Tough Time for Hockey Teams
Knutsford Mens 1st XI have had a turbulent past 3 weeks, coming so close on all 3 occasions to getting valuable points in their quest to remain in the North League for more than just a season. Last week was their closest game yet and their efforts went unrewarded.
Knutsford were unlucky not to get something out of this closely fought game against local team Bramhall. Having taken the lead they were unable to capitalise on what other chances they created in order to get some points from the game. The black knights fought a tough battle without skipper Hodge or centre back Simon Locke.
The game started well for Knutsford who had the majority of the ball and were able to snuff out any Bramhall attacks before they were able to get going. Defensive trio of Heath, Higgs and Price held firm and confidently mopped up any sniff of an attack that Bramhall had. Credit to stalwart goalkeeper Simon McCoy for some outstanding saves that kept his side in the game. Bramhall’s frustration was obvious that they weren’t being allowed to play, and it was Knutsford who were stroking the ball around nicely, their short game working well.
The first goal that came was a goal for the home side as Mike Power, poetry in motion ghosted round two defenders into the D and as he looked to have taken the ball to wide unleashed a shot on his reverse stick side that found the opposite corner and gave the keeper no chance. They were deserved of their lead and continued this flowing hockey that had served them so well. It looked as though they would hold the lead going into the break but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as Bramhall made it honours even with a breakaway goal.
Sometimes Knutsford can have lapses in concentration and it tells in the score line. Today wasn’t one of those days however and they continued in the same vein as the first half. The midfield quartet of Simon Trenbrith, Stand in Captain Dan Allan, Steve Torrie and Stuart Kenyon were tireless in their work rate and were certainly winning the battle in the middle of the park. Soaking up the pressure Bramhall created and also applying it straight back onto the visiting side. Front trio of Ward, Power and Baddeley worked the Bramhall backs well not allowing them too much time on the ball and pressing them hard given the opportunity.
Today wasn’t to be Knutsford’s day however as Bramhall were able to get themselves in the lead for the first time in the game. A loose ball in the D was fired home. The relief in Bramhall was obvious as they knew they were matched by Knutsford. Unfortunately the score line stayed at 2-1 and again Knutsford were to rue missed chances. Although still rooted to the foot of the table this result and performance showed that they will never give up and are going to fight to the end of the season.
Knutsford Mens 2nd XI were rewarded for their continued fight on Saturday when they got a valuable 2-2 draw against Bramhall’s second string. Both goals came from Mike Leaning and Man of the Match going to youngster Joel Evans. However, this point still leaves them stranded at the bottom of Division 5 South.
Knutsford Mens 3rd XI which continues to bring on and develop the Junior section were soundly beaten against a lively and accomplished Colwyn Bay 3s on Saturday. Theo Wall again impressed at right half, Georgie Nairn was willo the wisp at right wing, Gavin Merrill strong at centre back, Giuseppe superb in goal & captain Steve Hope out of his depth at centre mid. Colwyn Bay are justifiably top of the league, Knutsford unjustifiably bottom. It would be nice to suggest that Knutsford’s youngsters might develop along similar lines to Colwyn’s slightly more experienced team over 2-3 years. Man of the Match went to Gavin Merrill.
Knutsford Ladies 1st XI have had a tough time time since Christmas losing all 3 of their fixtures which is the complete opposition to last season where they were winning most weeks to be promoted as Champions.
Reports from Janice Tasho, Simon Locke, Steve Hope, Nat Riley, Heather Paterson.
Knutsford entertained Neston South Wirral at West Field Drive on Saturday, and on paper it seemed Knutsford had a great chance of getting back to winning ways – but this wasn’t going to be the case. A good first half had Knutsford confident of getting at least a point out of the game, with some close efforts from set pieces causing the visitors some problems. The first half ended with the scores even and the home side went in feeling up beat. However, the second half was to be a somewhat different affair.
Neston knew that 3 points would see them leap frog Knutsford into 6th position in a league that was proving to be extremely open. The first goal came from a hopeful attack from the Neston left wing, who managed to drive into the area unmarked and squeeze the ball through a confused Knutsford defence and into the goal, their lead was doubled from a well drilled set piece – even though Man of the Match Sarah Crabtree would find herself extremely hard done by when a ball was lifted into her but was given the other way. Neston powered the ball home to put Knutsford in double trouble. Knutsford’s misery was complete when a loose ball from a hapless Knutsford attack fell to the away attacker who dribbled into the area and sent a rasping shot past the keeper.
Knutsford did manage to carve a few chances out, with Nic Jackson breaking with the ball from her new midfield role and putting Nat Riley through, who managed to wrong foot her marker and break free – though she was left cursing when she was fouled by the last defender – who yet again went unpunished. Knutsford failed to capitalise on their short corner routines and found themselves staring another defeat in the face. That proved the last of Knutsford’s forward play and the girls were somewhat relieved to hear the final whistle.
Knutsford travel to Crewe next Saturday to play their rearranged fixture against Crewe – should anyone find Knutsford Ladies form, please could you return it ASAP so they can re-affirm their status in Cheshire Division Two.