After weeks of training hard, a gruelling warmup match against Men’s and Ladies Hockey and a fantastic tactics presentation (talking about the one delivered by Calum, of course), the day had finally arrived: Mixed Hockey’s second ever Varsity fixture. The atmosphere was fantastic, and support from a majority of the club along with members of Men’s and Ladies Hockey helped everyone to get in the mood to take on the Poly. Unfortunately, however, the weather began to take a turn for the worse, and the captains were warned what would happen if the temperatures continued to drop when they were summoned for the coin toss.
Coventry started the game strongly, putting a lot of pressure on the back four, who managed to hold out for a long time, with some fantastic saves from Alistair, but it was not long before the inevitable happened. A Coventry forward picked up the ball at the top of the D and took a mighty strike, into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. 1-0 Coventry. We were not without chances in the first half; Cami played a number of fantastic balls up the right-hand side of the pitch, which were received by our strikers, Charlie and Ella, who continuously fired shots into the opposition D, testing the goalkeeper and the Coventry defence. Just as we began to find our feet in the game, the half ended. Both captains were called in again to monitor the conditions of the pitch. Sure enough, down the Coventry end, a small icy patch was beginning to form, but both teams agreed that conditions were safe enough to continue. Coventry were eager to complete the full 50 minutes and claim an official victory, but the second half was a different story. A change in personnel upfront of Nick and El breathed new life into the team, and we overwhelmed the Coventry defence from the offset of the second half. With Calum clearing up in the midfield behind him, Nick confidently bolted forwards, eager to get the goal that would both level the game and put him one step closer to Mixed Hockey’s esteemed Golden Stick Award. Not long after, with some creative play from Holly and Luke in the midfield followed by a strong shot, Nick got what both he and Warwick Mixed deserved. Warwick 1-1 Coventry. Back on level terms, we began to play like a different team, clearing every ball that came our way and creating chance after chance after chance in our attack. Now completely dominating the game, Charlie earned a short corner and Ella prepared herself for the straight strike, but the umpires had other ideas. Deciding that the icy patch now present in front of the Coventry goal posed a serious danger to the players, the match was called off before the 50-minute mark, as a draw.
A fantastic performance in the second half from the entire team, completely turning the game around and filling us all with the confidence that we could go on to win the game meant everyone was eager for a rematch. Final score 1-1 POTM: Alistair
ATTEMPT 2; THE REMATCH:
Two weeks later, we took to the pitch again for the Varsity rematch. In contrast to the previous game, the freezing weather had fortunately passed. Coach Luke arrived and lead the squad in an intense warm-up. Raring to go and having won the coin-toss, everyone was called in and last-minute speeches were given.
First Half: The starting 11 took to the pitch, accompanied by fantastic Mixedy support, and the match began. Warwick Mixed began the game the way we finished the previous one; by creating numerous attacking opportunities and applying pressure to the Coventry defence. Charlie created multiple chances, even hitting the crossbar with a beautiful reverse stick shot (Goals: 0, Crossbar Challenges: 1). A few minutes later, we had another breakaway attack and earned a short corner. The ball was injected to Kat at the top of the D, who slipped it to Holly and a shot from Aaran eventually got us what we deserved. 1-0 Warwick. The match continued with Warwick dominating most of the attacking play and piling the pressure on Coventry. After what seemed like hundreds of chances for Warwick, it was hard to believe the game was still 1-0. This was until, confident in the team and trying to push for a second goal, the formation was switched up to create an attacking overload in midfield, leaving only three in defence. Unfortunately, this change didn’t have the desired effect, and the defence were more often overwhelmed than the attack able to get a shot on goal. Fortunately, we managed to hold on until half time and ended the half with on top, albeit with a narrow lead.
Second Half: We started the second half lethargically, and the cracks began to show. Playing as if we had the lead we deserved, instead of the lead we actually had, sloppy mistakes were made and possession was lost. Not long afterwards, Coventry capitalised on our mistakes, the Poly striker dribbling around our defence and taking a mighty strike from the top of the attacking circle, which seemed to be going astray, but a sneaky Coventry forward was waiting at the back post to score a deflection and level the playing field. Warwick 1-1 Cov.
Things started to pick up for us later in the half, with Charlie and Nick upfront both attempting to score the goal that would win them the race for Golden Stick, they continued to apply pressure and create numerous chances, but we never truly regained the confidence seen in the first half. There were some promising moments; Holly dribbled through three players every time she picked up the ball and, at one point, Pledge managed to do the same – with one Coventry player even falling over in what looked like a piece of skill but turned out to be a completely unrelated event. Ella was able to keep her head up and create attacking opportunities, despite a common deflated feeling among the team. Lily, on the other hand, decided to rely on brute strength rather than skill, attempting to take a Coventry player out of the game by smashing the ball into their hand from a short corner, earning Lily DOTD.
Later in the half, Coventry scored another goal, giving them the lead that we were, unfortunately, unable to recover from. The match ended 2-1 to Coventry.
A massive well done to all the players and thank you to everyone that came to watch. Especially well done to Ella who had a fantastic game from start to finish – one of the few players who stayed alert for both halves; she never ran out of steam and continued to create attacking opportunities even when everyone else’s heads had dropped – earning her POTM.