The outcome of this game, a 9-0 Vipers win, probably came as a big surprise to both teams given that it is less than one month since a very close 10-7 ‘barn burner’ in Nottingham.
Robin Mullen scored her 99th Vipers goal with just 16 seconds on the clock (assisted Mudrakova and Lester) and Madison Wright added a second (assisted Rathbone) for a two-goal lead by the five-minute mark. This time around Nottingham did not look back.
Last season, there were plenty of occasions when Vipers were dealt similar score lines by the opposition and both Nottingham and Bracknell will know that the end game is not about scores, but about the future sustainability of Clubs and growing the women’s game.
It was therefore incredibly fitting that Vipers most accomplished player, Robin Mullen, scored her 100th Vipers goal, assisted by the two youngest players in the team.
The performance in Bracknell saw Nottingham’s defensive corps of Clare Jones, Rebecca Meats, Bea Lester and Laura Dance producing big performances that not only thwarted the potent Bracknell attack but also contributed strongly to the points count. This included a stunning goal from Bea Lester, roofed in the top corner after a powerful skate from her own half…….which she will be distraught to know was officially credited elsewhere in the team (but adjusted below) !!
Holly Steeples was in fine form and pulled off some top drawer saves to deservedly record the first shut out of the season and MoM award.
A new combination of Jessica Urqhuart, Meg Rathbone and Hannah Worthington proved fruitful – the trio collecting a 7 point haul between them. This was Worthington’s second game for the Vipers this season, looking much more settled, and prevented from scoring only by some fine saves from Meryia Throop in the Bracknell net.
All of Nottingham’s players saw ice and had a hand in dealing Bracknell a disappointing day. Those with points often get the limelight, but the hard graft put in by Kaylie Bickle, Eva Harrison, Kelly Daniels, Vicky Tooley and the usual Captain’s performance from Emma Wilkinson are not to be overlooked.
Next up, the Vipers face Whitley (March), Kingston (April), before a final three games in May (Sheffield and a double-header against Chelmsford).
Final score: Bees 0; Vipers 9
Megan Rathbone 2+2
Madison Wright 2+2
Robin Mullen 3+0
Renata Mudrakova 0+2
Beatrice Lester 1+1
Jessica Urquhart 1+1
Clare Jones 0+1
Hannah Worthington 0+1
Shots on Holly Steeples 44 SV% 100.0%
Pens: Bees 2; Vipers 10