels of the Sils team - and this turned out to be a reasonable concern.
The Sils started a little sluggishly, and opted to play out down the left a little too much in the first 10 minutes, meaning a couple of the strong running Stratford players were able to get the ball into some good attacking positions. However, Rosie Robinson, at left back, showed huge determination to win the ball again and again, and combining with Bethany Tomlinson at left midfield, the young duo weathered the storm, and helped Sils to mount attacks.
From that moment on, the midfield duo of Imogen Pemble and Flo Collins dominated the middle of the pitch, and helped launch attacks, this time using the right to cause the home side several problems; combining well with Abby Richards and Eva Robinson who started making real inroads into the Stratford 23m and D. Eva was a constant threat, and always looked the most likely to score, and if it had not been for the outstanding home GK, she probably would have scored earlier than she did, but with 10 minutes to go before half-time, Eva was able to convert from close range to give the Sils a deserved lead.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first half had finished - though this time, with the home team's defence tiring, the young, fast legs of the Sils midfield and forward line were able to run with more purpose and create more chances. Time and time again though the home goalkeeper made save after save, and it looked like it may remain 1-0 to the Sils, but with another excellent piece of defensive work by Rosie Robinson, the ball found Imogen Pemble around the half-way line, and Pemble needed no invitation to attack the space and drive with purpose at the D. She beat 2 players as she moved forwards, and as she reached the edge of the D, just as discussed at half-time, unleashed a shot to the far post where Robinson was waiting - and had the ball not found the bottom corner, Robinson would have been on hand to score her second - however, in this case, there was no need, and the Sils were two goals to the good.
A third goal came from yet more good build up play, this time seeing Tomlinson and Melissa Thurman combining well down the left to get the ball moved across to the right for Imogen to once again latch onto, dribble into the D and smash a shot at the goal. The GK once again saved, but the rushed clearance only found Pemble again, who slapped at goal first time, and this was quick enough to catch the GK off balance, and Imogen had her second and the team's third.
The game ended soon after, and the team were in great spirits. Player of the Match votes were shared amongst all the junior players, with Imogen (4 votes) sneaking it over Bethany and Rosie (2 each).
Huge thanks to our guest GK Mimi, who did not get a huge amount to do, but looked very professional in all she did :) Thanks also to Lucy Routledge for providing lots of running and entertainment, as well as Aline and Ursula for their guidance and support. Now to get on with organising another Ladies 3rd team game - as this one seemed to be pretty well received!