The First Ladies Masters League Game
by Sue Newman
One beautifully sunny, autumnal October afternoon, the Mad Lady Masters of Reading arrived at Woking for their first league game ever. Being over an hour early was not really part of the plan and completely scuppered mid-morning coffee plans. The motley crew of 12 arrived in the changing room and, having introduced each other and exchanged tales of aches and pains, got down to the serious business of trying to work out who would play where and in what kit. Not deterred by the distinct lack of midfielders, the team stepped out for a 45 minute warm up. Lady luck was on their side – not one tweaked muscle!
Trying not to feel deterred by the fact that Woking seemed to have several of their regular first team playing, nor by the short length of Mandy’s skirt, Reading put on their serious games faces and set to the task in hand. Within minutes one of Woking’s turbo-charged forwards skipped down the wing and the cross was neatly converted. ‘How can a Master run so blooming fast?’ was definitely a thought which went through a few Reading minds! Poor Nicky in goal was beginning to wonder why on earth she had agreed to join Reading……. However, Reading readjusted their skirts and game faces, and they managed to bring the ball out of defence well, to string together some good passes and before long some good work up front resulted in Trixi slotting home an equaliser. Happy days! Shortly after this, one of the Woking forwards was heard saying ‘surely it must be half time now?’ Maybe it was the 15 remaining minutes in the half which literally took the wind out of their purple sails, and just before half time (yes, still 35 minutes, despite the age of the participants) Sue won our first short corner of the match. Well injected by Trina and neatly trapped by Mandy, Rachel slotted home a beauty in the bottom right hand corner. 2-1 up at half time – who’d have thought?
The team took a collective deep breath and got stuck into the second half with some reservations about how to contain the opposition’s annoyingly skilled and pacey midfield players. Great defensive work from Jude and Rachel making well timed tackles and super driving out and up their lines from Ruth and Bev, the team had some excellent possession and the game opened up with a good share of possession. Mandy made some fabulous passes through to Jeanette, Trina and Tracy who had found good space up front. Despite winning a few more short corners, Reading just could not convert. With Woking piling on the pressure in midfield, poor Janice was the sacrificial lamb to be chosen to help out in midfield and she nobly stuck to her task, for which everyone was very grateful. With about 20 minutes to go Woking found the back of the Reading net once more. Oh well, 2-2. Not bad. With less than 10 minutes left on the clock and the Reading backs (and legs!) happy to settle for a draw, suddenly Woking won a short corner and converted.
From that point on Reading pushed forward time and again. Mandy found her turbo charged boots and deftly flashed her stick around. In a resulting and pressured attacking goal mouth scramble in the dying seconds of the game, Bev actually scored (LET THE RECORDS REFLECT THIS!) but sadly the other umpire (probably listening to his mummy) blew for a short corner and the goal was disallowed. The sad end to this story is that Reading did not convert and the final result was Woking 3 Reading 2. Probably a fair result if we’re all being totally honest. With the team lists submitted and checked that yes, we really are all over 40 (and some) the team tucked into tea. However, spirits were not dampened, and all agreed that they quite enjoyed themselves really….. Dreams of becoming super fit lead the team on (plus also the fact that there is a month to recuperate before the next fixture ).
Real Master of the match was probably Nicky in goal who made countless good saves and tidy clearances. A huge thank you must go to our travelling umpire Georgia, who was excellent and who looked lovely in her bright pink top. Please come again!
Thought for the day: should Lady Masters really be called Mistresses?
Written by Sue Newman