The GHC Under 10 Girls Development Squad set off for London on the cold and damp morning of Sunday, November 25th for their first match experience. They arrived in Battersea Park to find it dry and warmer, ready for the first push back at 1245 in their festival-style tournament...
The girls were bubbling with excitement and ready to take on the world. The squad was made up of Clara “Cherry” B, Ruby “Rhubarb” H, Rithika “Radish” K, Lara “Lettuce” S, Lakita “Lemon” T, Cecily “Celery” T-Wand Tamara “Tomato” Z. Novice coaches Kate “Kale” and Mark “Mushroom” were pacing the sidelines in eager anticipation.
v Tulse Hill and Dulwich
The first match was against south-east London’s Tulse Hill. The girls got off to a fast start with Tamara racing down to the goal to get in an early shot that just went wide of the post. Tulse Hill immediately responded pushing back to Guildford’s end, and Rithika made a critical early tackle. With this positive start the girls’ confidence seemed to rise and they were away. Lara, Clara and Ruby linked well with mid-field passes and this was rewarded by a goal for Cecily. GHC were 1-0 up. Tulse Hill pressed back but Rithika and Lakita were fantastically solid in defence, letting no one past. Guildford held firm, pushed forward again, and were rewarded with a second goal, this time from a firm push-in by Ruby.
Guildford finished their first ever match with a 2-0 victory!
After a quick break for muffins, Jaffa Cakes and Millionaire Shortbreads (not nearly as healthy as their nicknames!), the girls were back on against the Spencer Club from Earlsfield. Spencer were strong and seemed to bring more experience to dominate the match. Lara made an early goal-saving block, Tamara and Lakita shared defensive duties this time around and were made to work hard. Rithika made some searing surges forward, getting close to goal on a couple of occasions. Clara and Ruby worked hard in midfield, having to manage defence more than attack, and Cecily remained optimistic in her forward position, keeping the Spencer defence alert.
Sadly Spencer were too strong for this development squad and finished 4-0 winners. The girls kept their spirits up and took their defeat with good grace.
v London Wayfarers
The final match was against home team, London Wayfarers. Lakita chose to play defence again, a position she had made her own throughout the tournament, partnering this time with Cecily. Lara and Rithika were at the front, and Ruby, Clara and Tamara formed the mid-field. The match was very evenly balanced with chances at both ends. Unfortunately Wayfarers managed to convert one of their opportunities and went 1-0 ahead. Guildford didn’t let their heads drop and pushed back. They had several scrambles around the Wayfarer goal but were unable the cross the line. The match ended early, as the previous games had overrun a little, but Guildford were finishing strongly so who knows how it might have finished with more time …
The girls all did tremendously well for their first ever match experience. They gelled well as a squad and it was great to see them develop over the course of the three matches. They listened to coaching advice about getting into positions and using the width of the pitch, which they seemed to pick up and implement, especially in the second half of each game.
The Guildford parents gave unflagging support from the touchline and Coaches Kale and Mushroom were very grateful to them for their cheerful assistance.
Three Cheers for the Guildford Under 10 Girls Development Squad, and an extra one for playing with such great spirit throughout the day. Hip Hip Hooray!