Bristol & West 2 [7-3] Bridgend
Report by Joe John
After a strong start to the season, the men's 2nd XI looked to repeat the success of their previous fixture, with a second match in a row at the unseasonably warm Fortress Ridings. Their opponent, a strong Bridgend side, brought plenty of passion with them across the Severn to ensure a fiery contest.
Our welsh opponents were greeted by a trademark fast start, as Bristol & West looked to control the game and attack with pace. But Bridgend didn't lie down, fighting hard in the tackle and for every decision.
The breakthrough game 15 minutes into the game with Jonny Hall penetrating the D and lifting the ball over an onrushing keeper for an obliging Joe John to tap home. Shortly after, a breakaway move started by Dave "Crocs" Vernon and finished with a top-D strike from Joe, saw the Bristol team gain control of the game.
But with the memory of our opening game, the home team knew the importance of increasing the scoreline before half time. Enter Alex Law, who underlined his Fantasy Hockey credentials with a quick fire brace of his own, including a deft deflection from a ball fired into the D.
At half-time, our injured skipper was delighted - 4 goals up, the boys in orange looked to be coasting. But, we knew that the Bridgend outfit would come out fighting in the second half and sure enough, they threw everything at the game as they pushed forward with spells of sustained pressure. In the opening minutes, a breakaway attack saw one of the Bridgend forwards bearing down on goal, before being unceremoniously flattened by Josh "Chopper" De Witt. The tension was palpable, as the away team was sure the resulting penalty stroke would be their way back into the match. But as quickly as their hope emerged, it was swatted away by the strong left hand of Wayne "The Cat" Manton, as he searched for that so far elusive clean sheet.
The remainder of the game was an open, back-and-forth affair, with converted chances and quick fire replies from both teams. Three goals from the welsh squad were matched by three of our own, with a spectacular overhead finish from Alex "Lawless" Law to secure his hat-trick, a mazy run and flicked finish from Jake Seager and an expertly drag flicked short from man of the match Max Roberts.
In a game that provided it's own challenges, the 2s kept their focus to deliver another 3 points and climb up to the 2nd place in Division 2 West. Next time out, a short trip to Filton to face UWE.
Score: Bristol & West 2 [7-3] Bridgend
Goals: Joe John (2), Alex Law (3), Jake Seager, Max Roberts
Man of the Match: Max Roberts
D.O.D: Little Ross Osborne (for a great clearance of the line - immediately followed by pushing the ball deliberately behind)