7th October 2023
Yate 1 [1-2] Bristol & West 2
Report by: Will Madge
The Mighty Orange made their first away trip to Yate on an unseasonably hot October afternoon. It was enough to prompt stand-in skipper Nevin to whack out the SPF, whilst Moore remained confused by the changeable British conditions.
Following a rousing team talk, the high spirits were temporarily dampened by a series of early attacks from the Yate forward line. B&W struggled to play out of the half, conceding several D entries, but the defensive line held firm and the opposition were denied. Had the warm-up omitted 'the crab', who knows what could have happened in those crucial opening minutes.
B&W settled into the match and the ball was pleased to be seeing the other end of the pitch. Breaks on either side saw some potential opportunities and the game remained finely in the balance. This is more than could be said for Moore's temperament, who was clearly set on a mission to convert hockey into a contact sport. The umpires were not amused and verbal warnings were issued.
That said, it was Moore's quick thinking on an Orange long corner that eventually broke the deadlock. Faster than the Wallabies could exit the World Cup, Faerber launched a dreamy pass into the Aussie, who with a deft touch deflected the ball straight into the goal. No-one was more excited than Manton, as the fruits of his WhatsApp post unfolded before his very eyes. The half closed at 1-0.
Yate resumed the second with the same bitter determination and were soon rewarded with a short corner. A sense of unease grew on the sidelines, justified as the ball was returned to the injector and guided past the post. 1-1 and a seed of hope was planted in the minds of the equalisers.
The half continued in the same vein as the first and the closely fought battle persisted. Sadly, there are always casualties in war. The newly married McKay was delighted to be back on the pitch after a hiatus from competitive hockey, but in a bid to get the most from his National Insurance contributions, was once again dispatched to the A&E department. Fingers crossed that his finger recovers quickly and the team wish him a speedy recovery.
As the half drew towards a close, the growing crowd was bolstered by Orange support as news of the contest trickled through the socials. A perfectly executed attacking press saw Yate under pressure, and angered by one too many teenagers' elbows in the ribs, Madge stepped forwards to challenge an uneasy pass. With the ball secured, and dancing up the sideline like Anton Du Beke in his prime, he fired a pass towards the back post where Cooper was quickly approaching. The man can't open a screw top beer unassisted but he needed no further help with this one. Yate dejected, B&W elated. 2-1 with less than 10 mins to go.
Yate once again refused to give in and resumed their attacking onslaught. A nail biting switch of play between the two teams and the oppo found themselves with a short corner. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was Nevin's chirping of the rules at the umpires, but at this point the decisions became somewhat questionable. Madge was sent to the half way line following an 'early' break from the line and B&W were forced to defend light. A few minutes later, another short corner was awarded courtesy of an unauthorised flying Orange stick. Madge, sure to keep even the tip of his shoe lace behind the line, one again prepared for the injection. No-one could believe it when the whistle sounded to penalise the same faux pas. Trudging to the half way line, unaware of the impending DOD vote, he protested the decision. The post-match VAR review clearly showed that the umpires called it correctly.
With the final whistle sounding and Yate crowding around the Orange D, it was all or nothing for the hosts. Manton was having none of it. The ball was parried away and the contest drew to a close. A thrilling match that promises an equally challenging reverse fixture, but for now, B&W climb to 2nd in the table off the back of two opening wins.
Goals: Cooper, Moore
Assists: Madge, Faerber