Abergavenny Ladies - 3

Aberystwyth Ladie - 2

WITH the sunshine bus decorated with balloons and banners in celebration of Nia Johns 16th Birthday the atmosphere was high and the Abergavenny ladies hockey team were geared up, heading for the west coast to face the unchallenged Aberystwyth ladies.

From the starting whistle Nia Johns and Lara Botting played as forwards, pushing high to attack the opposition circle. Charlie Haydock, Kirstie Cahsmore and Sian Phillips set up just behind in the midfield to pressurise the Aberystwyth players. This pressure resulted in a fine cross by Botting who powered the ball towards the centre circle with Johns who was positioned low to sweep the ball into the goal with only seven minutes of play on the clock.

Aberystwyth's 6-0 defeat to Whitchurch the previous week was by no means a reflection on the opposition play and Abergavnny Ladies could not afford to under estimate their opponents.

Aberystwyth made an attacking run down the right wing and into the blue and gold 'D'. Aberystwyth put the defensive line up of Bethan Cook, Rebecca Hoyle, Ellie Dickinson and Nicola Jones under pressure, leaving Sharon Phillips between the sticks to thwart any shots coming her way. Aberystwyth put the pressure on the blue and gold circle and the sharp-eyed umpire awarded Aberystwyth four short corners for foot fouls. Fortunately the strong defensive line-up meant Aberystwyth were unable to convert the short corners into goals.

Abergavenny were put under the cosh and Aberystwyth were turning over the balls and breaking through the midfielders. With substitutes coming on to maintain the intensity, Alyssa Morgan, Nicola Jones and Ellie Roberts created fresh play and stepped up the energy levels.

20 minutes into play, the Aberystwyth speedy no 28 drove the ball down the right hand side skinning the midfielders and putting a cross into the Abergavenny circle. This broke through the blue and gold back line to land the ball in the right hand side on the goal.

The half time whistle blew and the squad grouped together to talk tactics and play. After providing the much needed refreshments of oranges and chocolate, Andrea Carter kitted up to replace Phillips in goal, Phillips was re-located to the centre mid defence position.

The second half saw a much stronger play from Abergavenny. The midfielders were posting up to the ball, intercepting Aberystwyth's passes and opening the play up to right winger Sian Phillips who drove the ball down the line to the forwards. Nia Johns positioned direct on goal took a shot. The keeper kicked the ball back out, Johns connected well with the rebound and swept it to the goal again, this time through the keepers legs hitting the back board.

The Abergavenny celebrations were short lived as the Aberystwyth squad drove the ball down the left wing into the Abergavenny circle and into the goal. Making the score line 2-2.

With 10 minutes on the clock the pressure was on and both sides were hungry for a victory. Driving it into the circle the blue and gold were awarded a short corner for a foot foul. Cashmore pushed the ball in and it was received by Cook. Cooks big hit rebounded off the keeper and the ball was picked up by Cashmore who swept it into the bottom left hand side of the goal.

With less than 10 minutes on the clock Aberystwyth drove the ball down to the Abergavenny circle and with their speedy 28 putting the pressure on. Once again blue and gold reacted tactically by man marking the player blocking her from receiving the ball.

This proved to be a clever tactic by the Abergavenny side and as the final whistle blew; the blue and gold Ladies erupted with a cheer earning their first win of the season.