Newark Ladies 1st XI welcomed bottom of the table Boots IVs at the weekend for what should have been an easy encounter - although nothing can be taken for granted on these cold winter mornings.
Despite a threat of postponement first thing in the morning, the match started albeit slightly later than scheduled, due to the previous match starting a few minutes over.
The waiting around clearly got to the team as they took time to get into the swing of things, But when they did, the team produced one of the best team goals of the season so far. After a few attempts on goal have faltered, the ball was being comfortably played around the back and Jade Feayvour fed it up the left hand side to Becky Wells. She cut into the middle and crossed the ball to the right wing to on-form Millie Hill. Hill worked her magic and then crossed the ball into the middle for Katherine Hawkins to hammer home. A fantastic goal that used the whole pitch and movement from the team.
Then the visitors upset the apple cart by hitting back straight away with a bobbling ball deceiving George Barratt. This goals sparked the team into action and despite ball after ball flashing past the far post, the team did score three unanswered goals before half time.
Hannah Coe ran down the right crossing for Wells to score, with Laura Donaldson made up for several misses scoring a brace, again Hill servicing the team with h er excellent running and passing.
Early in the second half, Hill turned scorer with Coe breaking through the middle into the circle and played an easy ball for player of the match Hill to finish.
With game beyond Boots, Newark switched off and some horrendous passing and opportunities at goal saw the home side play become below par. However a Feavyour flick over the top of the visitors defence sparked a last minute revival and a penalty corner taken by captain Katie Sandell saw super-sub Amber Smith deftly finish and take the result to 6-1.
Boots 3s V Newark Ladies 2s
A cold and early start for Newark Ladies 2s on Saturday who travelled to Boots to play their 3rd team. A pitch inspection at 8am was not looking promising for the 9am pushback due to a frost on the surface. The opposition were optimistic though and fortunately the sun made an appearance to clear the pitch just delaying the start time by 30mins. Newark enjoyed some early possession but it was Boots who scored first making the most of a counter attack. Sophie Chambers soon brought Newark level from a penalty corner routine, a well executed deflection after first injecting the ball to Shanade Bradley. Mel Woods had a chance to put Newark ahead just before half time in a 1v1 with the Boots keeper but was quickly closed down and brought to a rapid stop by the floor. Newark continued to press and Player of the match Susan Tate made use of the space on the wings sending balls to Amber Smith and Vicky McMunn. As the game went on the teams were getting more stretched and possession was switching sides all too often. A missed tackle in the Newark D set up an opportunity for Boots who grabbed it and went ahead to make it 2-1. Disappointed to fall behind again, Newark fought to get something back but were kept out each time by Boots' defence. Boots sealed the 3 points with their 3rd and final goal in the last few minutes.
Newark will fight again, same time same place against the Boots 4s this Saturday (weather permitting!).
Final Score 3-1 Scorers: Sophie Chambers Player: Susan Tate
SOUTH NOTTS 1st XI 1 – 8 Newark 1st XI
Saturday’s fixture saw Newark, in top spot, take on local rivals South Notts who are rooted firmly at the bottom. A walk over you may think, but in recent weeks South had “upped their game”. Newark started with a firm game plan…..keeping the ball, which paid off on just 4 minutes. An inspirational piece of quick thinking by Sam Smith, took the home defence by surprise & Ryan Foster sweetly finished the move.
In recent weeks Newark couldn’t execute a penalty corner if their life depended upon it, but this week on 5 minutes, their first of the game was awarded & Scott Robinson sent an unstoppable drag flick into the top right of the goal. Newark thought they had scored 2 out of 2 penalty corners on 12 minutes as Jack McMunn’s deflected effort flew into the roof, only to be ruled out by the umpire.
Newark were on fire as they totally dominated play, the hosts unable to get the ball over the half way line let alone near James Wakeland in the Newark goal. The visitors perseverance paid off on 18 minutes which seemed to open the flood gates. Captain Alex Davies turned provider as he burst through on the right & a pin point pass into the “d” enabled Sam Smith to deflect the ball past the rooted Notts keeper. Just 2 minutes later it was groundhog day as once again Davies provided Sam Smith with a cross to complete his brace. Just 45 seconds later Davies showed why he is top scorer, as pace & skill took him past 4 defenders & the resulting strike flew into the roof of the goal to make it 5 – 0.
We then had to wait 11 minutes for the next goal. This time a moment of inspiration from Tom Smith as he stole the ball on the edge of the Notts “d” & with a pin point pass to Davies on the penalty spot, Newark’s leading scorer was not going to squander that opportunity & the visitors finished the half 6 to the good.
The second half was a completely different story, the hosts received the “hairdryer treatment” at half time & came out fighting. Their passing at times was exquisite & brought out Newark’s best defending qualities. For much of the game Brown, Reynolds, Colcombe, McMunn & Mepham were inspirational from an attacking point of view, but now they were having to defend with depth, showing just why we have the best defensive record in the league. Unlike the first half it took the visitors 20 minutes in the second to add to their lead. Unbelievably a penalty corner, the rebound pounced upon by Davies & ruthlessly dispatched. Five minutes from the end South Notts deservedly appeared on the score sheet after a period of short sharp passing down the Newark left, but at 7 – 1 its really just a consolation. With virtually the last touch of the game Alex Davies stepped up to fire in Newark’s 8th goal & his 4th of the day. So with just 5 weeks remaining it looks like the title challenge is a 2 horse race. Newark are top by 3 points, but have a 13 point lead over third. In 2 weeks Newark have a mouth watering tie away against 2nd place team Leicester Panthers, which could be winner takes all.
Newark v Northampton Sat 4th Feb. Newark welcomed Northampton who were one place above them in the league knowing that a win against them could help avoid relegation this season. Newark started strongly and soon Simon Higgs had put them two goals ahead after good work from Tim McManus and then Tom Broome. However this saw Northampton raise their game and soon they were back level at two all after a couple of quick goals. This was the end of the half with both teams still hoping for the win.
Northampton started the stronger in the 2nd half and took the lead but this didn’t stop Newark’s attacking intent with Tom Broome firing in a goal from the top of the D. Again this spurred on Northampton to retake the lead again only to see James Beedham fire Newark’s 2nd equaliser with a reverse stick shot from the top of the D. With time left on the clock both teams had time to go for the winner and with time running out it looked like no one was going to win but for a late award of a penalty corner to Newark, from which a well struck shot from Steve Littlewood took a deflection of an unfortunate Northampton defender whih took it pass the stranded keeper. So the game finished 5-4 to Newark in a nine goal thriller and saw Newark jump above Northampton in the league table for now. Goal Scorers:- Simon Higgs (2), Tom Broome, Jams Beedham, Steve Littlewood
Men’s 2s v Warwick Uni – Sunday 5th Feb Newark travelled to Warwick Uni on Sunday for a fixture brought forward from the end of the season to avoid their end of term. Newark travelled with a mixture of players from various teams and knew it would be a difficult game against the league leaders. Warwick Uni were soon on the offensive keeping Newark under pressure constantly but hard work from the defence and midfield kept any clear cut chances down to a minimum and then the forward of Tim McManus and Jams Beedham trying to catch the students on the counter attack. As the first half progressed the students got more frustrated as Newark held firm until Simon Higgs stopped a goal bound shot on the line with his foot so a penalty flick was awarded. However as like last week the opposition couldn’t take advantage with the flick hitting the post. So it was 0-0 at half time. Newark knew expect the same in the second half and was up for the challenge of keeping to student goalless however this was not to be the case. After many short corners Warwick Uni finally found the goal they were looking for after the initial shot was saved by James Wakeland in goal Warwick Uni were the first to the rebound and beat Ciaran Louge block on the line. However Newark held out for the rest of the game to record a respectable 1-0 to top of the table. M.O.M:- James Wakeland