This weekend Rochdale Ladies Hockey were away at Moss Park playing their 2nds, thankfully the predicted rain didn’t show on a relatively warm Sunday morning.

Rochdale were able to field a strong team with multiple subs even with regular keeper Sam Partington out as she was running a marathon. Keeper; Kate Brammer. Defence; Dionne Collinson, Kieran Leech, Nikki Mongan & Gill Owen with sub Hannah Palmer. Midfield; Paula McDonald, Becki Moon, Becca Newton & Sarah Ransome with subs Gemma Hodcroft & Roisin Pickering. Forwards; Katie Burrell & Becky Knowles with sub Jenny Banks.

After last week’s defeat Rochdale were raring to prove what they were made of and get back onto the form they finished last season on. They started strong, using quick passes and marking out the opposition to drive the play into their attacking end. Each time Moss Park intercepted or tackled to gain possession Rochdale turned with determination to win back the ball they’d just lost.

Knowles took a side ball and belted it into the D where Burrell was waiting, she received it and did a nice, quick roll-out to get around a defender for a shot on goal. Unfortunately it cut just outside the post. Not long after another side ball from Leech found it’s way to Ransome, who quickly passed it back now Leech had nipped around the Moss Park players in her way. Leech now had a clear shot to the D where Moon picked it up and crossed it to Newton who took a shot on goal only to be denied by the Moss Park goalie.

Moss Park got themselves a short corner which Rochdale excellently defended by Collinson, Owen, Mongan and Leech before Leech was able to find room to clear it from their D. Hodcroft showed the benefits of a fresh set of legs as she instantly made an impact when she was subbed onto the field. Hurtling up the pitch around the Moss Park defence into their D and took a quick shot on goal that was just saved.

After some excellent work by defence and midfield the ball found its way to Pickering, who flew up the right wing and crossed the ball to where Banks was waiting on the far post, who teased the Moss Park defence before tapping it over the line and into the goal.

At half-time Rochdale’s spirits were lifted with their performance compared to what happened the previous week. Reiterating the need to use quick passes and to meet the ball they went into the second half optimistic because they were playing well.

The second half started with strong play from both teams, with Moss Park switching play around their wings and Rochdale closing down their play. However, Rochdale were flagging and Moss Park were able to intercept more passes from them and drive play back into Rochdale’s defence but Rochdale were ready for them and denied them a goal. Both teams well matched and play bounced up and down the pitch as both teams drove for the attack but with neither managing to get through the other’s defence. Both goalies making some excellent saves.

Soon Moss Park were able to break through Rochdale’s midfield with a group of attackers running for goal, and despite some valiant efforts from Rochdale’s defence they were outmanoeuvred for Moss Park to equalise.

Rochdale weren’t out yet and after some good work from the midfield to weave and pass between the Moss Park players Banks received the ball in the D, her shot on goal was saved but Ransome was there to claim the rebound. Unfortunately the Moss Park closed down her efforts to pass it off to Hodcroft at the top of the D and they were unable to make another attempt on goal.

Moss Park took the opportunity of a short corner to nudge into the lead with another goal. Though the Rochdale defence didn’t allow them to repeat that in the next short corners. 

Unfortunately by now Rochdale were starting to tire and Moss Park were happy to take advantage by intercepting much of their play. However, despite that Rochdale were still pushing back and kept managing to drive play into Moss Park’s defence. However, Moss Park were able to find another break and a final goal.

Final score was 3-1 to Moss Park, with goal scorer Jenny Banks.

Both player of the match and umpire’s player of the match was Gill Owen.

Captain Pickering said: “Despite the disappointing result we had a lot of positives from the match. Our playing has improved since our last match and a lot of players adapted well to new positions. We have a lot of positivity to work with to do even better next time.