On a poor Woodlands School surface, Matlock Baileans V drew 1-1 with Derby IV on Saturday.
The pitch looked as if the tide had just gone out and left it damp and with ribbons of muddy sand running across the playing areas.
The sand wasn’t any more slippery than the rest of the pitch, but it made for interesting playing conditions as it slowed the ball down to a crawl.
Matlock had been expecting to play a defensive game and so they were rather pleased to get the best of the first few minutes.
Anna Mulrenan, Janice Bush and the perfectly positioned Lucy Knowles set up camp in Derby territory and took shots on goal.
Quick and accurate passing from Annelise Rountree, Sally Bradbury and Liz English in midfield ensured the ball didn’t stray far.
The forwards remained focused and after one particularly competitive tussle Rountree swept the ball into the goal.
In the centre prowled Lowri Heap who, celebrating her birthday and therefore now eligible to play ladies’ league hockey, intercepted any incoming Derby players.
Netty Reddish and Jo Wilmot dealt with the flanks and everyone was kept under control by the imposing figure of the sweeper, Gaye Smedley.
Matlock goalkeeper Charlotte Clayton dealt with anything getting too close to goal.
Derby started the second half in aggressive style and caught Matlock off guard as they equalised within the first minute.
Matlock quickly regrouped and returned to their attacking game.
More hard work was rewarded with a penalty corner. Rountree received the ball at the top of the D and hit it straight into the back of the goal.
Unfortunately the umpire thought the ball hadn’t been hit in the D and so it was disallowed. Rebecca Ray made a great fifth team debut and supported the moves on the right and Fran Phillips demonstrated her versatility by playing as both defender and attacker in the same game.
Ella Pressley eagerly chased any free ball and when one threatened to cross the sideline she set off in hot pursuit.
Pressley almost got to the ball but unfortunately skidded off the pitch injuring her wrist in the process. That was the end of her game but Ella demonstrated real fifth team spirit by going for after match refreshments and birthday cake before departing for the hospital.
Player of the match was awarded to Lowri Heap.