The trip to Gravesend was eventful despite the short distance. Gillingham Anchorians Laides 1st XI had several options for the special vote as well as a game of “how many Anchorians can you fit in a Mini?” and “how many boyfriend mechanics does it take to fix a Fiesta?” before they had even arrived to play Gravesend Ladies 1s.
When they all finally got onto the pitch, Anchorians’ warm up was their best of the season. With a positive attitude fizzling through the side, Anchorians pushed their opponents from the off and earned themselves a short corner within the first five minutes. Heidi Hadfield won another short corner from the first and Anchs lined up again, after the initial strike, the ball fell to Captain Laura Hopkins who took it around an oncoming player and slotted into the back of goal. Anchorians were spurred and pushed on straight from the restart. Noelia Lopez and Devia Bijkerk drove the ball up the wings and Rachel Rawson and Tina Hamer worked to win space and chances upfront.
Their efforts were well rewarded as another short corner was quickly earned and after a mis-worked routine, the ball once again fell to Hopkins who swept it through the keepers legs and onto the backboard. For the first time in the season, the Women in White were leading their opponents. It is possible that this surprise hit them hard. Or possibly the opposition woke up after their initial shock. Maybe a combination of the two. For whatever reason, Anchs began to drop off and found themselves leading by only one goal at half time after a considerable period of pressure from the hosts.
The second half was equally baffling given the start Anchorians had enjoyed. Sharon Goodall, Emma Harris, Emma Strangleman and Emma Gurdler were constantly hounded in the back-line and keeper, Sonia Houlker had to make several crucial saves. Gravesend continued to pile on the pressure and Anchorians were soon 3-2 down and facing a mountain of a comeback if they could make it. The umpiring was as inconsistent as the hockey with Sarah Watkinson given a green card for her tackling despite not being given any prior warnings or having committed any particularly bad tackles. The final nail was hammered into the coffin when the ball pin-balled around the area, Houlker managed to go to ground and knock the ball on a Gravesend foot in possibly the most blatant foul of the game. The player who had just committed a foul took the ball and lifted it over Houlker’s body and into the goal. Anchorians players looked on in shock as the umpire awarded the goal and despite hopkins asking for a consultation with the other umpire, the goal stood and Anchs finished the game two goals down and with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Player of the match was shared between Heidi Hadfield and Sonia Houlker and special was shared between Sarah Watkinson (for her perplexing green card) and Laura Hopkins (for a mis-spelling in the team sheet, falling over nothing on the pitch and just generally having a bad day!).
- Gravesend 1s – 4
- Gillingham Anchorians 1st XI – 2