Henley Ladies 3 North Notts 2
Henley Ladies approached Sunday’s trophy semi final against North Notts with a mixture of trepidation and excitement knowing that to get to the Final of a national competition would be the defining moment of their season. In bitterly cold conditions Henley took to the pitch amidst rumours that their opposition had bussed down an army of supporters to try and heap pressure on the home side. As it was it was Henley who had the largest support and the team were buoyed by the atmosphere and soon put the opposition under pressure. Tough tackling and fine cover play from the defence, energetic movement and passing from the midfield, and lovely baseline running from the forwards meant that Henley dominated the first part of the match.
Ten minutes in a fine piece of interplay with Georgie Metcalf allowed Cleo Lyn to drive into the D and win Henley’s first short corner of the match. Captain Rachel Herbert struck the shot sweetly and the despairing defence could only touch it into the net. Just the start Henley were looking for! Spurred on by the goal and the noise from the crowd Henley upped the tempo and five minutes later an exquisite pass from midfielder Lou England put Jen Buckham through on goal. She took the ball round the outrushing keeper and put it in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
This seemed to shake the opposition into action and the last ten minutes of the half saw them start to build some pressure on the Henley defence, but the girls held firm and went into half time two goals to the good.
The second half saw North Notts pile on the pressure and it was only seven minutes in when they managed to score of a well won short corner. Luckily for Henley the goal was disallowed and in return Henley went straight up the other end to win a corner themselves. A left slip to Kat Green saw her play a beautifully disguised ball to the far post where Lou England was waiting to deflect it home. 3-0!
The game became a fairly fractious affair after that with a number of the opposition being spoken to for their behaviour. They managed to grab a first goal midway through the half and then with 7 minutes to go they grabbed another. Henley managed to keep their heads despite Kath Evans coming on the receiving end of some nasty off the ball hits, but the crowd went very silent when with the last play of the game North Notts were awarded a short corner. Luckily it came to nothing and as Jen Buckham cleared the ball from the D the umpire blew the final whistle and Henley celebrated. An amazing game and a well deserved victory. Henley now play at the finals weekend on the 27 April in Beeston.