Kendal Hockey Club’s senior mixed team “The Mint Cakes” made a good start to their England Hockey Mixed Championships, Tier 1 campaign as they travelled to Leeds Adel this weekend.

Despite a reduced squad after Ayrton Boyd’s failure to launch early Sunday am, The Mint Cakes set off on a superb drive to Leeds, hoping to reproduce the standard of hockey they played in the mixed cup last season.

The weather was cold, but the welcome was warm as the teams took to the field. The match ebbed and flowed as the sides sized each other up. Despite Kendal being dominant the first goal took a while before it arrived. Both sides created and missed chances. Andrew Melville, playing in defence, had an impressive swing and a miss after he found himself in the Leeds D following a meandering run. Aaron Screen opened the scoring. Latching onto a through ball from Phil Conlin, Screen drove at the goal and slipped a reverse stick shot under the keeper. There was then a moment of tactical genius from Melanie Whalley-Jones. Spotting a gap in the Leeds back line, Whalley-Jones substituted herself on, drove into the identified space, scored and the back post and then, having completed her self-assigned mission substituted herself off again to give The Greens a two goal cushion at the break. It should also be noted that this goal would have been impossible to score without a superb, physics defying touch into the Leeds D from Liam Platt. Platt somehow managed to make a perfect, first time, reverse-stick connection with the ball after it was struck toward him with venom by Katie Ireland. All this whilst he was running at full speed away from the goal without even having to look.

Half time- Leeds 0 – 2 Kendal.

The second half continued in the same friendly, although competitive manner. Kendal were by far the most dominant team, but Leeds were not without threat. Vicky Whally-Jones was having a majestic game at the centre of defence. Despite her lack of experience at the back, she continually denied the home side access to the Kendal D. The Greens were perhaps guilty of being slightly too friendly as the second half progressed, a worrying lack of professionalism which Kaney Tyson emphatically pointed out. First Melville, then Conlin decided to repeatedly gift Leeds the ball from hit outs. Fortunately, Rob Cartwright was on form and kept his clean sheet intact. The third goal came from man of the match Screen as he drove into the Leeds D once again and finished with a strong shot that left the keeper floundering.

Kendal then switched things up as the game wore on. A dynamic new strike partnership of Nick Davis and Phil Conlin were sent on to become the sharp end of the Mint Cakes’ spear. However, despite several top draw chances that seemed more difficult to miss than score, Davis was clearly more intent on hitting the post than scoring. Meanwhile, Conlin’s main contribution to the high-powered strike force was to attempt a heroic, if ill-advised dive for the ball at the back post. Unfortunately, all Conlin succeeded in connecting with was the ground, and the keepers welcoming embrace. Mark Addison also had a solid match and was more than pleased with continuing his one hundred per cent winning record as The Mint Cakes’ captain. The only questionable part of Addison’s performance was a self inflicted, bewildering fall from grace. Under no pressure and standing alone with the ball, Addison’s spectacular tumble was only trumped by the heinous noise that accompanied it. Fortunately no injury was sustained. The matched ended with both teams happy with the good natured hockey played and Addison led The Greens in a rousing chorus of cheers. Finally, Chris Woodman earned himself many prestigious votes for his exceptional post-match performances. After a solid start Kendal Hockey Club’s Mint Cakes look forward to their next match in the competition.

Final score- Kendal Mint Cakes 3 – 0 Leeds Adel.

Categories: Match Reports