Encouraging start for Sidmouth and Ottery Ladies

Sidmouth and Ottery HC Ladies’ 1st XI 2, Taunton Vale Ladies 3rds 2

The first friendly game of the season for the newly combined Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club (SOHC) was a resounding success.

This is the first time the ladies have played together competitively and the team gelled extremely well from the start, playing with great enthusiasm and support for eachother. There was a good mix of young talent and older experience on show and the combination worked like a dream for the first half.

Club matriarch Lee Pigeon took up her new role at the back which gave more confidence to the SOHC defence, this meant the ball was played around the back beautifully between herself, Chloe Munn and Molly Adkin, opening up the pitch for more creative forward play.

The first goal came from a well executed short corner routine (something SOHC are keen to develop). Vicki Russell injected to Hannah Watts who confidently reverse-stick stopped for Pigeon to strike. That initial shot was saved by the Taunton keeper but a tenatious Karen Dutton picked up the rebound and drilled it into the near corner – a fantastic finish.

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Alice Stafford, Rachael Down and Anna Rowson played brilliantly in midfield taking charge of the middle-ground and hence the second goal wasn’t long in coming. Sarah Roberts attacked from the halfway line, driving hard, then feeding the ball to Chrissie Mitchell in the ‘D’. With great composure and skill, Mitchell placed the ball past the keeper’s legs and into the far corner at a very tight angle. Another excellent goal from open play which is hugely encouraging for the newly formed team.

The first half continued much the same way with Taunton Vale only breaking SOHC’s ‘D’ 7 times, and with no score. 2-0 to SOHC at half time.

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The second half didn’t go quite so well! On a hot, sweaty day it seems a lack of early-season fitness told and SOHC began to look a little weary. A loss of shape, that had been so good in the first half, enabled Taunton Vale to come back at them and, despite some first-rate saves from Hayley Delasalle in the SOHC goal, Taunton managed to score twice, drawing the match level.

Unable to respond, the match finished in a tie but SOHC and new captain Jodie Lane and coach Gus McVey were hugely excited by the first half performance and are very keen to build on it as the league starts for real at the end of the month.

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