The women’s football season kicked off with the Charity Shield over the weekend and the player who most impressed was Sunset’s Martha Hall, whose two goals made all the difference.
Sunset beat Scholars International 2-1 in extra time and it was Hall’s clinical finishing under pressure that sealed it.
The PE teacher only arrived in Cayman two months ago and is still acclimatizing, but she had enough skill and nous from all her years of playing to find the target – and not to get too exhausted in overtime despite the heat and humidity. After this debut, when Hall gets into her rhythm she seems destined to virtually score at will.
“I was ecstatic about the second goal as I really didn’t want it to go into penalty shots,” she said. “I was happy with the placement of my second goal as I’m not normally good at raising the ball on a shot, so it was a bit of a surprise for me.”
Petite and nimble, Hall is still getting used to the physical side of the Cayman game.
“Back home in Canada, I am used to being knocked around and taken down a lot, but I find here that the girls really use their body – and especially when it is not necessary.
“It was a little frustrating to be pushed around when I don’t even have the ball.
“But that usually just fuels me to try to work harder as opposed to throw me off my game – which I am assuming that is what they were trying to do.”
She has always played striker, ever since a tiny child. Hall found Sunset teammate Jayme Farrell to be “very energetic in midfield and never stops running” which was useful for her.
Hall also praised another midfielder, Karlie Cross, for knowing where to place the ball for her.
“Also, Mary Martin fed me some great balls in overtime – including the one that led to the final goal.”
Hall certainly knows her football, having played for a club team in Oakville, Ontario for years and then for Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario for five years. She captained the university for three years and was All-Canadian in that time.
Hall teaches at Cayman International School with Sunset stalwart Gisela “GG” Gamba who recruited her for the side.
“I was looking forward to playing with GG but I discovered after the first practice that she isn’t actually playing due to injury.”
Hall turned the Scholars defense inside out with her weaving runs and deft touches and says she wants to get fitter and regain her touch.
“For the last few years my touch and finish have been really off so I am hoping to continue to work on that. I would also like to get to know my teammates and learn how to best set them up.”
Besides work and football there is not much time and energy for anything else for the mother of two small girls, but Hall has been looking for a frisbee league or pickup setup as she played competitive Ultimate Frisbee in Canada. “But so far I haven’t been able to find one.”
She also used to be a competitive downhill ski racer and coach.
Hall is coy about her age despite a work rate better than most of the youngest on the pitch. “Put it this way, I was probably one of the oldest on the field.”
Sunset have been the dominant team for years and with the addition of Hall, Scholars, Elite Sports Club and Alliance will have a hard time to topple them this term.
Sunset start the defence of their league title against Elite, at the North Side ground, on Oct. 25, kickoff 5 p.m.
Hall is pleasantly surprised with the football culture here. “There is a football craze in the Caymans,” she said. “It seems that everyone plays here.”
She finds the rules to be extremely strict though. She had never played the subbing rule that once you are subbed out, you cannot go back in.
Cayman’s sense of theatre amused her too. “The whole procession at the start of the game was pretty over the top.”
Seems like she will take a while to get accustomed to her new football environment.