WSLHC III v Gwent II - 8th September 2018

A squad of fifteen, comprising some new faces, some old faces and some guests from other teams, gathered in Cwmbran for a friendly against the Gwent 2nd XI, hoping that the rain would keep off.

As is to be expected in the first game of the season, when everyone’s basic skills are a little rusty, we did not gel much as a team and struggled to string many passes together or keep the ball in the first few minutes. After much scrappy play, we conceded a goal best described as “bumbly” where the ball bounced into and seemingly all around the D before being pushed into the goal – most frustrating!

However, we took a collective deep breath and tried again. We began to make more progress into Gwent’s 23, with only our final passes into the D failing to connect until a run up the right and early cross reached yours truly in an acre of space on the left at the top of the D. I could have written a postcard home, but instead I unleashed a devastating strike that left the mouths of both teams and all watching agape with wonder as it flew into the goal with the grace of a heron taking flight. A complete contrast to the goal we had conceded!

After that little excitement, the rest of the first half continued a bit scrappy but end-to-end and we conceded a couple of penalty corners, while not gaining any ourselves, so that Gwent managed to score their second goal from one of these.

During an animated half-time talk, with much input from the various squad members, we decided to concentrate on blocking play through the middle of the pitch, tackling in pairs and increased communication.

Sticking to this plan meant we had loads of possession and territory throughout the second half and won several penalty corners. Despite these and some more opportunities in open play, we didn’t equalise, but finished the game playing better than the opposition and in an upbeat frame of mind. Inevitably, there are things to work on and improve, but it was an enjoyable game and all the new girls fitted in the squad without looking out of place, so the signs are good for a positive start to the new season.

Final score: Gwent 2-1 WSLHC