Hosts Garstang Ladies Hockey Club 1sts drew with Clitheroe in what was a critical game in hockey’s North West League Division Two.
The two teams are key rivals at the top of the table and the encounter lived up to its billing.
Garstang were without Jude Chapman and Alice Matthews in midfield.
The game started with a Clitheroe raised ball across the Garstang D. There was then a period of Garstang holding the ball and possession with Di Roe and Rebecca Worthington making good runs.
After four minutes, Worthington came near to scoring on the break.
But she was not to be denied on 10 minutes as she pounced on a loose ball in the D from a Di Roe effort and was able to force the ball over the line to open the scoring.
Minutes later, both Roe and Worthington had near misses. On 15 minutes, Clitheroe won their first penalty corner and Sarah Skelton – the Garstang keeper – made a high clearance that prompted a repeat.
Skelton was then forced into making a good foot save and the ball was cleared by Donna Richardson on the left-hand post with Debbie Huyton in close support.
The game became an open, high-speed battle between the powerful forwards of both sides.
Roe took a nasty knock from a raised ball but soldiered on gallantly.
Jen Moss was having a good defensive game, stopping some large ferocious forwards in their tracks.
Garstang introduced Christy Martin, and her pace and stick skills soon began to cause discomfort for Clitheroe. On 25 minutes, Garstang won a corner and a Fran Summers’ drag-flick went narrowly over the bar.
Young Georgie Brummel was doing some great defensive work on the left-hand side of the pitch.
The visitors won two more penalty corners but Garstang’s defence stood firm despite the ball being trapped in our left 25 metre area.
Josie Rice came very near to scoring on the break leaving the keeper for dead and just being denied on the right post by a last-ditch clearance by a visiting defender.
At the start of the second half, battle recommenced with a strong run by Donna Richardson ending in a repeated penalty corners.
Ten minutes into the half, Clitheroe scored a good goal on the break to level the score.
Huyton then had to be on hand to prevent the visitors from taking the lead.
Summers then had a golden opportunity to win it for Garstang but she mis-hit her shot with the goal at her mercy and that meant the home side were forced to settle for a draw
“It was a hard fought game by both sides in atrocious weather conditions,” said Rice.