By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey
There was a sense of nervousness and excitement on the Astro on Wednesday as the girls’ first XI hockey team were back in action after a COVID enforced break. The team knew they had to be ‘switched on’ as they were facing a quality opposition in Churcher’s first XI and the match certainly lived up to expectations with both sides looking to play good hockey. It was Churcher’s who held the majority of attacking possession, but good saves from Tilda Gellatly and some timely interceptions from Shanklin Mackillop-Hall kept the Churcher’s side at bay for the majority of the first half. This, alongside the impressive Alisia Leach and phenomenal work-rate of forwards Mathilda Douglas and Kamaya Nelson Clayton, made for an enthralling encounter.
As the game moved into the second half, an unfortunate deflected own goal put the Churcher’s side 2-0 up. But, by virtue of her ‘do as I do’ approach, captain Esther Stewart kept the team focused and an exceptional stick save from the Churcher’s goalkeeper stopped Mathilda Douglas’ brave attempt to bring Bedales back into the game. As the match progressed, tiredness crept in and an increasing number of opportunities fell to the Churcher’s side – although it is fair to say that without the presence and influence of Rebekah Leach at centre-half, there would have been a greater number of opportunities.
At the final whistle, it was a deserved victory for Churcher’s, but there are a huge amount of positives for the Bedales side to take into the Hampshire U18 Trophy Tournament next week.