The ladies firsts opened up last weekend’s hockey action with a Friday evening home game in Comber against Team KV.
Having narrowly lost in the cup and league North Down were determined to get a good result. The home team started well creating a number of opportunities in the first fifteen minutes with Amy Kimber, Rachel Lucas, Lauren Brown and Selina Lewis all creating problems for the Team KV defence. North Down then dropped off the pace for ten minutes and KV showed they had dangerous forwards, although they did not create any clear cut opportunities thanks to good defending from Alex Boyd, Kathryn Sinclair, Rachel Mornin and Katie Moore.
North Down then returned to playing their best hockey as they moved the ball about and finished the first half on top, but without creating any clear cut opportunities.
The second half started with KV on top and they got their reward through a well executed reverse stick shot. North Down rose to the challenge and, continuing to play a positive brand of hockey orchestrated by Olivia Brown, they equalised five minutes later when Selina Lewis finished following a scramble in the circle.
North Down were now on top but KV continued to look dangerous on the break. From one of these breaks KV broke down the right and when the ball deflected off a North Down stick and went high into the circle the umpire made an ‘interesting’ call and awarded a short corner to KV. A decision that, if consistently applied by other umpires, will see many more short corners in every game. KV converted the short corner to take an undeserved 2-1 lead.
With 12 minutes left north Down dominated the rest of the game as they sought an equaliser performing to a high level but unable to find the finishing touch to their play.
It is unfortunate that the talking point after the game was the performance of the umpires, rather than the good game of hockey that had taken place. North Down performed well, moving the ball into space at every opportunity and should be proud of their performance.
PMB Player of the Match: Rachel Lucas