Take a Bow! Tina’s on a High in Telford
BOWDON Hightown women’s indoor skipper Tina Cullen is hoping her side’s exceptional start to the campaign can spur them on to greater success when they move back outdoors.
Bowdon are top of the Super 6s Championship after the first weekend at the Phoenix Sports Centre in Telford, winning three of their matches and drawing one.
Thumping 10-5 and 7-2 victories against Buckingham and Birmingham respectively were followed by a 3-3 draw against Reading, and a battling 4-2 win over Holcombe.
Cullen was satisfied with their weekend’s work, and thrilled with the different number of players that got on the score sheet.
Over the four matches, Bowdon scored 24 goals – Cullen leading the way with six – with eight different players finding the net.
However, Cullen believes there is still a lot to improve on in order to progress to Wembley for a place in the semi-finals.
“We wanted to try and get maximum points, as you always do, but we were pleased,” said Cullen.
“We know we’re only half way there, and we’ve been in this situation before, where we’ve come back in the second weekend where we’ve not done as well – there’s a long way to go yet.
“Our decision making in the final third could have been better, and we need to take our chances.
“We had a lot of chances against Reading in particular, but I have to say their keeper played brilliantly.
“We still had chances that we probably could have put away, and we need to work on our penalty corner defence – we conceded quite a few times from them, so that is something that we’ll be working on ahead of the final weekend.”
As a club, Bowdon enjoy an excellent record in indoor tournaments, and Cullen admitted the indoor season is one of the best parts of the year for her players, who have been training hard for the indoor conditions.
“It’s something we really enjoy,” she said. “We’ve been training for a couple of months in the build-up to this. We take it seriously and see it one of the highlights in our calendar really, it’s almost tradition.
“It’s something where the women have always been successful, and now it’s filtered down to the men and the juniors.
“We value the indoor as a club and we invest a lot in it in terms of facilities and training.”
Despite the success indoors, Bowdon are faring less well outdoor in the Women’s Premier Division, and are ninth in the league with just one win all year – only winless Reading are below them.
And Cullen admits that staying in the division is a number one priority for the team, with Bowdon the only side to have consistently featured in every season since its inception in 1989.
She also feels that Bowdon’s presence in the top league is key for younger players in the north of England to get into the sport in the first place.
“We fight tooth and nail to stay in the outdoor Prem,” she said. “That is our number one objective. We’re the only team since the start, and we’re determined not to go down.
“Young players need that stepping stone. They do need a local club, some- where to aspire to play before they go off to university.
“It is important to us, we do feel that it is a responsibility and that’s why we desperately don’t want to go down.”
However, the immediate focus is on the second half of the indoor season, which will be played on January 7 and 8.
Cullen insists the team will remain focused, with teams having a small amount of wiggle room between success and missing out.
She added: “There are such fine margins between being in the top four and being in the bottom two and getting relegated. Every game can get you into the top four if you have a good weekend.
“The indoor normally does give us the confidence going into the second half of the season, so fingers crossed it will do that again if we manage to play well in the second weekend.”
Bowdon lead the way by a single point from Sutton
Coldfield after they crashed 9-3 to Slough, who lie third in a tight league which has seen every team register a win and drop points.
Top v bottom: Bowdon take on Buckingam
Crash: Sutton Coldfield lose 9-3 to Slough