Saturday 12th was a momentous day for Bournemouth Hockey Club, as we were honoured to host an invitational game against the England Masters Over 45 ladies.
With two of BHC members selected for the England Masters squad, Pip Woods and Helen Parr-Phillips, we were delighted to welcome the whole squad for a competitive game at Chapel Gate, as part of the International team’s warm up to the Home Nations tournament in Swansea (7-10 June).
The England team had had a winning warm-up run before they arrived at Chapel Gate, having convincingly beaten Guildford Ladies and the Over 40s North team. However, that didn’t deter our ladies from approaching the match with a winning mindset.
The BHC ladies team was an invitational line-up comprising present and past BHC ladies players plus some Trojans guests.
BHC Invitational Squad – Pictured: Emma K, Haz P, Karen R, Leanne H, Lucy S, Wendy R, Nat H, Mel, Hayley, Clare H, Cass C, Sam, Liz M, Lenny M, Zoe W, Flo L, India S
The England ladies had an extended warm-up, heading out to the pitch 2 hours before pushback. It was an opportunity to see the team in action close-up and for me to listen to some tactical team talk. Unfortunately, due to a shoulder injury 2 months ago Pip Woods was unable to play the match, but she wasn’t going to miss out on the team camaraderie and training opportunity.
So as not to peak too soon, our ladies followed their usual routine and following a team talk from coach Clare Hicks, headed out to the pitch around 12:15.
The game was played in four quarters.
BHC kicked off the scoring with a superb goal from Lenny, assisted by Lucy Shepps, within the first 15 minutes. Whilst both teams had chances either end, with some rather comical short corner routines from both teams (who knew our defensive back four were so quick at running! 3 in quick succession got sent back to the half-way line on one PC), Bournemouth remained 1-0 up at half time.
A more focused short corner routine from England saw them even the scoring at 1-1 in the 3rd quarter, and a stroke just before the end of the same quarter saw them take the lead 2-1.
Whilst all players seemed to start tiring after what was a gruelling game, BHC Ladies still carried the determination to go for a win. To the delight of the crowd the BHC Ladies team scored an equaliser in the last quarter by Lucy Shepps. When the final whistle blew it was an elated draw on both sides.
To entertain the crowd (as if they needed more) 12 players from each squad stepped up for some end of match penalty shuttles. The England ladies showed their experience by scoring the majority of their shuttles, whilst it was the first time many of the BHC Ladies had participated in what has now become a regular fixture of our England/GB ladies competitions.
Favourite shuttle of the day went to Helen Parr-Phillips who cheekily popped one over the keeper’s head as Trojans keeper Mel ventured to the top of the D.
Overall it was a brilliantly entertaining day and thoroughly enjoyed by all who participated on and off the pitch. Big thank you to the England ladies for coming to our club, and for all the BHC and Trojans players who gave them a good run for their money!
Good luck in the internationals Team England, and especially Pip and Helen!!