Having won the league the previous season and been promoted into the dizzy heights of division 2, the Oaks travelled away to Oadby with some trepidation to face the renowned Leicester Mixed side but they returned home with a 2-0 victory.
The Oaks fielded a strong team of veterans from the past season although nerves were still running high. As the game began, it was clear that the fears were unnecessary.
Rutland started and remained the stronger and dominant side throughout. The team kept possession, comfortably moving the ball up the pitch to create a scoring chance time after time.
The hard work soon paid off, a superbly struck Rutland ball found the end of Chrissie’s stick for her to slot in the first of the Oaks’ goals and leave the Leicester keeper wondering what had just happened.
The second half saw much of the same, the Rutland defence of Ben Chisholm and Sam Raybould remained strong with Leicester never looking a threat to the away team’s goal.
Rutland’s Charlie Hamnett and new signing Liz Bryne dominated the centre of the park, seamlessly intercepting and distributing the ball with ease. Another attack on the opposition’s D sealed the game for Rutland, Warren Ginn finding the back of the net with the second and decisive goal.
A 2-0 win against an established division 2 side is a fantastic start for the team in their new league and they are looking forward to an exciting and successful season.
Following a tricky start in the cup last week, with a depleted side, the Horseshoes were able to field a strong team against Loughborough Carillon B on Saturday, for the first game of the season and ran away with a 10-0 victory at the fantastic new hockey pitch at Oakham School.
Most victories in sport can be attributed to a solid foundation and the Rutland defence didn’t look like being breached in this game with a two-man defence forming the rock from which the centre midfielders Cath McComb and Anne Pollock launched a wave of attacks on the opposition.
An exciting attack consisting of Carina Stevens, Chris Meadows and debutant Izzy Harre seized the initiative early on and didn’t let go as they consistently pressured the Loughborough defence, who despite the accumulating scoreline continued to play creative passing hockey till the end. Chris took most of the plaudits for scoring five goals on his first outing of the season, but the predatory finishing of Karina and a blockbuster strike from Anne Pollock from the edge of the D into the top corner were arguably the highlights.
Special mention should also go to Tim Sweet for his deceptive, slow, straight run from the halfway line to inside the D, where his momentum was only stopped by a desperate lunge from the keeper resulting in a penalty flick.
The penalty was coolly dispatched by Tim.
All in all it was a well-timed return to form for the Horseshoes for the start of the league season but tougher challenges lie ahead.
Phil Ash, Horseshoes captain, said “We had a couple of new players, in James Green and Izzy, making their debuts today and it was great to see how quickly new and returning players fit in together to play the attacking exciting hockey our club is renowned for.”