Garstang Ladies Hockey Club’s seconds retained the Caley Cup with a 2-0 victory against their Longridge counterparts at Preston last weekend.
The game started at a tremendous pace but both sides’ nerves did not produce good hockey.
Both sides kept winning the ball well in defence, only to lose it on the break after the hard work had been done.
Garstang’s Charlotte Willis and Jem Hampson showed their defensive skills but, after 12 minutes, Longridge gained a clear ascendancy and it took good work from Wendy Haworth and Hannah Crawshay to hold the line.
Garstang fought back with the pace of Summer Muirhead on the left before Lydia Williamson provided a further injection of speed when she joined the fray on 17 minutes.
Longridge started to hold Garstang back and were back in the ascendancy, winning their first penalty corner on 26 minutes which saw Garstang keeper Elaine Higginson deflect a good shot up and over the goal.
Eight minutes later, Longridge made a dangerous break which required a superb run back and tackle from Ellie Moss and Higginson’s supporting clearance.
With the first half having ended goalless, the second period began in the same fashion before Garstang’s passing skills opened up the game.
Muirhead, Megan Coar, Grace McGarvey, Mel Gee and Williamson suddenly had space to run at Longridge and their greater pace and passing skills were clear.
On five minutes, Grace McGarvey made a clear break with Megan Coar, who went one-on-one with the keeper.
Although her raised shot was blocked, Coar followed in and, as the keeper rolled over, she neatly lifted the ball into the net to open the scoring.
Another strong break from McGarvey saw Coar shoot across goal, only for the ball to slide past the target.
A Garstang penalty corner saw Katherine Watson’s shot miss the intended deflection into the goal before a green card for a Garstang defender saw Longridge win a repeated penalty corner, ending with Higginson’s powerful kick clearing the ball.
A Longridge penalty corner saw another good save from Higginson clear the danger before Garstang doubled their lead on 27 minutes.
Gee’s pass saw McGarvey one-on-one with the keeper and, with great skill and a calm presence of mind, she caught out the keeper and lifted the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
Gee sent a shot wide across goal after half-an-hour, only for Longridge to break back quickly.
Josie Guthrie, however, was in place to clear the ball at the top of the ‘D’, and although Longridge bravely pressed forward for one last time and were rewarded with a repeated penalty corner, they were frustrated again by keeper Higginson.