Bristol & West [1-0] South Gloucestershire
Written by: Dave Vernon
There was a buzz in the air as Bristol and West’s famous mixed side gathered to face South Gloucestershire HC in Thornbury on a pleasant Sunday morning, having won both of their previous outings 16-1 on aggregate. Captains Ellie and Si warned of a more formidable opposition this time around though, and at the starting whistle the B&W team were taking nothing for granted.
The early exchanges saw South Glos pile on the pressure – moving the ball quickly and winning an early short. Bristol's defence soaked this up unfazed, and gradually found their groove, with some rapid counter-attacks rocking the South Glos defence, and Dave crashing a shot off the inside of the post to announce Bristol and West’s arrival in the match.
The B&W front line of Annabel, Rachel, Molly and Joe kept up their fantastic runs to stretch the South Glos back line and open up the game. The intensity did not drop, and after a plethora of chances, saves and short corners at both ends of the pitch, the sides headed to the dugout for half time with the score still 0-0, but not before Molly took a point-blank defensive clearance straight to the thigh!
The second half started like the first, with South Glos the quicker of the two teams to find their stride. Some stoic defending from Ollie and Joy, and epic work from Rob and Lauren at wingback kept Bristol and West in the game. Meanwhile, the entire midfield was devoted to reining in a mysterious player known (and dressed) as “Owsley” – obviously Team GB are taking a week or two off before the Olympics.
After soaking up the best of what South Glos had to throw at them, Bristol decided it was time to turn the screw. Rachel was inches from making it 1-0 with a deflection, Annabel’s effort from a well-worked short was miraculously kept out by the keeper, and Sarah couldn’t quite squeeze the ball home after waltzing to the p-spot from the edge of the D.
Moving into the last quarter of the game, Bristol’s opponents had tired with the relentless pace of the game, and B&W smelled blood. With the clock ticking down, Dave squeezed through the defence and found Joe at the back post, who expertly tucked it home.
Bristol only had to hold on for the last ten minutes; the game became stretched as South Glos searched for an equaliser with some weaving dribbles from midfield, but finding nothing but Bristol sticks and disappointment. The game was expertly seen out, and on the final whistle two beleaguered sides were quick to praise each-other after a well-fought match.
Another fantastic performance from a Bristol and West mixed side now poised for a 4-in-4 record if they can see off OBs in their final match. Come and cheer the side on - 12pm Sunday 11th July at The Castle School, Thornbury.
Onwards and upwards!
Player of the match: Annabel Jeffries