Billingham Wildcats 7 –3 Solway Sharks Ladies

Sharks Goal: Murdoch (9, 38) Wallace (51)

Assists: Wallace & Craig


Solway Sharks Ladies were in Teesside on Sunday to face the expectant winners of the Womens Ice Hockey National Division 1 North, Billingham Wildcats. With nothing to lose the Sharks travelled in good spirits, and that translated into a good performance, but ultimately a defeat against a strong Billingham side determined to be crowned Champions.

The Sharks found themselves behind early in the first period thanks to some sloppy play in their own defensive zone. A poor cross ice pass only found Wildcats’ Jenny Hehir who set up Joy Craighead for the opening goal after only two minutes. The Hehir-Craighead combination was to haunt the Sharks throughout, resulting in 5 goals for the home side.

Billingham’s second goal came from the big shot of Captain Leanne Clark with a trademark blast from the blue line. Solway Coach Jamie Kerr had a plan to nullify Clark’s threat though, and thanks to some disciplined defensive play from Sharks’ wingers, most notably Victoria Luke (sponsored by Kellwood Engineering) and Amanda Murdoch (sponsored by Cold Blooded Sports) there were no more goals scored from deep, a stark contrast to last year’s fixture at The Forum when the Wildcats dominated the game from the blue line.

At the other end of the ice the Dumfries side were creating chances but could not find the target, with big chances from Victoria Luke and Chloe Young (sponsored by Joyce Wallace Art) flying over the crossbar. It was another high shot which eventually brought the Sharks back into the game though, with top scorer Murdoch lifting the puck high into the Billingham net.

Momentum was with Scotland’s only senior female team during the second period and Murdoch again found herself on the scoresheet, tipping in a rebound after a shot from Ruth Wallace (sponsored by Cold Blooded Sports & Caledonian Oil) With the score now 3-2 the Sharks were well and truly back in the game, until Criaghead again found herself unmarked in the high slot area for her hat-trick goal and the 2 goal cushion that the Sharks could not pull back, even when Chloe Young broke away and found herself one on one with Wildcats netminder Megan Quigley. Unfortunately for Young and the Sharks Quigley won this battle, but the spirits were still high on the Sharks bench heading into the 3rd and final period.

Once again the Sharks started strongly, but against the run of play Hehir further extended the Wildcats’ lead, only to be clawed back once more as Karen Craig (sponsored by the Bank of Poor Paul Ltd) set up Wallace for the Sharks 3rd and unfortunately final goal of the game. With the league title in their sights Wildcat’s Rachel Serrell and Joy Craighead added a couple of late goals, leaving them 1 point ahead of 2nd placed Kingston Diamonds with only one game left to play, against bottom of the league Blackburn Thunder.

For further information on Solway Sharks Ladies please see www.solwaysharksladies.uk or follow Solway Sharks Ladies on Facebook or Twitter.

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