On Saturday we played Bristol Thunder and lost. The final score was 10-19 but that's not really the full story. We are absolutely right to count this as a victory, even though it wasn't!
To put things in context Thunder regularly score 20+ goals in a game, are strong favourites to win the Western Regional League this season, and have only lost one game this season across several leagues. Also when we last played them we were beaten by a margin of 25 goals. They are a high-scoring and difficult team to play, and I think it's fair to say we were expecting to be badly beaten. However Frank had given us new tactics on Thursday and as usual we were all there ready to play our best.
As it happened we played better than our best. The first third of the match was like a whirlwind. We claimed the first goal and, although Thunder repeatedly drew level, we kept creating more chances and sinking more goal. It was 6-5 at 20 minutes in. What a difference a training session makes! Our fast-paced attack wasn't perfect but it was working. Becca was doing an amazing job with Thunder's Ruth, a Welsh international, and stayed focused.
At half time we were losing 9-6 but still elated about how well we had started this match -- perhaps even shocked -- and determined to keep working as hard as possible.
Second half and our whirling dervish attack was taking its toil. Some passes went astray, the patience to wait for the right shot was not always used and there were points where if we had communicated better Thunder would not have scored. It was my turn to roll my ankle and I strongly felt the error in not having a girl sub. Meanwhile, the tall boys Thunder had brought with them made multi-shot attacks very difficult to come by.
But we kept working and getting goals but not quite as quickly as the opponents. Dan made all of his penalties count and Gaz 'n' Dave (Ewing) formed the scoring duo from the first half. Our Ruth had some lovely shots but gravity was not on her side on this occasion!
By the end of the game you could have told me any scoreline and I would have believed it. Everybody played with everything they had and it was great to be a part of. Things might not have been perfect but we were pulling together, chasing down any loose ball and with a little more practice even beating the top team in our region doesn't seem out of the question.
Thanks to Frank as always - we always play better when you are there to straighten us out. Thanks to Nicola for fitting in beautifully on his City debut, and Theo for the injection of pace in the second half.
Scorers: Alice (3), Dan (3), Dave (2), Gaz, Jo
MVP: Very tricky decision. We all raised our game and played furiously -- so we all deserve special mentions! And it was very tempting to give player of the match to Frank for supreme coaching. In the end Alice with a penalty-free hat trick and playing flawlessly in defence is my player of the match.
- Match report by Jo