Knutsford Ladies crowned champions!
The Knutsford team arrived in plenty of time to prepare for the game, which they had hoped would have been used for practicing drills and routines however the majority of the time was used to fix the depleting Northop goals and to ensure that there was no rubbish on the pitch that could hamper the good ship Locke.
Captain Locke’s team talk was nothing short of inspirational; she enthused passion in to her crew and asked that each and every one of them gave a hundred and ten percent, to a game that could ultimately decide the fate of the Division 3 title.
Knutsford began well and were soon creating a number of chances through some intricate passes but were thwarted by the Northop goalie who had started in a resolute fashion.
The tireless Heine at the back for Knutsford was a thorn in Northop’s side producing a masterful display, breaking up attack after attack and distributing the ball well with the flair of “Cantona”.
Midway through the first half the ball was to end up on the right with Paton and Allan combining well, a deflected cross from Paton ended up with ball at Scott’s feet and she needed no assistance in ensuring that the ball ended up in the back of the net. Knutsford believed that this would be the “kindling” of a usual Knutsford performance, but this was not the case as Northop began to exert pressure on the Knutsford outfit and were unlucky not to go into the half time break level.
Captain Locke took the opportunity of the break to rally her crew once again, “fight” was the call and as the Knutsford ladies began to take their places for the second half, a chilly wind began to blow around the Northop stadium.
Northop began the second half the better and were soon in the face of the Knutsford defence and it did not take long for them to equalise with a well taken goal by the Centre Forward. Westenraad, Crabtree, Jackson and Heine put this goal behind them and continued to display the strength and determination they have shown all season to help put the Knutsford Ladies top of the league.
Northop continued to exert pressure on Knutsford and if it had not been for some sterling work, from Keeper Marsham on the occasions that she was called into action it could have been a different story.
Time was now running out for Knutsford. With ten minutes to go the spectators had thought that the outcome was going to be a draw, Knutsford had at times, shown some of the exciting hockey that they had demonstrated all season but it looked like the result was going to evade them on this occasion.
Shortly after a Northop move was broken up, something happened, the Knutsford ladies began to believe that they could actually win this game.
With seven minutes left on the officials watch, the “wonderful” Orchard, who had demonstrated a lesson in marathon running broke up a Northop break and found Lunt on the half way line. A neat cross field pass found Riley on the left wing who displayed technique like Torvil and Dean to twist and glide through the Northop defence and unleash a thunderbolt of a shot from the narrowest of angles to beat the Northop goalie.
Knutsford were two one up and with only minutes to go, the team were in for a nervy end to the match. Northop managed one final attack before the final whistle was blown and the Knutsford spectators went wild.
Unknowingly to the Knutsford ladies their closest rivals had been beaten earlier and Knutsford had indeed won the league. There are not enough superlatives to describe this team, the leadership from Captain Locke and the brave skill and determination that her fellow sailors have shown all season is second to none.
As the ladies celebrate next week in their final game of the season the cry of “Championees” is sure to be heard from a number of Knutsford hostelries.
Well done to all!!!!
Man of the Match – Caroline Orchard