South Wales Hockey League
Newcastle Emlyn 1 Abergavenny 1
Newcastle Emlyn were presented with a big ask on the weekend, taking on second placed Abergavenny with the reds side missing several regulars but to come away with a point was a job well done.
This was always going to be an interesting game, not least as their first meeting in the season resulted in another close game, with Emlyn just coming away with a win.
The visitors were quick off the mark and were very nearly awarded the first goal of the game within the first five minutes, with the shot coming in at the side and just wide of the goal. But it was Emlyn who managed to draw first blood, after a series of unsuccessful short corner attempts led to Enfys Davies striking a well-timed hit to make it 1-0.
Abergavenny’s defence was very strong and made it difficult for Emlyn teenage forwards Sioned Davies and Rosie Hughes but the talented junior players, along with fellow youngsters Caryl-Haf Lloyd and Ffion Davies, played superbly throughout and did well to hold their ground against a side who were very physical, and strong on the ball and in the tackle.
Towards the end of the first half, Amy Heighton and Enfys Davies made a break down the centre after picking up a loose ball and the Abergavenny defence did well to track back and it was only the goalkeeper whose speed out of the goal stopped Enfys Davies from firing home a goal to double the lead.
At the other end the visitors finally found the back of the net just before the end of the first half the visitors hit back with a goal to make it 1-1 at half time.
Player of the match Ellie Lloyd was unlucky to take a ball to the face causing a nasty looking injury in the second half that could have been much worse and she bravely carried on and this was a big boost with the game in the balance.
Tensions were running high by now after a couple of incidents involving the umpires as the division high fliers became frustrated and who perhaps were hoping to be more dominant at this point in the game. Centre midfield Mel Williams had several breaks down the right and nearly got the cross in, but the Aber defence was just too strong. Emlyn’s defence were likewise outstanding as usual, fending off a number of attacks down all areas of the field. When the final whistle came, both teams were reluctant to celebrate and will be rueing any missed chances to score the winning goal in what was a very close, hard and evenly matched game.
This weekend Emlyn travel to Cardiff to take on Whitchurch Saints, pushing back at 1.30.