A typical English day with overcast skies greeted the Kendal Ladies 1st team as we gathered together before heading off to Kirkby Stephen, complete with last minute car rearrangements and an impromptu taxi service (#HockeyBus).
There was an air of relaxed excitement in the change room, it was after all the first league match of the 2017/2018 season, and everyone was looking forward to getting off to a good start. Our opposition, Kirkby Stephens (KS) had first push back but were unable to break through our defensive line as we fought for possession and continued to put pressure on the KS defence. The hard work paid off in the 14th minute, as newcomer Alex Richardson slotted the ball past the keeper after receiving a pass from fellow striker Kate Froggatt.
Throughout the rest of the first half, Kendal put up a good fight as the ball was shuttled in and out of both scoring Ds until KS was awarded a short corner, which they successfully converted in the 25th minute. Despite Kendal being tired but unwilling to give up and fighting back hard, KS broke through the middle of the pitch and was awarded a penalty stroke in the 28th minute, which was also successfully converted.
During the half time chat, we agreed to focus on our transfers and protecting the middle of the pitch. The plan worked and we were back to keeping the KS defenders under pressure until a fairly rough tackle saw Kendal’s Laura Hayton sent off in the 38th minute with a green card. For those few minutes, we consolidated our defences and prevented KS taking advantage of the situation until we were back at full strength.
During the 55th minute, Kendal snagged an equaliser as Kate Froggatt slipped a bouncing ball from Rebecca Delbridge past the keeper and into the net. Our victory was unfortunately short lived as in the 57th minute our defence was essentially bulldozed through by the KS player and the ball found itself in the back of our net.
The full-time whistle blew revealing the final score of Kendal-2, Kirkby Stephen-3. Player of the match was awarded to newbie Alex Richardson, with Vicky Whalley-Joans and Laura Hayton ranked second and third, respectively. Special mention goes out to Libby Thwaites for her interesting choice of pre-game footwear.