UKC Women’s Hockey: A Fantastic February Part 1

Photo courtesy of University of Kent Women's Hockey Club

It seems that no one can block the path of University of Kent (UKC) Women’s Hockey, since January was a whirlwind of positive results and they haven’t showed signs of slowing down in February either.

The beginning of February saw UKC 1’s take on Hertfordshire 1’s with a 2-1 win, and UKC 2’s were victorious over King’s College 3’s also with a 2-1 triumph.

In the last half of the season, UKC 1’s had already beaten Hertfordshire 7-1, and therefore as Rebecca Ellis, Vice-Captain, highlights ‘we were quite confident however they seemed to have a change of players which put us under a lot of pressure.’ Due to this the 1’s conceded a goal early on. However, after the first goal from Hertfordshire, Captain Caitlin Merison adds ‘with a renewed sense of grit and determination we utilised the skill in the team and stuck to our players.’ Clearly the UKC 1’s were able to take hold of that first goal and not let this destroy the energy and dynamic of their game play.

Utilising the skill in the team also came to the forefront for the Women’s UKC 2’s, especially for Natasha Cheeseman, as the goalkeeper, Jemima Ratcliffe, points out ‘she was working really well down the left-hand side using her fitness and skill to outrun the opposition.’

It just shows how maximum effort is a must, and lucky for the 2’s, Captain Grace Gail highlights how they were ‘able to sub on and off and stay on good form’ arriving with a full 16 players.

Photo courtesy of University of Kent Women's Hockey Club

The middle of February was no different as the UKC 1’s smashed another score with a 2-0 win over Royal Veterinary College (RVC) 1’s on 12th February. Captain Merison articulates ‘we went into the game a little apprehensive due to the pressure of it being a Cup quarter final.’ Yet, this had very little impact on the team’s spirit. Previously, UKC 1’s had beaten RVC twice in the league. On this occasion they pushed on to secure two goals with concise short corner conversions. A highlight for Captain Merison was when ‘the ball was injected to the top of the “D” and hit by Jazz back to the injector at the left post for a deflection.’

Deflecting the ball to the Women’s 4’s, February also saw them return to the pitch against Kings College 7’s. Although with a 10-0 loss, Captain, Gina Percival, expresses ‘playing on home turf always helps with morale.’ It is also inspiring that they went ahead with the game since they had no subs. Perseverance was key, and until the final whistle Women’s 4’s kept going.

Percival adds ‘Some positives definitely were that we didn’t play such a defensive game, we created more opportunities.’ They hope this will be maintained in the next match against Kings 6’s utilising the wings more often and creating a stronger hold in defence.

Evidently the UKC Women’s hockey squads are filled with tenacity and the positive playing dynamic is forever present. They consistently play quality hockey and it is a thrill to watch them progress through the year and improve game on game.