Ladies 3rd’s drew an icy battle, both on and off pitch
It was a “déjà vu” moment arriving at the arctic West Herts pitch in Watford.

Berko ladies 3rd’s are always ready for adventure and were more than happy to have a bash at ice-hockey.  Their bacon-butty-bellies, thanks to captain Chops hosting a pre-match breakfast, fuelled them for a much wanted game of hockey.  The desperate Jo, Chops, Sophie H and Annamarie started sweeping ice, decorating the pitch with beautiful art-on-ice.  Following close inspection by umpires, it was deemed safe to play.
The game against a very, very young West Herts team started at full pace.  Berko defence was tested early on and the messy start soon changed to solid tackling, well-structured and strong passes around the back towards midfield and our front-line.  It was harmony at the back and although West Herts were granted a couple of shorts and youngsters broke through on occasion, Kelly enjoyed a couple of kick-outs and only one dive to talk her injured back into action.  Berko’s experience was displayed in some skilful runs and distribution by Sophie L, Sophie H, Jo and Jenny who created excellent opportunities for Liz, Charlotte, Emily, Kate and Chops to shoot at goal.  However, the young West Herts goalie and defence line went beyond their call of duty (and some hockey rules) to keep all goals out.  The nippy Emily made some fantastic and fast runs down the wing line, not remotely intimidated by any pushing or elbowing.  Silver-bullet, (Jenny DaSilva) only accelerated her pace after being taken out, ensuring any attacker was kept under her control. 
Just as we thought the icy pitch, feisty pushing and shuffling, as well as the ever-moving goal posts were as much adventure we were going to get, an unfortunate West Herts player were rushed to hospital after tackling Lizzy from behind and getting a stick in the face.  Frustration levels increased both on and off the pitch and Captain Chops was threatened to be sent off should she not be able to control her spectators.  It was husband/coach vs dad/coach vs umpires that resulted in the game having to be stopped a couple of times.  There were times that we wondered if the umpires’ whistles actually worked.  It must be said, the passionate and top dog DW showed his frustration from the side, on behalf of both the teams.  For example, Kelly did NOT have to defend a penalty flick, that was NOT awarded to West Herts, as Sophie H did NOT stop it with her stick…enough said! 
Both teams had to “let it go” with a 0-0 draw.  Chops had to get her own back with a sneaky, gracious shuffle in the last couple of minutes, as no one puts Emily in the corner!   It was a hard fought battle by both teams, right to the final whistle and the spirit and quality of play reflected in 8 of the team members receiving MOM votes.  However, on this occasion, most votes went to sweeper, Annamarie Wagner, closely followed by Charlotte Holland. 

Match Report by Annamarie Wagner