It was a glorious day at Highfields pitches, with the sun shining and the stage set for another captivating event in the Varsity series. Ahead of the main event, the ladies’ 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams made Uni proud with convincing thrashings of Trent in their respective match-ups. However, would the 1st team be able to emanate this success and convert that crucial win?
Trent came out hard from the push back and drove directly into Uni’s D to win an early short-corner. After a threatening straight strike, goalie, Katy ‘Eggy’ Blyth, came to Uni’s rescue with an impressive save. This failed to deter Trent who succeeded in earning two short-corners in quick succession. Despite winning three short-corners in the early stages of the game, Trent failed to capitalise on their chances and succumbed to Uni’s solid defence.Uni responded well with some chances of their own, including an ambitious long-range delivery that penetrated Trent’s D and forced the goalie to come off her line to clear. Both teams appeared to be relatively evenly matched, with no signs of Uni’s superior ranking in the BUCS league.
However, after just over 15 minutes, Uni finally broke the deadlock with a goal from fresher, Emily Smith, following a positive period of possession. The goal was Emily’s first of the season and, even more crucially, her first in a Varsity match-up, winning her a place in the history books.
But, the game wasn’t over yet. Trent reacted well with clear determination to repeat last year’s upset, winning yet another short-corner. Despite failing to convert, they still refused to relent and continued to pile on the pressure, raising the anxieties in the Uni dug-out. Trent looked particularly dangerous on the counter-attack, breaking away on numerous occasions, but failing to complete that final pass in the D.At half-time, the only thing separating the two teams was Uni’s imperative goal. The team talks for both sides would have been very similar in some ways, with both needing to make more of their opportunities, particularly on the numerous short-corner attempts. However, at the same time, they would have been markedly different, with Trent attempting to lift spirits and Uni determined to preserve their lead.
Uni captain, Celia Butler, who was unfortunately unable to play due to injury, must have delivered an incredibly inspirational team talk as Uni exploded from the dug-out and directly into Trent’s D with an early shot and resulting short corners. Uni demonstrated their exceptional range of skill with one shot on the reverse followed expertly by a drag flick, but both unfortunately hitting the goalie’s pads.Despite countless nail-biting break-aways by Trent, they again failed to complete that final pass, emphasising their failure to play as a team. Uni however dominated the majority of possession with a few skilled drives up the left wing by England’s Jo Hunter and some promising periods of play.
Uni’s crucial first-half goal proved to be the decider as the match ended 1-0. However, this in no way affected the satisfaction of the win and the joyful celebrations of the players as they embraced and bundled on top of one-another in the centre of the pitch. Congratulations to the Nottingham Uni ladies’ 1st hockey team for claiming their revenge and winning that essential equaliser in the 2011 Varsity series!
(Note from the Editor: Apologies for Impact’s lateness in putting the Hockey match reports online. An unfortunate bout of man-flu this week put such operations on hold.)