Northampton Saints 2 Bretforton Ladies Masters 5
BRETFORTON Ladies Masters surged into the last eight of the England Hockey Masters Shield with a convincing victory.
This is the first time the Pink Ladies have progressed into the quarter-finals of this national over 35s competition and it is rightly being celebrated as a tremendous achievement.
This looked like being a tough encounter for Bret, as Northampton have a dedicated veterans team within their club.
However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock in a hard fought first half when Sarah Hall latched on to a loose ball in the D and fired home.
Not to be outdone, Northampton then scored a cracker themselves, only for Julie Hall to restore Bret’s lead before the break.
The second half saw an awesome display of hockey from Bret as they literally blew the opposition away.
Although Saints came out aggressively at the start, a break from Bret saw Lisa Workman place an inch-perfect pass to Sarah Hall who smacked the ball into the net.
The Vale team continued to pressurise and it did not take them long to add a fourth goal as another fabulous pass from Workman found Andrea Cole in the D and her sliding effort defied her age as she converted with aplomb.
The visitors’ midfield and forward lines were now linking brilliantly with great passing moves between Deb Slatter, Sarah Bragg and Sally Beale and the latter slotted home a cool reverse stick effort which the home keeper could only watch as it hit the backboard.
The scoreline also shows the hard work of the Bret defence in which Jane Wheeler, Blanche Surman, Tess Lewinton and Sophie Hamilton were in a thoroughly miserly mood.
The ladies now have the away tie they wanted – a tough trip to Carlisle on February 28 – when the sides will battle to move within a victory of playing at Lee Valley Stadium in the Olympic Park in the final.
Massive thanks go to Karen Porter for travelling and umpiring and also to the Strongbow twins for their support.