The women’s second team faced high expectations in this season’s Varsity clash with Coventry.
The first half began at a frantic pace, with Warwick struggling to cope with the pressure of the much anticipated Varsity contest.
After some controversial decisions from the Coventry umpires, a disallowed Warwick goal, and a feverish atmosphere on the touchline (all which served to incense the watching Warwick crowd), heads started to go down and the first half ended with the game finely balanced at 0-0.
Controversial decisions, a disallowed Warwick goal and a feverish touchline atmosphere incensed the watching Warwick crowd
The second half was a completely different story. After a motivational half-time team talk from captain Emma Watts, the girls started the final 35 minutes of play with fresh motivation. The speed of the action was still frantic, with some dynamic runs through the centre of the pitch from Emma and Nat Wilshire which terrorised the Coventry defence, giving Warwick a fertile attacking outlet.
Warwick were beginning to build up a head of steam and pin Coventry back, but, unfortunately, a stiff defence meant they were unable to make that all-important breakthrough.
However, that finally changed when a quick, accurate passing move and a great ball in from Emily Gee resulted in forward Megan Richold placing the ball in the back of the net. Advantage Warwick.
The team gained momentum and soon after, Sam Cash added gloss to the scoreline following some great runs down the left wing.
A 2-0 victory was no more than the team deserved, and with the amount of attacking intent Warwick demonstrated, the score could have been far higher. Nevertheless, it resulted in another two points in the bag for Warwick Hockey.
After the two matches at Westwood Heath, it was time to move onto Warwick’s home turf, nicknamed “Fortress Westwood” by Warwick fans and players alike.
With six points won so far, the Ladies first team had a lot riding on their match, which brought down the curtain on a frenetic day of Varsity Hockey.
Having met twice earlier the season, the match was clearly going to be a difficult one with two such evenly-matched sides. Both teams had tasted victory in the previous two clashes, with Warwick losing narrowly in a 3-2 defeat back last October, before grabbing some revenge with a 1-0 victory later on in the season.
The game started off with high intensity, and both teams were clearly unaffected by the fact that Warwick had already won the hockey series as a whole: victory on the day was the sole ambition of both sets of players.
The ball was moved quickly up and down the pitch with no successful goals from either side; chances were at a premium largely thanks to a pair of resilient defences.
When the first goal did come, it was for Coventry. Warwick lost possession outside of the D and fired it home to open the scoring, briefly quelling the excited Warwick masses who roared their approval.
However, just a few minutes later, Warwick struck back and gained a penalty corner. With another fast injection from Pingu and move- ment across the top of the circle, captain Becky Marvell scored to make it 1-1. The rain was getting heavier and the crowds were getting louder; everything was still to play for.
Things were getting a little heated on the pitch, with two green cards awarded to Warwick players for consistent rough tackling
Warwick were dominating possession, but Coventry took the lead against the run of play right at the end of the first half. The hosts trailed at the inter- val, and ‘Fortress Westwood’ was in severe danger of being breached by the Coventry visitors.
Warwick went into the second half intent on clawing back the one-goal deficit. Things were getting a little heated on the pitch, with two green cards awarded to Warwick players for consistent rough tackling, and a yellow card issued to the Coventry captain, who was held accountable for the grotesque chants from the visiting supporters on the sideline.
As the two teams entered the final few minutes of the game, a series of rapid, accurate transfers and an attack up the middle from Kat Rumsey set up a goal opportunity for MJ Lee, who scored to bring the scores level just four minutes from full-time.
Despite Warwick efforts to score another, with one ferocious effort from Ramsey skimming inches wide of the post, the final score ended as a 2-2 draw after a well-fought game from the Ladies 1st team.
Meanwhile, the Warwick men’s hockey teams dominated their local opposition.
The Men’s 2s started off the long day of matches. David Dougall (5), Robin Bartlett (1), Tom Duncan (1), Tom Spencer (1) and Rich Smith (2) all got themselves onto the scoresheet in an exceptionally strong 10-0 thumping.
Man of the Match went to Rich Smith for his fantastic work rate in the middle and distribution to the forwards.
The first team men’s squad also won comfortably, this time beating Coventry to the tune of a 3-0 scoreline. Rob McGeachie, Chris Barnett and Joe Davis all grabbed a share of the glory with a goal apiece, securing maximum points in the male hockey category.
In total, with three victories and a draw from their four Varsity matches, the Warwick hockey squad can be immensely proud of their achievements.