Rampant Blues maul Coventry

Ali Jaffer 15 November 2007

The Women’s Blues staged a terrific display of Hockey as they maintained their 100% record in style against Coventry in the BUSA 1st Division Championships on Wednesday. A bitterly cold Wilberforce Road provided the venue for a fifth successive league victory which saw the Blues parade their title credentials against a poor Coventry outfit who were soundly and professionally annihilated.

From the off Cambridge looked threatening and as early as the second minute Jenny Stevens won a set piece which Tash Close managed to bundle home, and from that moment on the writing was on the wall for the visitors.

Minutes later another short corner was won and but for the flailing limbs of the Coventry goalkeeper it would have been two. As it happened, Cambridge didn’t have to wait much longer to double that advantage.

The Blues carved out opportunity after opportunity and the persistent pressure told. Stevens, who had been instrumental in the first goal, thrashed home the second herself and (sandwiched between a scrambled goal from Anna “chatnag” Stanley) created the fourth thanks to a combination of some very skilful dribbling and a miserably wild air shot from the Coventry centre back.

It was Stanley again who turned the ball home minutes later with an elegant reverse stick shot and Cambridge were flying after only twenty minutes.

Uncharacteristically Coventry broke forward down the right hand side and a momentary lapse in concentration at the back, allowed the Coventry forward to lose her marker and Cambridge to suffer an unfortunate solitary aberration on their otherwise clean sheet.

The goal boosted the visitors and despite the fervent instructions from James Waters, the coach, the Blues were guilty in surrendering possession which they could have converted into further goals.

It did not matter. When Coventry did have the ball they often resorted to pointless long balls forward which never really troubled Rosie Evans and company at the back.

However, defending was mainly Coventry’s remit. As time wore on Anna Stanley tried another audacious reverse stick effort only for it to sail wide before Izzie Blakey converted a cross from the right hand side on the stroke of the half to make it 5-1.

The deterioration in weather conditions (it got colder and wetter) would have been reflective of Coventry’s similarly rapidly deteriorating morale. Cambridge didn’t show much mercy and despite the score line competed in the second half with as much, if not more, gusto and enthusiasm.

Despairing dives from the goalkeeper and idle defending allowed Cambridge to make it seven and by the time Hanna Rickman stole in at the back post to scrape in an eighth goal off the bottom of her stick Cambridge were pulling out the party tricks.

The stylish flick passes and daring scoops down the line left the Coventry team praying on the final whistle. The goalkeeper whose heroics prevented Cambridge from extending their lead into double figures well before the end, was the only saving grace.

Dominant in possession, Cambridge forced a series of short corners which should really have translated into more goals. Eventually, with seven minutes left, the Blues did make a short corner count; with an exquisite move straight from the training ground Alex Workman scored the ninth, and the signs were ominous.

It was Anna Stanley once more, arguably the best player on the park, who completed the rout late on and when a Coventry player tripped over the ball during a rare foray forward in the dying moments, you could tell they had had a wretched day in the East of England.

Ali Jaffer