This week the ladies thirds travelled to play Saintfield seconds on one of the few remaining gravel surfaces in use today and for many this brought back old memories. North Down wanted to get a good warm up to adapt to the surface and with girls arriving late due to school hockey almost had to start with 10 players.
North Down found it difficult to adjust to the new surroundings of the gravel pitch and made silly mistakes. Centre back Maxine Taylor kept the back line in shape and played great balls out to the girls on the wing. North Down had a couple of opportunities in the first half to try and score but the Saintfield defence proved to be very strong. Saintfield’s first goal came 10 minutes into the first half as they used the bumpy pitch to their advantage and put a shot past goalkeeper Linda Marshall. Five minutes later Saintfield got their second goal after beating the North Down defenders to the goal line. North Down knew that they could play much better and went into half time 2-0 down.
After a half time talk from Jo Irwin North Down knew that they weren’t playing their game of hockey and it was time to start bringing in the short one two passes instead of the hit and hope approach taken by Saintfield. This proved to be very successful as the whole team produced a better performance. North Down spent most of this half in the Saintfield defending quarter and had plenty of chances to get on the scoreboard but this wasn’t successful. Throughout the second half North Down had finally got to grips with the gravel pitch and great one two passes were played both down the right and left hand side of the pitch from Anna Dunlop and Ruth Steenson. North Down fought until the very end to try and get a goal past Saintfield but their defence was too strong. Many thanks to Jo Irwin for umpiring!
Player of the Match: Emma Gowdy