[Written by Laura West-Burt] As the astroturf pitch is apparently out of commission for the next few weeks with work due to start on replacing the turf surface, Canaries B and Longtails were the first to experience the grass surface at the North Field this weekend.
It has been many years since any hockey player has had to play league hockey on grass and for many of the juniors it was a new experience. Playing on grass requires a more upright playing stance from that used on astroturf – the ball doesn’t travel as fluidly and dies very quickly and players have to adjust their usual turf skills and be more ready move the ball short distances to advance the play.
That said, both teams appeared to make the transition from turf to grass with no real problems with Canaries assuming the driving seat in the first half. Rebecca Gibson was instrumental in getting the ball moved up the field and netted her first goal in the 13th minute.
Although Canaries applied a lot of pressure with some well placed link up play between Chloe Pullen and Emma Calow, some great defending by Longtails’ Jokia Richardson and Shannon Dill prevented any more goals until Emma Calow doubled the Canaries lead towards the end of the first half.
Rebecca Gibson scored her second goal of the day from a set play on penalty corner early in the second half and Maria Alvarez managed to tip the ball over the line for a 4th goal. Marie Taylor sealed the Canaries victory with a field goal in the final few minutes of the game.
The final 5-0 score belies the fact that this very young Longtails team worked tirelessly throughout out the match and never gave up trying. Youngster Laura Hope is most definitely one to be watched: she is fast, tenacious and eager to be involved in the play. Longtails have visibly grown in confidence and skill, and as they develop and gain more experience, they will most certainly become a force to be reckoned with. Final Score: Canaries 5 Longtails 0
In the second game of the day, Wildcats scored early in the first half when they were awarded a penalty stroke which was duly converted by Eva Dillas. Susanna Almeida went on to score the 2nd and final goal of the game from a short corner just minutes before the half time whistle.
Swallows made some strategic changes in the second half and moved their usual defender Mallory Towlson up to a forward position which proved to be beneficial as she and Kayla Kellman worked well together to produce some forceful attacking plays.
Some solid defending by Kelli Nusum proved frustrating to Wildcats, who despite continued pressure from Susanna Almeida, were unable to put any more goals passed Swallows goalkeeper Julie Crawford.
Final Score: Wildcats 2 Swallows 0
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