Sunday 23rd April – WNIHL North 2
DMUK Widnes Wild Women 9 – Leeds Roses 2
The DMUK Widnes Wild women’s team rounded off their regular season with a comprehensive 9-2 win over Leeds Roses at Planet Ice Widnes on Sunday.
Leeds are a new team in the league this season, so it was their first visit to Widnes and the outcome was especially important as the Wild women needed a win to improve their chances of reaching the end of season play offs.
Despite the somewhat one-sided final scoreline, this was a very entertaining game to watch, with plenty of flowing end to end hockey, and the fledgling Leeds team gave a very good account of themselves.
Widnes took the lead on 8 minutes with a goal from Rachael Pearce but the Roses struck back with an equaliser straight from the resulting face off.
It took another 10 minutes for the Wild women to break down the stubborn Leeds defence again and they edged back into the lead on 18 minutes with a strike from Lucy Kirkham. Some late pressure on the Leeds net as the clock ticked down towards the end of the period paid off as Leen de Decker forced home another goal with just 6 seconds left to play and Widnes led 3-1 at the first break.
The second period was all Widnes and they scored 4 unanswered goals – from de Decker, Natalie Buckles (her first ever competitive goal for the Wild women), Katie Fairclough and Pearce – to lead comfortably 7-1 at second break.
Leeds scored their second, and final, goal of the game 44 seconds into the third period but the 6 goal cushion was restored just 49 seconds after that with a hat-trick goal from Rachael Pearce.
The tempo eased off somewhat after that as the result was, by then, fairly clear cut and Ellie Green came in goal for Widnes for the final 10 minutes, making some impressive saves to register a cameo ”shut out”.
A second goal of the game from Katie Fairclough with 72 seconds left on the clock rounded off the scoring for the match and the Wild women were able to celebrate a 9-2 victory.
The result means that Widnes remain in second place in the league table behind Solway Sharks who have already been confirmed champions. The Wild women have a good chance of qualifying for the end of season play offs, which will be held in Sheffield at the end of May, but that is now out of their hands. Telford Wrekin Raiders – who are currently in third place – have games yet to play and, if they win all of their remaining matches, they will overtake Widnes as runners up and secure the other play off spot.
The Kate Luard Memorial MVP awards for Sunday’s game – sponsored by Poet-in-Residence Lucy London – were presented by match volunteer Helen Patient and went to Rosie Steedman for Leeds and Natalie Buckles for Widnes.