RWB go down in hockey Upton

INDIES LADIES fought back from falling behind early on to beat Canaccord RWB 3-2 and retain the Women’s ‘Upton’ shield – and give their captain Izzy Gingell a perfect send-off on Saturday.

Cannaccord RWB’s Sarah Heelis, out of picture, gives the Jersey champions a fifth-minute lead over Indies Ladies in Guernsey Picture: Steve Sarre (21253458)
Cannaccord RWB’s Sarah Heelis, out of picture, gives the Jersey champions a fifth-minute lead over Indies Ladies in Guernsey Picture: Steve Sarre (21253458)

In an exciting match befitting of the occasion played in glorious sunshine and energy-sapping warm temperatures, visiting Jersey champions RWB started much the brighter side with Indies looking nervous in the early exchanges and it was no surprise when the team in red took the lead in the fifth minute when Sarah Heelis’ shot made it over the line despite the best efforts of a covering defender to keep it out.

That goal, though, kick-started Indies into action and the game became more even with the home side finding an equaliser right on the stroke of half-time when Gingell stepped up to convert a penalty flick.

Indies began the second half strongly and went ahead for the first time on 45 minutes, with Bianca Symes scoring a fine goal with island teammates Amy Sharpe and Liz Dudin heavily involved in the build-up.

A pivotal period of the match came when Indies goalkeeper Emma Atkinson made three top-quality saves in quick succession – the middle one from Heelis particularly outstanding – just moments before Tasha Symes extended their lead at the other end.

RWB were not about to concede the trophy easily though and shortly after Chrissy Helmholt-Kneisel had fired one shot wide, she was able to beat Atkinson with a subtle scooped shot after she had won the ball inside the D.

With time virtually up, the visitors had one last chance at another short-corner and Becky Henwood-Darts’ shot took a slight deflection as it flashed just wide of the post.

The final whistle came seconds later, leaving Indies as the CI champions.

Gingell put in an outstanding individual display to lead her side to success and complete the treble following their domestic league-and-cup double.

Player-of-the-match honours may have gone to the typically classy and composed Helmholt-Kneisel of RWB and there was a very good case for Indies goalkeeper Emma Atkinson to have claimed that accolade for several vital interventions, but the trophy that mattered most was safely tucked under smiling Gingell’s arm at full time.

RWB captain Hannah Willing added that it was an exciting game to be a part of.

‘I think both teams really fought hard and we both really wanted it but in the end Guernsey came out on top, they had a really good home crowd, too.

‘It would have been really nice [to go into half-time with the lead] but it was just short-corner after short-corner and then the flick.’

‘We have had a really good season, we have had a few newcomers – four of them – and it’s just a shame to end the season like that but Indies played really well.’

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