Old Silhillians 1st XI 4 - 2 Olton & West Warwicks Ladies 3rd XI
By Stephen Tabb
3 points against the local rivals
Old Silhillians 1st XI 4 (3) - (1) 2 Olton & West Warwicks Ladies 3rd XI
Goalscorers: Frankie Levey, Sophie Williams, Caro Kappes (2)
Before last week, Olton had not lost, so this was never going to be an easy match. With this being their 3rd XI, Olton are always a little affected by the availability of players in their higher sides, so you never quite now what you will be up against. Nevertheless, the Sils knew to prepare for a tough match against a side which would no doubt be a mixture of experienced, skillful adults, and enthusiastic and free-running youngsters.
Thankfully, Sils started really well, and whilst Olton had the first two circle entries, the next 15 minutes was a great display of attacking hockey from the home side, with Ruth Dovey marauding down the right side, combining well with Caro Kappes to create several chances. Sharondip Jeeta in goal for Olton was making some good saves, but she was unable to stop the Sils from scoring three goals, the first a deflection by Frankie Levey, the second a nice conversion from close range by Sophie Williams at a PC, and the third a great team effort, with Priya Majevadia winning the ball high on the left, the ball being transferred by Emma James to the right to allow Caro Kappes to cut in and fire across the keeper into the bottom corner.
The Sils were playing well, but 3-0 perhaps flattered them a little. Olton were pressing aggressively down the Sils left, and this was causing a few concerns, plus the pace of the Olton front line was also stretching the home defence. They got back into the game by scoring from a PC with less than a minute to go before half-time, but Sils knew they just had to keep playing as they were to maintain their lead.
With Sophie Boyle slightly under the weather, a forced reshuffle was required - thankfully with Hattie Evans arriving from her school match - and such is the adaptability of this squad, that the team continued to play well. However, Olton were also beginning to pull moves together, and whilst it was not against the run of play, Sils perhaps would have felt slightly aggrieved by conceding a second - however, they could not question the quality of the finish - after Jo Brett had made the first save, a stunning strike into the top corner from the Olton centre-mid could have led to a nervy period for Sils.
Thankfully, EJ and Ruth got hold of the middle of the pitch, Annabel Dalby and Lauren Hobday were dancing patterns down the right, and from a PC won by Ursula Santos, Sils were able to re-establish their two goal lead, Frankie's initial shot only being saved by Sharondip as far as Caro, whose forehand shot smashed into the goal to move Sils to 4-2 up.
Further chances came for both teams, with Hobday and Dalby both going close with far post shots after strong and skillful runs, and Boyle also had a strong run which ended with a great save by the visiting keeper - but there was no further score, leaving the Sils 4-2 up, and retaining their one point lead at the top of the league, ahead of the critical match against Atherstone next week.
Player of the Match was shared between Caro Kappes and Lauren Hobday.