The ladies 3's ventured north to Meadowcroft, the whatsapp group had been dinging all morning with talk of tuna and who would pick up Fi. And so we were all suitably pumped up, and ready for the age-old challenge of working out what colour lines to play to...

An inspiring talk from Chops before the start, (she always knows what to say at such times), saw us recognising that Bedford looked young, fit, quick...and undoubtedly sharper than their low table position suggested.
We started slow, and they started strong. Continuous attacks coming down the middle didn't reflect our good form of late, and soon the defence were back in the goal facing a 5th short corner. Kelly, returning from injury, was very disgruntled, "you told me this wouldn't be a defence heavy game!" Whoops! Back in the goal again for the 6th short corner we did a quick count up, and realised that we were a player down as Liz had been subbed off. So Chops, (who always knows what to do in times of crisis), sprinted from the halfway line to the goal to bravely defend the right post. And so finally, with Chop's wisdom at our side, we were able to thwart the Bedford attack and give ourselves some short lived rest bite at the back. But then, with the defence rudderless following Chop's departure back to centre forward, another wave of Bedford attack saw a free player enter the D and strike well at goal. Oh dear...0-1...
But Chops, (who is always at the helm of any tactical decision making), knew what to do. To our surprise though it wasn't to shout at Jen again like the last time we played Bedford, it was for us to complete passes to each other. Genius! Soon we had our own attacking short corner awarded. Rebecca injected, Chops slipped to Harrie, Harrie hit at Kate's leg and Kate looked both pained and worried about whether or not this was a foul. With no whistle, and the ball perilously poised on the back line, Rebecca screamed "it's still in play!!" Kate, filled with the composure she's learnt from Chops, pushed to Rebecca who needed a few attempts to put it past the defenders stick and just over the goal line. Where the keeper was, none of us knew. And so the umpires came together to discuss whether or not our clumsiness deserved was decided it did! 1-1! Rebecca skipped back to the other end of the pitch, gleeful about her first league goal and not the slightest bit embarrassed about her poor finishing quality.
At half time we convened in the goal, our heads a bit down. Chops, (who was out the night before until well past midnight with Sophie Hart), gave us a stirring pep talk. We knew we could do better, we knew we would do better...
Out of the blocks in the second half came Kate, Charlotte, Emily and Jen. All speeding towards the goal (with the ball in tow thank goodness), putting constant pressure on the Bedford defence. Wave after wave, we flirted with scoring again but somehow were always denied by silly things like the post, the keeper...and being slightly inaccurate. Chops was, of course, orchestrating the whole thing with delicate passing and intelligent positioning. Then another storming run down the right wing from Emily, who broke through the Bedford defence with ease, and passed gently to Kate who was ready and waiting to strike at goal. A glorious hit and we were ahead 2-1!
Now we were playing our best hockey, and every attempt from Bedford to break through on goal was denied by our midfield and defence. Liz, Fi and Harrie worked well together, tracking back and holding up play. Zoe, having moved from right back to centre back and being our youngest and most able-bodied defender, was able to keep up with the sprightly oppo attackers and cleanly break down everything that came her way. Rebecca on the left fiercely defended the D, and Trish and Sophie were sturdy too, keeping their Chops-like composure and distributing the ball with ease.
The best bit of play all day came midway through the second half. A breakaway right winger brought Rebecca into play, blocking the move and forcing the ball off the oppo stick for a Berko sideline. Liz took it quickly, seeing Chops free up the sideline. Chops, (credited with the most assists in BHHHC history), received the ball with a graceful first touch, and after noticing Emily charging up the middle of the pitch, weighted a ball across to her with absolute perfection. Emily clearly thought "what would Chops do?" as she selflessly sent a timely pass to Charlotte in the D, who slotted the ball home to take us 2 goals clear! 3-1!
We were buoyant and jubilant, but the action wasn't over. A furious 10 minute aggressive push from Bedford followed, and we were constantly fighting to keep the ball out of our D. We sent away attack after attack, and Kelly made some truly brilliant saves, but then one ball did creep through our defence and despite her best French splits, Rebecca let in a soft one under her knee on the line. A slight groin strain and bruised ego followed, but we were determined to keep our lead intact.
And keep it we did. Some sensible running the ball out of the D when a pass wasn't on, brave defending against strong hits and all pulling together as a team (which is something we've learnt from Chops) helped us come from behind and win 3-2!
After the game, Kelly was asked how she was feeling after getting her kit off. A question often asked of Helen Savage who spends an additional 70 minutes showering after each game.
And so on to next week...
MOM: Rebecca Wells