WHITCHURCH Hockey Club were beaten 7-2 at Oswestry last weekend.

With Lymm unable to field their full team, friendly at Oswestry against a mixed team was organised to ensure every last opportunity for a game was seized in 2020.

Several first team players were also unavailable for Whitchurch, but with the seconds game being cancelled it was an opportunity for players to step up and join the firsts in the sunshine in Oswestry.

Brendan Coburm was joined by James Partington and Sam Conway in defence with Harry Foulkes, Joe Coburn, Luke Beddow and Will Snaith also seizing their chance for minutes alongside wingers Tom Forster and Ben Kimberley while Fred Egerton was a tireless runner in attack

The game, and specifically the scoreline, was well understood in advance with goalkeeper Paul Leigh having a busy afternoon.

Foulkes had an excellent game and released Martin Beecher to net before Joe Coburn added a second for the Reds.

It was a tough day on the pitch, but one in which Whitchurch’s younger players showed real promise and the team as a whole dealt with the situation well, focussing on their own games and putting in a really good performance.

The new year should bring new games, and Whitchurch is well placed in both the firsts and seconds to make real inroads in the league tables.

Once again, Oswestry field their Wrexham-based striker, who was by far and away the most powerful player on the pitch, and it affected the entire game.

While passing – to anyone – wasn’t one of his core strengths, his speed and control and ability to run through five players and fire in a shot on the reverse from the edge of the dee into the roof of the net were fantastic.

He was, though, a Lionel Messi in a Sunday League game, and it took something away from the contest.

It did though give Whitchurch something new to deal with, and with several young players on the pitch as well as added experience at the back, it meant that for the rest of the game when the striker didn’t have the ball, it was a really good and well-balanced match.

Also stepping up were Luke Beddow and Will Snaith who both had great games and showed their growing confidence at this level. Tom Forster worked the wing tirelessly, and was unlucky to get a goal in the first half.

Ben Kimberley on the other side of the pitch put in another measured performance, ensuring there was always an option out wide.

Up front, Fred Egerton was a constant feature in the Oswestry dee and was also unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.

Given the talent of their striker, it was always going to be a hard day for Paul “Sturge” Leigh in goal.

Sturge was tireless and selfless, making saves and blocks, but the Reds’ defence weren’t able to keep their striker out and even the blocks that were made landed on the cruel side of fate – going just in instead of just out, or rebounding to the wrong-coloured-shirt player – but as a team effort it couldn’t be questioned.

Up front, in the second half – when Oswestry’s striker had moved back to a more defensive-midfield role for a bit – the game was much more even and it gave the Reds a chance to show what they can do.