08:00PM, Friday 04 December 2020
Maidenhead Women’s 1sts will go in search of their first victory of the season at Oxford Ladies 1sts on Saturday, having endured a frustrating start to the campaign prior to lockdown.
Team captain Eddie Westacott says the side were playing quite well before lockdown, and were competitive in most of their matches, however, the fine margins went against them leaving them without a victory from their first six matches.
It’s left them 10th in the table ahead of Saturday’s clash with one of the teams in and around them in the South Club’s Division 1 table.
“It’s frustrating because we’re actually not playing badly at all,” said Westacott. “Each week we’ve had a very close game and we’re just not getting some of the results and goals you would expect to get.
“It’s been enjoyable to play in these matches though, it’s not like we’re on a losing team that goes out and everyone is playing better than us. We’ve just not had results go in our favour.”
Unsurprisingly Maidenhead were defeated by two of the league’s pacesetters in the opening weeks of the season, but the rest of their games have gone to the wire, with Maids coming out on the wrong side of close contests. Westacott hopes the players will have retained their sharpness ahead of two matches before Christmas. The players have been challenging each other on Map My Run to clock up the miles in an effort to stay in peak shape.
“We were expected to lose a couple of those games possibly,” she said. “But we were due to play teams in the middle of the pack when we hit lockdown. That will potentially have a negative impact because we’ve now had four weeks off and will have to start again.
“Hopefully everyone will be in the same situation when we resume matches. It’s just a shame that lockdown happened when it did. I’d like to think that everyone will have maintained their own fitness and we’ve had a challenge on Map My Run where everyone has been clocking in the miles they’ve walked, ran and cycled. We’ve broken that into teams to see who goes the furthest. But I think the break may have an impact on our touch, our first touch of the ball and the accuracy of our passing and confidence in some of our skills. A few will have to get that back.
“But we train Wednesday (December 2) and play at Oxford on Saturday. Hopefully they’re in the same situation as us. We have two matches before Christmas and then the season resumes on January 9 when it would usually restart on January 26. That’s to make up for some of the games we’ve missed during lockdown.”
Like Maids, Oxford have struggled for form in the early weeks of the season and, with the side usually featuring a mix of university students and residents, Westacott is unsure what to expect of the side who’ll face them this weekend.
“Their team might be slightly different, we don’t know what to expect,” she said. “But I’m not worried about our form yet. We were in this position last season and we ended up finishing in mid-table. We started the season believing we could build on that but, unfortunately, we lost two influential centre midfielders because they’re pregnant, but we’ve got a lot of youngsters coming through which is great.
“They’ll only improve as the season goes on and the aim is to finish in mid-table again and then see where we are with that extra experience next season.”
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