After being away for 14 hours yesterday we decided to have a family day. However today was also the last day of the Womens National League North season. And the Whitley Bay Squaws and Billingham Wildcats were to battle it out for the league, with Billingham needing to win by 3 goals to pip Whitley to the league title. So with a trip to Billingham in mind we looked for a National trust property in the area and set out for a few hours at Ormesby Hall, which until 1984 was still inhabited by the Pennyman family. Unfortunately upon arrival at 12 we found out the property wasn't open for another 90 minutes, so we snuck in the delivery entrance, parked the car in staff car park and set about having a little walk around the property. By the time we had walked around the edge of the estate the house was open and we set about exploring the house. In all honesty it was pretty dull, but was made to be more fun by way of a kids quiz that Erin was given to complete. All of the volunteers were very helpful and between them and quiz it made for a really enjoyable afternoon. Whilst Erin and Christine nipped off to the ladies to powder their noses I had a walk down into the gardens and sat listening to the birds watching the blossom fall from the tree, I have to admit I could have sat there for hours. Anyway, this is Ormesby Hall from the Croquet Lawn.
From there we went onto the OK Diner for some food, which was nice, but not very good value for money, and the service was abysmal. So off to the rink for the game. The game was all set up to be a classic, with it being the last game of the season, and the league being up for grabs. Add into the mix that with Ice Hockey being a relatively minority sport in the UK a lot of the players know each other, and the North East Dekstars ball hockey club had representatives on both sides, some of whom just 24 hours earlier trained together as part of the Team GB Ball hockey team. A niggly game resulted in Billingham leading the game 2-1 heading into the third period needing another 2 goals to take the league (assuming Whitley would not score again) but Whitley who had not been able to get into their stride due to some very good play by Billingham for the first 2 periods picked up their game and maintained their unbeaten streak (over 2 years in the league) taking the game 5-3 in the end.
The moment of the game for me was when North East Dekstar / Team GB Ball Hockey / Whitley Bay Squaw Sarah 'Monkey' Smith scored a goal early in the third period to tie the game. Sarah at my request dedicated the goal to my daughter who has always enjoyed shouting encouragement at every game she has been to. So with that in mind we have a second photo of the day....
So all in all its been a bit of a mental weekend, but to be honest I'm not sure I'd have it any other way.