‘Red Sea parting’ proves a catalyst for Garstang loss

Garstang Ladies Hockey Club in action
Garstang Ladies Hockey Club in action

Garstang 1st 1

Northern 2

Garstang played Northern Ladies at home on Saturday. Both sides had only 12 players so for once Garstang had some form of equality. Garstang started brightly with some really good quality passing and looked the better and quicker side.

After just three minutes Fran Summers made an excellent break and a pass to Alice Matthews in space at the top of the Dee just did not go to stick. Garstang were flowing in attack but Northern were also coming back and advantage was even between two well-balanced sides.

Alice made a great stop in defence and the Garstang mid field looked really strong with some brilliant work by Lyndsey Hayes (Cookie) and the ever-present Josie Rice who was also on top form dominating space with her reach and commitment.

After eight minutes Northern won their first Penalty Corner (PC) but Sarah Skelton’s (SJ) defence stood up well. Garstang’s superb passing died back and Northern dominated play for the next four minutes winning a thrice-repeated PC at 16 minutes and holding the ball in Garstang’s half. Garstang then came roaring back and Nicky Charter started her characteristic high speed runs up the wing.

Garstang made some super passing moves with Alice, Josie and Fran speeding up the pitch but luck stayed firmly against them.

Nicky struck a good shot past the left post and Garstang then reverted to getting stuck in their own left corner unable to clear the ball for the last four minutes of the scoreless half.

Northern started the new half well and Lyndsay Norton had to make a Captain’s stop at the top of the Dee with only SJ behind her. Garstang’s passing game disappeared for the next seven minutes with poorly placed weak passes proving really helpful to Northern who intercepted them with glee.

The Garstang bench were tearing their hair out and Northern were in the clear ascendency. After the biblical terrible seven minutes Alice led a break out and so nearly placed a super ball to Nicky in the Dee. After 10 minutes Nicky made a reverse stick shot but again the Northern keeper blocked.

After 19 minutes Garstang slowed a bit and pressing hard were caught on the break by Northern necessitating another good intervention by Lyndsay Norton.

Julie Nightingale came on and was playing well in mid-field making some good runs from defence.

Two minutes later Garstang did their ‘Red Sea Act’ parting in front of a Northern attack and the ball went slowly and irresistibly in to the goal; 0 -1 after a one on one with SJ.

Advantage went back and forth but Northern held it overall. After 21 minutes SJ went down to parry an attack and Jude Chapman cleared down the goal line beautifully – much to the relief of the Garstang supporters.

Jude at this stage of the game became a real presence in midfield and was joined by Emily Cross who also made some determined runs. However three minutes later Northern were back and after a block SJ went down and a loose ball went to a Northern forward who made no mistake; 0-2. Garstang then came back well and after 30 minutes Josie Rice made some super runs culminating in a solo effort to score; 1-2. Garstang came back well and Fran Summers and Josie threatened to score. With three minutes to go Garstang won a penalty corner only for the distaff umpire to rule it out for a Garstang foot in the Dee.