It was in this round last season that The Mintcakes bowed out of the England Hockey Mixed Tier 1 Championships in their debut year as an amalgamated club. Kendal welcomed Fylde to The Kirkbie Kendal School Cinder Ovens pitch hoping to go one better this time around.
The match started with Kendal in high spirits. The sun was shining, captain Mark Addison had won the coin toss and the home side had a full squad to make use of. Wasting no time, the Mintcakes passed the ball around well and began to probe the Fylde ranks for any weaknesses. Ewan Galloway and Kaney Tyson fired a few early warning shots at the away team’s goal, but the Fylde defence held firm. The visitors’ few forays into the Kendal half were soaked up by Mintcakes’ back line of Melanie Whalley, John Stanworth, Heather Randell and Chris Woodman before they could create any shooting opportunities. The opening goal came after Aaron Screen drove past two defenders into the Fylde D and crossed the ball with a disguised reverse stick. “Leave it! It’ll go out!” came the shout from a confident Fylde defender, but they had reckoned without the stealth abilities of Liam Platt. Appearing from nowhere, as if stepping out of the shadows, Platt found himself alone at the back post for the decisive, assassin like finish. Just a few minutes later the ball was fired toward the visitors goal once more by Kaney and the keeper came out to make an easy clearance… Or so she thought… Man of the match Platt saw his chance. Once again he suddenly materialised where just a split second earlier there had been no one. The Kendal striker sprinted across the front of the keeper with his stick outstretched, just in time to deftly touch the ball under an unaware foot. Both teams watched as the ball rolled slowly over the line for Platt’s second goal, as no defender could get near to stop it. His work complete, Platt the myth, the legend was not seen on the pitch again.
Half time Kendal 2 – 0 Fylde.
The second half was a more even affair. The Mintcakes still arguably had the lions share of possession and chances, but Fylde had changed formation and presented a greater threat. Rebecca Delbridge, Katie Ireland and Andrew Melville all managed to stay on the pitch and worked tirelessly to disrupt the away team’s midfield. Leah Mitchell repeatedly took the ball from her opposite number, danced past any challenges and set up Kendal to attack again. Kaney was a thorn in the Fylde defenders side as she harassed them every time they attempted to clear their lines. Nick Davis was then sent on up front to see if he could put the game to bed, but without his usual strike partner Davis looked isolated and out of sorts, especially when he moved from the correct place and failed to pick up Screen’s magnificent squaerial. A fact with which Screen was so annoyed he could not control his subsequent challenges, resulting in him being sin-binned. When Fylde did eventually break through, Rob Cartwright’s reactions were on point as he nimbly dived to his right to push the ball wide of the post and keep his clean sheet intact. The home side rode their luck as they defended a succession of penalty corners toward the end of the match, but the great wall of Kendal refused to fall and the hosts saw out the match victorious. After the final whistle Mark Addison gave his trademark flawless rendition of three cheers and the teams shook hands.
Many thanks to all who came to support the Mintcakes. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.
Having gone one better than last season, Kendal now find themselves in the last 16 of The National Championships. This is a fantastic achievement for all involved and The Mintcakes look forward to their next match against Huddersfield Dragons in a few weeks time.
Final score- Kendal Mintcakes 2 – 0 Fylde Mixed.