We travelled the short distance to Harpenden last Saturday to face off against St. George’s.
The Haileybury 1st XII knew they had a fight on their hands because of the result of the last time these teams played. At the county tournament, St George’s had underestimated our squad in the first crucial moments of that game and our side didn’t let up the pressure, costing them the 1st place seed in our pool. St George’s rates as one of the top schools in our county so this was quite a bitter pill for them.
This must have been fresh in their minds at the opening whistle because they scored in the first minute. Sophie Baird retaliated for our side with her now trademark outside shot. St. George’s, though, had come to win as the half-time score was 4-3 to them despite solid deliveries by Lauren Smith, and Kara Stone in her first start for the team.
Haileybury was not to be denied though. The team dug in and really showed the opposition what it meant to ‘want it to win it’. Emily Bowden-Eyre cleaned up the defensive turnovers and the midfield steadily fed the attack. Sophie made short work of her older mark and hammered in another 3 goals to make the final score a 9-5 win for the home team.
The 2nd team was in equally high spirits on the bus home but they took an altogether different route. A total of five of the regular starters for the squad had to be replaced on Thursday, causing a severe disruption to the flow of this team’s game. There was a terrific response from the 3rd XII as many volunteered to attend an extra Friday practice to help smooth out the gaps. Alison Liu, Ayako Yoshida, and Rachel Robin all stepped up to meet the rather daunting challenge of filling key midfield positions. The first 20 minutes of the game, though, foiled our best intentions, giving the St George’s team a 1-12 lead. Despite the dismaying frequency of opposition goals (the final score being 2-22), each player still fought for every ball and laughed at every feeble but brave joke by goalie Sarah Peter-Harrison.
Clearly, there is work to be done and time to do it in.