West Clubs Women’s Hockey League
Sedgemoor Division 1
Chard 1st XI 4, Taunton Vale 3rd XI 3
CHARD Ladies came from behind to beat top of the league Taunton Vale 3’s in a seven-goal thriller at Holyrood School on Saturday.
Chard went in with nothing to lose against promotion-chasing Vale, and both teams started well, with early opportunities at either end.
Despite firm defending from centre-backs Katy Jones and Emma Cridland, it was Vale who broke the deadlock.
Chard, though, immediately responded with Rachel Ireland-Jones tearing through the centre of midfield and finding Ruth Butcher, who fired the ball into the bottom corner.
The remainder of the first half was even, with Vale dominating towards the latter stages and forcing short corners, but Chard goalkeeper Hannah McGown made some excellent saves and it remained 1-1 at half time.
Following a motivational half-time talk from coach James Spurdle and captain Hannah McGown, Chard started the second half determined and motivated to cause an upset.
The hosts continued to put pressure on Vale, with Kate Philips holding the ball on the left-hand side and Lyndsay Blackshaw pushing down the middle.
But again Vale went ahead, with a strike from the edge of the D.
Chard responded immediately once more, with Ireland-Jones taking the ball from the push-back and beating several players, finally crossing to Butcher, who turned the defender and slotted the ball into the goal.
Chard continued to battle hard, with defenders Min Taylor and Nat Slade putting in some solid tackles.
Vale, though, won a string of short corners, and it was from one of these that Vale scored to lead 3-2.
Vale continued their pressure on Chard and won further short corners, but Chard held out.
And Ireland-Jones was the catalyst for another equaliser, with some great skill in midfield and a through ball to Butcher, who completed her hat-trick.
REARGUARD: Chard ladies in defensive action against Taunton Vale 3rds.
Chard’s spirits were lifted, and they continued to push forward in search of an upset against the league leaders.
Substitutes Sasha Taylor and Abbi Wheaton worked tirelessly to create chances, and Chard’s fourth goal came when defender Lorraine Szczepanski spotted the pass to forward Butcher, who hammered the ball home for her fourth and to put Chard ahead for the first time in the game.
With only three minutes left, Chard’s players put in every effort to hold on for a second win in consecutive weeks.
The match ended with a 4-3 victory for Chard, who face Burnham-On-Sea at home next week, for another must-win game to avoid relegation.
Player of the match: Ruth Butcher.
Chard ladies 4,
Weymouth ladies 2
CHARD met Weymouth at home on a mild Sunday morning, and with Weymouth only having eight players, Chard loaned over Claire Gregory, Rachel Derham and Michelle Allen.
It ended up being a very even game, with end-to-end play from both teams.
Chard soon settled, with great passing through midfield and runs up the wings, and several shots on goal.
Weymouth’s goalie made many saves, but in the first half Chard scored two goals – one each from Ros Clemmans and Kerryn Mullis – and two more in the second half, with one each for them again.
Weymouth made a few breaks and netted twice, once in each half.
This was a great team effort from the Chard Sunday squad in a fast-paced game.