Bec 3 determined after opening match cliffhanger
The balmy days of the early October summer were definitely drawing to a close as the team arrived at Ernest Bevin with not a pair of flip-flops in sight. Bec 3's opponents in their first match of the year were Mitcham 2, the former powerhouse of the LRL but now in a rebuilding phase.
Bec 3 finished last season as the highest ranked 3rd team in the country. It is a testament to the strength of Bec KC that our 3rd team can compete in the London Regional League, however as objectives go, it is a pretty poor one to base your season around just surviving at this level. It is with this in mind that coach Liam Clarke has looked to build his squad from the still glowing embers of last year's 3rd team. He has focussed on improving the fundamental skills of his new squad whilst instilling in them the competitive instinct required to succeed against the other clubs' 1st and 2nd teams in the league.
Starting in attack for Bec 3 were Alison Bland, Charlotte Goodrich, Tom Brady and making his debut for Bec, Matt Nash. Matt has recently moved from Sheffield and has the type of 'Northern grit' that is much prized in those parts and much feared in these. It was to Matt that the honour of the first assist of the season fell to as he delivered up the perfect dish for Brady to score an easy running in shot. Mitcham, despite playing short with only 3 players in attack, managed a quick equaliser which brought the division of David Paton, Mark Swain, Michele Jhugroo and former Scotland international Faye Woolerton into attack. Bec were quickly back in the lead with Michele, shrugging off being run over earlier in the week, scoring two of her trade mark goals. Really... is it not enough for the gods of korfball that she has to deal with those two boisterous lads that she has to get run down in the week before the first game of the season?
Bec stretched their lead with a virtually identical assist from Nash to set up Brady's second goal of the match. At 4 -1 parity in terms of the number of players on each team was restored and despite a goal from Mark Swain, parity in the score line was soon restored with the teams having a well deserved break at half time with the score 5-5.
Mitcham scored 2 goals early in the second half to test the mettle of the 3rds. Brady responded ruthlessly punishing his young defender for not following him around the block with an assist from Charlotte Goodrich who worked tirelessly in the feed all day. Another Brady goal under the post brought the scores level and we knew that this was our game to win. Salt was rubbed in the still raw wound of losing Laura Blazey to Mitcham over the summer as she scored her second to put Mitcham in the lead. The tide was definitely moving towards Mitcham with Bec failing to counter the defensive tactics of John Taylor. Coach Clarke called a time out to sort us out and up steps David Paton to score a nice goal off the back of the post to level the scores.
Mitcham had 3 players who featured in their National League win over Nomads last week and their experience started to show as they controlled the game to score 2 unanswered goals and take their lead to 8-10. Bec were tested and could have folded under this pressure but the attack of Woolerton and Swain answered with Swain scoring twice to take his tally for the game to 3 and set up the finale of the match.
Unfortunately it was Mitcham who had the last word as John Taylor scored his fifth goal of the match as the clock ticked down. The team were very disappointed to lose but Coach Clarke identified the areas where we need to improve and we left the hall with renewed determination to continue to build ourselves into the team we believe that we can be.
Bec 3 cannot win promotion from this division but there are no rules to say that we can't win it. Despite losing this match we have showed that we have the courage and skills to compete at this level. This was the first time that the team had played together and it was telling that we were unable to play to the strengths of some of our players, most notably Faye and Ali who lacked the support they needed to make the impact on the match that their skills merited. Time and hard work will put this right and once we get going I guarantee you that our post match drink up in the King's Head will be the place to be after matches.
Thanks to Craig and Bev for subbing and for everyone that came to support us.
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