Having had to have last-minute changes to the team due to illness – including losing the captain – the team were more than a little nervous.
The game started well with Okehampton dominating the play. Alice Kay, playing in a new position, helped to push the game forward and build the attack with excellent passing between Rachel Mercer and Freya Mindova-Sharp.
Okehampton were rewarded with a run of short corners which Clodagh Tanner and Rachel were unlucky not to convert. The defence were then kept busy but Nicola Bennie, Kay Peerless and Kim Bland kept attacks on goal at bay.
At half-time the score was still 0-0, leaving everything to play for.
Devonport then piled on the attack and managed to get around the Oke defence and score a goal.
Oke then upped the pressure and it was not long before Oke were awarded another short corner.
A strong injection from Izzie Thomas allowed Rachel to quickly pass to Hannah Whiteley who managed to find the back of the net.
Okehampton were raring to go and Rachael Luxton and Louise Weller worked tirelessly to keep possession. Maddie Davidson made so with fantastic runs up to wing and was unfortunate not to score. Izzy Watt, playing in a new position at the back, made a strong pass to Hannah who hit across to a waiting Clodagh at the top of the d who managed to score, making the score 2-1.
Devonport kept fighting and if it was not for some fantastic saves in the dying minutes from ‘keeper Laura Bazely, the end result may have been a different story.
Joint players of the match went to Hannah Whiteley and Laura Bazely.
Okehampton face Bodmin at home next week in their first league game of 2024.
Okehampton Ladies III
Okehampton travelled to Plymouth to play a match postponed from the start of December, writes Lois Rowlands.
After several weeks without a match Okehampton were keen to get back on the pitch and started as they meant to go on. Play was end-to-end, with Okey making several attacks towards Plymouth’s goal.
Iris and Eleanor seized any opportunity to disrupt Plym Uni’s play by swiftly intercepting passes made by the opposition. Viv Weatherington used her experience to make several well-timed passes forward towards the D but a goal was not forthcoming.
Plymouth managed to put the Okey defence under pressure and after a lot of swift passing around managed to deflect the ball off an Okehampton defender’s foot to score the first goal.
Okey were undeterred as they knew the way they had been playing meant they would have more chances at goal. Their chance came soon after when some excellent midfield play between Lindsey Tawse, Anne Camp and Debbie Pritchard resulted in the ball being received by Erin, who moved into the D and took a swift strike at goal to bring the scores level.
Play again continued from end to end. Okey defenders worked hard to shut down Plymouth’s runs towards the D, with Sarah Bazeley making several well-timed tackles.
Plymouth kept up the pressure and, eventually, one of their more skilful players made a break, weaved around the Okehampton defenders and slotted the ball into the goal to lead 2-1 at half-time.
Okehampton came back with renewed determination and dominated most of the second half. Anne Camp ran tirelessly along the left wing, moving seamlessly from defending to attacking.
Brilliant passing between Anne and Eleanor moved the ball up to the pitch to Erica Godsland, who was waiting up front to have her chance on goal. On the right of the pitch, Debbie Pritchard struck the ball up the wing to captain Alex Collins, who was quick to beat the Plymouth players to the ball.
Lindsey, Iris and Erin were quick to intercept passes made by Plymouth and pressure on Plymouth continued. Viv struck the ball into the D and Okehampton were awarded with a short corner – Iris received the ball and struck it into the goal.
Play continued to be dominated by Okehampton and Erin was able to score her second goal, which was almost a repeat performance of her first.
Plymouth retaliated and started to put the pressure on Oke defence.
However, goalkeeper Isobel dominated the area around the goal and shut down the Plymouth players as they tried to get the ball near the goal. Okehampton were able to get the ball back up the pitch but the skilful Plymouth player obtained possession and zig-zagged her way down the pitch and was able to score the equaliser for Plymouth Uni.
Next week Okehampton 3rds continue with a league match against Okehampton 4ths.
Okehampton Ladies IIII
Saturday’s cold, dry conditions were ideal for a fast-flowing game of hockey, writes Jane Jones.
Initially Dart had the majority of the possession and put pressure on the Oke defence but defenders Jennie Humphry and Naomi Oxborough organised the Oke players, leading to tight marking and decisive tackling.
Okey soon settled, clearing the ball out wide to wing-backs Emma Bisson, Katy Graves and player-of-the-match Abi Westlake. The home team’s midfielders had to work extremely hard as Dart had strong central players.
Liv Shakeshaft and Anne-Marie Meaker kept the pressure on the Dart players with Joey Drake using her pace and ball skills to intercept the ball and push forward.
The Okehampton forwards linked well with their midfielders, leading to Abi Drake and Izzy Horsley making several penetrating attacks down the wing. Despite determined attacking play from strikers Mel Pike and Laura Venton, Okey could not find the back of the Dart net so the game was scoreless at half-time.
The second half saw exciting end-to-end hockey with goal-scoring chances for both teams. Okey ‘keeper Rachael Luxton kept her team in the match with several crucial saves.
Oke conceded a goal in the final five minutes of the game when Dart hit a hard ball into the Oke D which was deflected high into the goal. Okehampton could not get an equaliser before the final whistle.
Next Saturday, Okey 4ths play Oke 3rds in the league at 3.30pm.