Photo coutesy of UKC Hockey
What a Wednesday for University of Kent Women’s 1’s. The team travelled to London on 26th February 2020 to take on St Mary’s 1’s in the Cup Semi-Finals. This is a separate competition to the normal BUCS leagues, and it was a close shave, with a 4-3 victory.
It started out as a very intense match, with a lot of toing and froing. University of Kent (UKC) conceded a scrappy goal at the beginning, yet managed to bring the scoreline back to 1-1. UKC were rather flustered at the start, partly because a great proportion of the midfield players taking a break for Reading Week. They went into half time 3-1 down.
However, as Captain, Caitlin Merison highlights, "we were not disheartened, we knew we could pull it back". The second half saw them come back fighting and hungry for possession. The number of short corners increased, and the intensity reached its height with some precise 1-2 passes. As right midfielder, Alanah Moore, emphasises:
"Our mentality changed and you could tell we actually believed we could do this; kept the spirits high and pushed through".
UKC were not going to let St Mary’s run away with it. The highlights of the match came in the second half. The ball was worked effortlessly up the pitch, and the transitions between defence and attack were on point. UKC also managed to convert the goal which bought them that much closer to bringing the match to a ‘refresh stage’. The score then stayed at 3-2 to St Mary’s, until the last 10 minutes.
From the goalkeeper's perspective, Roanne Foister says "defensively we got out quickly and positioned ourselves well". She also highlights how the attacking side improvised well on the short corners.
Moreover, Merison recalls the attacking short corner in the last few minutes of the game; "Ellis ejected the ball out to me (the stopper) and I held the ball drawing St Mary’s in …then slipped it left and ended with a goal to the bottom left post". It is evident UKC kept fighting and kept it simple in order to finish the match on a draw.
With the scoreline at 3-3, the game went to penalty flicks to see who would take the victory. Apprehension and suspense were forever present at this moment. The five flickers for UKC, Rebecca Ellis (Vice-Captain), Ellie Benson, Moore, Jasmin Clarke, and Merison took to the ‘P’ spot one by one, alternating with St Mary’s. Foister saving the first flick by St Mary’s gave UKC a huge advantage, and soon they were away with a 4-1 lead on flicks, and therefore won the match.
UKC go into every game with no preconceptions. Moore points out "we know regardless of the score we can fight back and come out on top…we always go into games as a clean slate and always ready to fight".