WHITBY ladies hockey team are potentially one win away from winning the league after a tough match against Stokesley this weekend ended honours even.
Stokesley, fielding a very strong attacking team, put constant pressure on Alex Bagnall and Jo Braithwaite in defence but they closed down tightly, linking up well with the midfield.
Most of the play was central with both teams desperately trying to win the ball seeing Beth Sanderson, Jess Purvis and Lisa Mussett under constant pressure to get the ball into Whitby’s circle and keep out the Stokesley attack.
There were some good breaks down the left wing with Emily Webster again on fine form with lots of space to use – eventually she found Jess Purvis who took the ball around the base line and scored a disputed goal – but the ref ruled it as in play at the time of the shot.
Stokesley responded very quickly with a great shot from the top of the circle.
The game was proving very tough with Whitby defence under constant attack. Nikki Gill drafted in from York proved her worth in defence and worked well with Beth Sanderson to clear the ball over the half line.
Nicola Kent and Beth Grason once again worked hard to penetrate the Stokesley defence and eventually Nicola Kent was rewarded with a very classic and smooth reverse flick making the score 2-0.
Whitby knew they could not let their defence fall and battled on – Karen Sanderson came on to replace Alex Bagnall but could not stop a superb shot off a corner from Stokesley which was hammered into the left hand side of the net.
The score was 2-2 at half-time.
The second half saw Whitby going into the sun and players tiring. Whitby lost some of their shape and sharpness and had to battle very hard against a very determined Stokesley team.
A well-worked piece from Emily Webster to Jess Purivs to Nicola Kent once again found Kent unmarked to slot another goal for Whitby to make it 3-2. Whitby knew they had to keep their spirits up and Kirsty Dixon was superb in goal, leading from the back and making some great saves.
A goalmouth shuffle saw Stokesley level. When the final whistle went, everybody agreed the score was a fair reflection of a very skilful and tough match.
Whitby have one game left to play when they will find out if they have once again won the League.
Player of the match: Alex Bagnall.
* Whitby ladies ill be recruiting in September for experienced ladies aged between 16 and 40 – contact Karen Sanderson for further information on (01947) 605271.
Whitby 3 Stokesley 3