With no coach, no supporters, no subs and no goalie (the latter playing for the U18 Southern team in Auckland), the Upper Clutha Senior Women’s team faced an uphill battle in their game against Queenstown.
While they could have defaulted, their love for the sport spurred them on as they decided to play a semi-final game without a goalie; probably a first for Central Otago hockey at this level.
From the start, the Upper Clutha women fought hard with defenders marking tight and forwards putting on lots of pressure, resulting in four penalty corners for them; unfortunately, none were successful. The team’s doggedness held off Queenstown and they came out of the first quarter nil all.
With no subs to give players a break, the team’s efforts in the first quarter started to take its toll and Queenstown scored three consecutive goals in the second quarter; all of which could have been defended with a padded goalie.
Nevertheless, fuelled by half-time Gummi Bears and uplifting team talk, the team came back onto the pitch with renewed vigour. Carolyn McKay made a run towards the goal and sent a hard hit into the circle, which was deflected by Carla Molyneaux high into Queenstown’s goal. Carla closed the gap further to two to three scoring with straight shot from the top of the circle from a penalty corner.
In the third quarter, Queenstown scored from a high deflection into the goal, unstoppable for the Upper Clutha defenders to take the final score to four to two to Queenstown.
Despite the loss, Upper Clutha was super stoked with their effort and team spirit. They now play for third place next week and with a goalie in tow, who knows what they can achieve.