HENLEY Ladies 1sts travelled to Paddington Recreation Ground on Saturday to face Hampstead and Westminster 2nds
HENLEY Ladies 1sts travelled to Paddington Recreation Ground on Saturday to face Hampstead and Westminster 2nds who narrowly missed out on promotion last season.
The amber and blues started the game well, matching the high pace set by the hosts. The high work rate was rewarded with a number of penalty corners which without key corner specialists Green, Walker and Hoskins, Henley were unable to convert.
The unseasonably high temperature caused Henley to tire and they conceded a penalty corner which Hampstead were able to take advantage of to put them ahead.
Another burst of speed from a Hampstead forward forced defender Ackland to make a crucial goal-saving tackle, for which the umpire awarded a penalty flick. Strong leadership from vice-captain England persuaded the umpire to downgrade the offence to a penalty corner which Henley defended well.
Henley finished the first half with good movement up the pitch, forward Hedges playing the ball effortlessly to Cockerton who faced a one-on-one with the Hampstead goalkeeper, who took the fast paced forward instead of the ball. Once again Henley were unable to take advantage of the resulting penalty corner and went into half-time a goal down. In the second half the fit Hampstead side adopted an aggressive press and Henley struggled to find outlets going forward. Attacking runs from wingback and player-of-the-match Barham provided some attacking options which Henley were unable to convert. Henley tired further and despite good defending from goal keeper Lavis and Walker, Hampstead scored their second from a well executed attack.