On Saturday afternoon, the Aidan’s Maidens gathered for their Premiership debut. Tensions were high as they faced arguably their toughest opponents in the division on the opening day of the season, the previous year’s champions, Grey’s A.
A shaky start from the Aidan’s side allowed Grey to slot two early goals in the back of the net. Despite this early setback, Captain Rachel Thorpe’s encouragement prompted her team to rise to the challenge. The Aidan’s defence dug their heels in and formed a formidable wall that Grey’s forward line struggled to breach.
Notable performances in the first half were made by the Browns of the team. Newcomer Ellie Brown fell victim to a rogue Grey winger and sustained an injury early in the first half but continued to power forward and threaten Grey’s midfield. Numerous acrobatic saves were made by Aidan’s star keeper Ellen “The Brave” Brown. The pick of these saves saw Brown live up to her nickname, as she fearlessly stopped the ball on the goal line at the feet of a Grey striker.
Half-time saw a renewed spirit return to the Aidan’s side thanks to Ellen’s stellar saves and the strong defence. Grey managed to score another goal in the second half but Aidan’s Maidens weren’t going down without a fight. We were ready to bring the fight to Grey’s half of the pitch. The attack surged forward with a fantastic combination of runs and crosses. Ellie Brown worked particularly well to create space for the team in her position on the right wing. The pressure on Grey’s defence was too great for them to handle and a close chance came with a try on goal from Holly Foxon. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side and the ball ricocheted off the right post.
The defence continued to play admirably throughout the second half with Amy Heath staying true to her nature and refusing to be cowed by the overtly physical Grey strikers. The game soon began to resemble more of a wrestling match than a football match, as Annie Tonks was also taken out by Grey’s striker in another bone-crunching tackle. Thankfully no severe injuries were sustained despite challenges flying in all over the pitch.
The game ended with a 3-0 victory for Grey but Aidan’s left the game feeling positive about their performance. More training and socials will no doubt knit the team further together into a truly formidable side.
Photograph: Team Durham