Youth given the chance to shine in Matlock Baileans friendly

Not all friendly matches are friendly but with Matlock 5ths playing Amber Valley Bees the team knew that they were in for an enjoyable time.

The match offered an excellent opportunity to try established players in new positions, give some juniors their first taste of ladies league hockey and to get some of the Get Back Into Hockey ladies into a game.

The pitch in Ripley obliged by defrosting just in time and everyone was keen to get started in order to warm up.

It was good to see that possession of the ball was evenly balanced between the two teams and that the full length and width of the pitch was in use.

Liz, the goalkeeper and Sarah English as sweeper, kept the Matlock defence under control. The experienced Jenny Sunderland repelled attacks on the right whilst two junior players, Izzy Copestake and Fleur Rhodes kept the centre and left defence clear.

The midfield had to work very hard to keep up with some of the faster Amber Valley players. Sophie Grattidge did an excellent job running the midfield and helped the new juniors either side of her, Evie Donnelly to her right and Elice Charlton to her left. Val Playdon boosted the strength of the midfield.

Rae Hunt enjoyed a rare outing on the forward line and made good use of her time harassing the Amber Valley defences. Rae was ably assisted in her task by Helen Greer, Lauren Craven and debutante Caroline Rhodes.

Amber Valley probably had the best of the scoring opportunities but despite some frantic skirmishes in the Matlock D the goalkeeper and defenders ensured that they didn’t score.

The match ended a very amicable draw at 0-0. It was really good to see how well Matlock 5th played. They weren’t fazed by changes of position or the introduction of new team members. Player of the match: Sarah English.