Jackie Parsons (2), Jane English
Despite losing four players late in the week, the Ashford Ladies veterans (AA’s) were still able to field a fairly strong side for the annual Christmas challenge match against Sunbury Stars Of The Past.
In very mild and pleasant conditions, and in front of a fairly large crowd, the AA’s started off very strongly and dominated much of the play in the first quarter of the game. South African super star JACKIE PARSONS was making her Antiques debut and was dominating play up front with her silky stick work and powerful yet controlled shooting. Sunbury were finding it very hard to cope with Jackie and the flowing hockey being played by a dominant AA’s midfield, and almost inevitably JACKIE PARSONS opened the scoring with a very accurate short corner strike and then a controlled lifted shot to put the AA’s 2-0 ahead. Sunbury slowly got more into the game, but the ever green AA’s sweeper DOREEN BROWN was controlling matters well at the back and they were unable to mount any serious attacks on the Ashford goal. However, one or two Sunbury players were starting to show some fine individual skills and not long before half time, and in one of their rare attacks, a basic AA’s defensive error allowed FIONA PARK to push the ball in from close range to make the score 2-1. The AA’s then dominated the rest of the half, but failed to add to their goal tally.
The second half again saw the AA’s on top and a good combination involving LYNNE MORGAN and CLAIR BRANT, enabled JANE ENGLISH to put the ball in the back of the net from close in to make the score 3-1. Despite the AA’s dominance, Sunbury rallied and scored a good goal midway through the second half to make the score 3-2. Ashford again got on top of the game and created numerous chances and were unlucky to see several strikes go just wide. Unfortunately another defensive lapse saw Sunbury score a surprise equaliser from the resulting breakaway. The AA’s fought back though and in the dying minutes of the game two of the Red & Black forwards got the ball round the Sunbury keeper only for it to stop dead on the goal line and confusion between the Ashford players meant neither struck it home and allowed the simplest of chances to be cleared off the goal line. Thus the friendly game played in an excellent Christmas spirit resulted in a draw and the trophy will now be shared by clubs until Christmas 2008.
A.Boxell, D.Brown, J.Trew, A.Saunders, V.Baldwin, L.Mitchell, L.Burne, J.English, J.Parsons, C.Brant, L.Morgan (Captain), S.Kendall, C.Davies