England Hockey League Premier Division
Olton Ladies 1st XI 3 Canterbury Ladies 1st XI 1
It’s not often that a game lives up to the pre-match expectations as well as this one did.
Canterbury started with the ball, and for the first 10 minutes barely gave Olton a touch; playing some lovely slick hockey at a breathtaking pace.
This pressure inevitably told and a lightning attack down their right wing got Canterbury behind the Olton defence to cross into the circle where Jenny Hall latched onto the ball in front of goal and converted to give the visitors the lead.
Another five minutes of pressure saw some resolute and last-ditch defending by the Olton ladies until there was a perceptible switch in attitude by the home team, who upped their tempo to match Canterbury.
For the rest of the first half Olton had the better of the possession and were unlucky not to get on the scoreboard.
The second-half started at the same frenetic pace as before, but this time it was evenly matched and end-to-end.
On 49 minutes Olton finally got the breakthrough they deserved after winning a short corner.
Two attempts at goal were thwarted only to see the ball drop out to the edge of the circle where Naomi James pounced and swept the ball into the net to the cheers of the home supporters.
Six minutes later Olton took the lead after some superb inter-play ended with Lucilla Parkes converting past the helpless keeper.
The last ten minutes was a tense affair with both teams having chances and Canterbury winning two short-corners with only one minute left to play – defended fiercely by Olton to keep them out and take all three points.
Despite having been under the cosh in the first half Olton came out deserved winners thanks to a talented, spirited performance and a display of tenacity that every Olton player can be proud of.
Olton & West Warwick 3
Olton faced local rivals Khalsa for the third fixture in the BodyKraft Midlands Premier Division looking to extend their unbeaten run to three games and maintain top position in the league.
The home side started the game well, dominating from the start. The midfield trio of Johnson, Thompson and Wilson were looking to control the game and stop Khalsa from playing the flowing hockey that enabled a third place finish last season.
Jack Mallett in particular looked lethal down the left wing early on.
Olton took the lead through Simon Thompson from close range after some neat interchanges in the ‘D’ with Johnson.
Unfortunately Khalsa levelled the scores five minutes later through Aaron Nagra from a short corner.
On equalising, the visiting side were happy to sit back and allowed Olton to break quickly and directly. Olton then went on to have a number of short corners and eventually converted through a Thomas Pickersgill drag flick.
Olton went into the break with a 2:1 advantage and despite missing a number of opportunities, were content with the lead.
In the second half, Olton re-emerged as the dominant force placing pressure down the right wing through Richard Allen and Tom Clift.
The lead was eventually extended with 15 minutes to go through Clift who made space on the right to convert past the Khalsa goalkeeper. Olton managed to retain possession for the last 15 minutes and kept Khalsa at bay leaving the score 3:1.
Olton will be looking to move three points clear at the top this Saturday when they visit Edgbaston at Birmingham University