The fire in our bellies had been severely reduced to embers by the revelation of this Saturday’s availability. We had been hit hard by the sudden appearance of half term, springing upon us like a coiled Tiger ready to take down its prey!
On top of that, in the past few weeks players have been dropping like flies to injuries - wishing all speedy recoveries; we miss you, you know who you are!!
However some mighty heroines in the form of Helen, Deb, Emily and Anna-Marie; readily stepped up to tackle the fight that was to come from Broxbourne. Not forgetting Chops, who donned the pads to ensure we had a goalie on guard. At our last meeting the score line end in a 2-2 draw. The table standings show that although Bedford are storming away in 1st place, the race is on for 2nd, with four teams battling it out, only six points between them; we have six fixtures left to play after today, making every point vital.
Drying out from last week’s soggy affair was short lived as Berko faced Broxbourne, for a lunchtime pushback at Tring Astro. The rain relentless, the wind howling and blowing a gale, and the temperature dropping. Berko held the majority of possession in the first half, hassling and holding the opposition in their own half.
The mid-fielders continued dominate the width (Bunni on the left, Clare centre and Emily on the right) stretching the game of play. Allowing the ball to be fired on. Hannah and Charlie made some super runs, flooding the attacking 25 but the solid Broxbourne defenders made it difficult to break through. Terri was in prime space at the top of the D, with her attempts just going wide. All this wet and cold weather has obviously shrunk the goal!
The only goal of the game came from a hard press, which saw Charlie lay off the ball to Molly, who struck it home to take us into the lead.
Emily made a blinding run from our defending 25, storming up the pitch to the attacking 25. Blowing her opposing player away as she tried to keep up.
Our defending line up - Babs, Deb, Anna-Marie, Kate & Helen worked in absolute harmony for Chops. Not giving an inch, they made it incredibly hard for Broxbourne to get a clear strike in. Doing her best to keep up to the standard of these indomitable defenders, Bunni tried to keep her opposing player over at the side-line and ended up eating the astro, taking a tumble over herself.
Both Deb and Babs sacrificed their lovely hands, putting them in the firing line in their tackles to keep Broxbourne out and wrestle to ball back.
In the second half the tables were turned; with the conditions not letting up, Berko struggled to maintain momentum. Broxbourne were look blood hounds who had latched on to a scent. They were hungry for a goal and weren't going to let us walk away with all 3 points without a fight.
The defenders fell afoul of ball to foot syndrome, when trying to clear the ball from penalty corners. The pressure was on as Broxbourne wouldn't give up in their quest to hear the bang of the backboard. But Berko's perseverance saw them come out on top, refusing to let Broxbourne get past.
Chops maintaining her clean sheet for this season, made at least three saves that could have seen Broxbourne come back to draw level. It was as if time had diminished as a pass came in to the D, across the goal from the Broxbourne attack, in slow-motion Helen had stopped the attacking ball and deftly sent it back out on its way.
Today was most certainly a battle, but with new players having to join our ranks and slot in to the way we play. We should be absolutely proud of ourselves, so many crisp completed triangle passes made in the runs of our attack. A massive increase in attempted shots on goal, and so much more strength in general game play as well as set routines. Making excellent use of passing the ball around the back and using the width to make the ball do the work for us.
Last weekend we had pint-size supporters on the side-line, this match saw not only one sweet bubba but three! Absolutely loving the growth of our hockey family.
As ever many thanks go to our umpires - Peter Karmali & Liz Holderness - who not only voluntarily give up their time to allow us to play, but we chilled to the core and soaked through, come the full time whistle.
Match Report: Sarah Filby