Monday, August 17, 2009


Angel Lindsay Belzie kicks one of her four goals.
In the first of three matches last Saturday the Montreal Angels took on the Central Blues women in what was touted as the best in Ontario versus the best from Quebec. If the pre-game warm up and preparations were any indication the Blues were going to outclass the Angels by a longshot. Luckily for the women form Montreal, an old adage was proven false: sometimes you don't practice like you play.

In the first quarter the women in the (royal) blue and white controlled much of the play and had numerous scoring chances with the midfield pumping the ball in to the forward line well. Wayward kicking and a difficult breeze saw the quarter end with the Angels up 0.4.4 and the Blues yet to register a scoring opportunity. The only time the football entered the Angels' backline mimi put in an impressive defensive performance, giving ferocious chase, running down an experienced and classy Blues opponent, and ultimately saw the ball over the line with no harm done.

At the quarter-time break, the girls resolved to keep their intensity high, focus on straight kicking and keep forcing the ball forward-they'd now be kicking with the wind. It seems Montreal's head umpire Anthony Williams' strategy of only allowing shirt and hand holding in the local league Montreal games worked to good effect - all of the girls' pent up rage went straight into ensuring the Blues girls would think twice about picking up the ball. Their high intensity translated into giving up a few free kicks on what would have been champion tackles if the rules were not modified. Regardless of this slight set-back, the girls went about carving up their opponents with the following 'plan', Lindsay wins every ruck tap, resulting with Aimee winning every ball out of the middle, resulting in a barrage of marks in front of goal by Dani/Margo, goal, rinse, repeat. At half-time the Angels were up by 35 points, but they weren't ready to give up. The goal became to test their own stamina and perform as well in the second half as they did in the first.

With few changes to the tried and tested line-up, the girls took to the field, once again kicking against the wind. This time, however, it seemed not to matter. The plays developed similarly in the second quarter, but Lindsay found some run and slotted through a few of her own. Mel, disappointed at wasting away in the backline took it upon herself to run almost half the field and kick to Margo on the lead, who promptly spun around and slotted another goal through. Aimee, determined to find the perfectbalance between stellar tackle and free kick, did just that and earned a number of frees for herself. Dani was dominate in the forward line, kicking goals and gaining new found appreciation for the shepherd - giving her teammates more than enough space to slot through another 31 points. Our goal for the second half had been achieved in one quarter. A good sign for the future of Angels football.

The fourth quarter proved the depth of the Angels line-up, with some key forward positions being filled by those who had previously been playing in back. Even when Lindsay was taken out of the ruck, Mel came in and performed equally well, consistently winning the ball to Aimee, who continued to dominate as she had done all day - both by feeding the forward line and scoring goals. This quarter also included the almost-sure-winner of goal of the year, which saw Elaine crumb the ball in the goal square and, with her back to the sticks, magic a goal over her head. Perhaps earning the Irish goalsneak a permanent role in the forward pocket.

It was a pleasure to coach the girlson the weekend, as I'm sure Assistant Skills coach Ronan Shuaghnessy (who vows to improve his pre-game drills) and Assistant Clipboard Coach/Statistician James-Robert Theis (who vows to improve his counting). A personal highlight for me was that after a shaky 0.4 start in front of goal, the girls settled down and kicked 5.2, 5.1 and 4.1 in the last three quarters, repsectively - proving they could not only get over early adversity, but also that they could maintain a high standard of play over a full game.

Montreal Angels 0.4 5.6 10.7 14.8 (82)
Central Blues WAFC 0.0 0.1 1.1 1.1 (7)

Angels: Lindsay Belzie 4, Aimee Legault 4, Dani Anderson 3, Margo Legault 2, Elaine Gilmore 1.