Kendal Ladies Firsts were pleased to be starting the new year at the mighty green Queen Katherine Fortress, where they have been unbeaten. They were ready to show Morpeth ladies ones how they can play hockey after a disappointing fixture in 2018 over in the north east.
After a minute silence to pay respects for umpire Steve Hamblett, both teams started strongly, with Kendal having much of the territory and some chances on goal. When in possession, Morpeth were equally able to progress into Kendal’s half and after forcing their way into the D a Morpeth attacker was in possession on the P spot and was able to spin the ball around the flat sticks of the defence. Unsighted, new goalkeeper Sarah Dodd was left with no time to react, and Morpeth had put the first mark on the scoresheet. Both teams continued to work hard, but not even Vicky Whalley-Jones could get an accurate shot on goal to make it count before the half-time whistle blew.
After some wise words from coach Tom Cash at half-time, Kendal aimed to make full use of the pitch and their players to retain possession and create real space and opportunity to attack and that they did. The experience of Karen Tyson in the forward line was crucial in creating both of the Green’s goals. The first came in the 42nd minute after Whalley-Jones attempted to drill the ball through a Morpeth player at the top of the D and earned Kendal a penalty corner. Tyson stuck the ball from the right of goal and Imogen Welsh followed in to collect the rebound off the keeper who had gone to ground. Young Welsh neatly scooped the ball up over the keeper and the defender’s stick into the back of the net. Only eight minutes later, Tyson took the opportunity again, this time setting up high forward Celia Powell, who received the ball from the back line and spun it into the left hand corner. Morpeth got back to it in the latter phases of the game and whilst Kendal felt the pressure, particularly player of the match Dodd, who remained calm and composed as she saved shots that intended to exploit all parts of the net. It seemed that the home team just had a grip of the game, until they gave away a penalty corner as the umpire’s whistle blew. Desperate to get the three points they felt they had thrown away in Morpeth, the Kendal defence were focused, even with Nicola Hartley breaking too early and being sent to the halfway line, the remaining four stayed tight in front of the goal mouth and the accurate strike from the visitors in the bottom left corner was saved by a Kendal stick and it deflected off the back line to ensure Kendal had the victory and remain unbeaten at QKS.
Kendal 2 Morpeth 1.
Next week Kendal face league leaders Newcastle University, again with a score to settle after a disappointing away fixture, and hope that the pitch can continue to provide the platform on which to earn more points!