The first game of the season for the ever eager Golden Eagles saw us traveling to Basingstoke in dribs and drabs, miraculously all arriving in time for push-back. Captain Caroline "I have my subbing plan in my head" Baggs organised the team with her usual mix of composure and calculation. However, Basingstoke, who someone mentioned 'might be quite good', started in a higher gear than us and for the first 15 minutes their smooth passing and knowledge of where their team-mates would be gave them the advantage and an early goal.
Goalkeeper Evelyn "this is the biggest pitch I've ever seen" Hargraves was kept busy, vocally leading the defence, but Basingstoke added another goal soon after. Further slick moves by Basingstoke finished in a tussle on the goal-line with the umpire awarding Basingstoke a p-flick until Phil "I never tell a lie" Williams replied 'no' to the specific question 'did the ball hit your foot', and the decision was reversed. This gave confidence to Susan "have you ever been to Worminghall?" MacErlain at right back, newbie Nikki "I played with you at Pressed Steel" Duxbury on the left, and with Caroline subbing into the defence, the Eagles began to put some moves together.
Up to half-time the Eagles continued to settle. Bernie "a family outing to Basingstoke" Landels who is new to the club (hemisphere) connected well with Vicky "8 pints of lager are key to my pre-match nutrition" Easton in the middle, while Nadine "I went for a 10-mile run this morning" Hunter and Emma "eight out of ten for that pirouette" Forrester provided pace and movement on the left and right.
Our forwards rotated during the game to ensure their electrifying pace was maintained, and in particular Sarah "the first half was my warm-up" Dawson and Rebecca "0-60mph in 10 seconds" Black made fantastic darting runs cutting through the Basingstoke defence. Marianne "fifty years of hockey and still running" Bint sent in some hefty crosses from the right wing, and Wendy "I think we look really good in these white shirts" Rawlings harried Basingstoke's defence across the whole forward line. We had several chances and lots of half chances, which on another day might have been converted - all very promising for the future.
Basingstoke managed just one more goal in the second half, and another chance from point-blank range which Evelyn's mere presence made their player hit wide, and Evelyn then had to jog the half-mile to retrieve the ball, and so we ended what could have been a rout with a fairly respectable 3-0 score-line, knowing we'll be stronger and better next time.