A National League Hockey Club, part of Holcombeians Sports Club

Match report – Canterbury 2-6 W1s (Division One South, 9th March, 2024)

By Lucas Ball

Holcombe picked up their first Division One South victory in four matches as Nick Bandurak’s side beat Canterbury 6-2 at Polo Farm on Saturday afternoon, with six different players getting on the scoresheet.

Catherine Ledesma and Leisa Randall scored within five minutes of each other in the second quarter before the hosts halved the deficit through Lottie McDonnell on the stroke of half-time before Hattie Jones re-established Holcs’ two-goal lead in the third quarter.

Emma Bandurak added a fourth for Holcs five minutes later before Hannah Griggs pulled another back for Canterbury with 11 minutes remaining. Goals in the last six minutes from Deanna Ritchie and Bethan Hodges put Holcombe further in charge, with Hodges scoring her first outdoor goal for the club from a late penalty corner.

Holcombe started well with Lottie Bingham teeing up Ledesma early on to hit the post before Marian Ledesma forced Rebecca MacKinnon into a strong save on the reverse.

Tilly Woodhead then had to be alert at the other end to clear a dangerous-looking Canterbury ball across goal before the two sides went into the first break goalless.

Catherine Ledesma then gave Holcs the lead inside six minutes of the restart with a reverse finish into the corner, before Phoebe Steele forced MacKinnon into action from a penalty corner.

Randall was then able to double the advantage after being played through, sliding in to finish past MacKinnon on the reverse.

Ritchie could have added to that tally with two chances in quick succession, the second agonisingly wide of the far post.

Woodhead was then called into action again, clearing an initial shot but the ball fell to McDonnell, whose powerful strike beat the ‘keeper with just over a minute to play until half-time.

Holcombe continued to enjoy the lion’s share of the chances, Mel Clewlow blocking well from a Steele drag-flick at another penalty corner, this time the ball dropped to Catherine Ledesma again who saw an effort saved by MacKinnon.

Badurak’s side were confident in pushing numbers forward and played some free-flowing hockey, Jones stealing a march into the circle to pick up a loose ball and fire past MacKinnon from close range.

Ledesma came close once more with another reverse strike before she saw another shot deflected off-target at a penalty corner after a mis-trap at the top of the circle.

The move leading up to the fourth goal was Holcombe’s best of the match with some brilliant quick movements and passing including a first-time reverse pass through her own legs from Marian Ledesma. The ball eventually found Ritchie whose deflection was well-stopped before the rebound fell to Ledesma, who was bundled over as she was about to strike.

Bandurak made no mistake from the penalty spot to make it 4-1, with Holcs now in cruise control and creating chances almost at will as Canterbury struggled to cope with their movement and quick interchanges.

Another penalty corner resulted in a free hit out with Bandurak’s flick adjudged to be too high on the number one runner, before MacKinnon did well to deny Bingham as the England under-21 international tried to round the goalkeeper.

Bandurak saw another corner effort saved onto a Canterbury foot in the circle, with the re-award well-defended to ensure Canterbury went into the final break just the three goals behind.

Despite that dominance, it was the hosts who struck first in the final period as Griggs reduced the arrears for Ollie Lumley’s side.

Holcombe had to ride out a rocky period after conceding that goal but did so well and regained their composure to finish the game strongly, with Ritchie finishing off a penalty corner after Bandurak’s initial hit was blocked.

Four minutes later, Hodges was on hand to deflect Bandurak’s slap home for her first outdoor Holcombe goal after signing for the club in January.

The victory keeps Holcombe four points behind Barnes who also won on Saturday, with a game-in-hand against Team Bath Buccaneers ahead of hosting Barnes at Holcombe Park next Saturday.

Canterbury, meanwhile, slip into the relegation zone with Saturday’s defeat as Wimbledon 2s won against Bath.