Image courtesy of UKC Women's Hockey
From the rain of success on the scoreboards in the opening games earlier this month, the latter half of February has also been a triumph, and a learning curve.
University of Kent (UKC) Women’s 1’s sealed a 3-0 win over St George’s on 19th February. They last met St George’s on 13th November with a close call. Vice-Captain Rebecca Ellis highlights;
‘we went into the match not being complacent as previously it was a close game. We knew that we had to win this match and bring high intensity as being the penultimate league match, a win would mean we had all to play for in the league decider.’
This match was essential to maintaining UKC 1’s clean sweep, and improved their odds of being promoted next season.
This meet witnessed ‘more trust in our formation and more confidence and intensity’ Ellis stated. From a defence point of view, Rosie Kemp articulates ‘the forwards are definitely more confident at just taking a strike at the top of the “D.”’ She adds, ‘all our marking defensively was on point this game.’ This aided the trust and teamwork, and Caitlin Merison, the Captain, says that although St George’s were a physical team, ‘interplay between players helped us get the ball up the pitch smoothly.’ Given the fact there was a hick-up with the shirt colours, Kemp enlightens ‘we had to wear ours’ inside out, and from that point we were all pretty [fired up].’
UKC Women’s 2’s took on Queen Mary 2’s that Wednesday afternoon. Despite a disappointing 0-4 result, Captain, Grace Gale, comments “the first 20 minutes of the match were the best we have played together all season”. She continues to say, “we really made use of the space and made some good passes and moved the ball high up the pitch.”. Although it was a loss, there are still aspects to learn from. The team focused on persisting to “keep pushing and continue to be mentally confident no matter how many go in” says , 2’s goal-keeper - Jemima Ratcliffe. Gale also adds to this, highlighting the importance of the attackers in maintaining their position, and not panic when in the “D.”
UKC fixtures are played on a water-based AstroTurf, which enables the ball to kick up more, unlike other surfaces. This had an unintended impact on the game. Jemima expressed how the “bouncy pitch [meant] we were over-committing to our tackles and ended up fumbling for the ball”. In reality the game appeared far closer, unfortunately this was not reflected in the score. Overall, it provided the best condition to highlight areas and aspects of the game that needed to be worked on.