St John's School, Leatherhead Girls 1st XI vs Epsom College
On: Saturday, 03 Dec 2016
Venue: at Home
This was the first time St John's have played Epsom for a number of years and served as a great chance to show how far hockey has come. John's were used to being trounced by their local rivals - but not anymore. The block fixture was won 9-3 and the 1st XI led the way with a convincing 2-0 victory. From the outset they outclassed their visitors and, although some out-of-character basic mistakes prevented them from playing their most incisive hockey, there was only ever going to be one winner. The surprise was that it took until the second half to score and that the margin of victory was not greater.
Epsom barely saw sight of Louisa Bray's goal as Mel Hyde swept up any slight danger as she has done all season and Maya Yien showed her customary class and composure in defence. When they played it into the Cornish and McCutcheon the game opened up for John's and Emily Roe was again the main threat on the left. But Epsom defended doggedly and John's corner routine was rusty and so it took an unlikely source to break the deadlock. Following a quickly-taken free-hit from Lucie Bishop, the ball crossed past the Epsom 'keeper where, for once, Anna Whitworth came steaming in to bury a rare goal. Whitworth has been outstanding on the left all year but she needs to add goals to her game so it was great to see her use her incredible engine to get ahead of the strikers and into the box.
Having scored one, it looked likely that John's would go on to score many more but a few missed traps and some excellent goalkeeping continued to deny them until Sophie Tait found space on the left. It looked like she might have lost the chance by not passing but who's to question the club's top-scorer as she nonchalantly buried a back-hand strike into the far corner? 21 goals and counting for Sophie this term in what has been a remarkable season.
John's continued to press for the rest of the game but a number of failed corner attempts and one miraculous scrambling save to foil Sanne Senior meant the score remained at 2-0. It could have been more but from where we were five years ago, who's to complain?