29th January 2023
Bristol & West Mixed [3-2] Royal Wootton Bassett Mixed
Report By Rob Hazelwood
After months of postponements, delays, and ignored availability requests, Sunday saw the arrival of the highly anticipated mixed cup second round fixture between Bristol and West and Royal Wootton Bassett.
Feeling fresh and well rested, West's players arrived by foot, car, and scooter, but were stopped in their tracks by their first obstacle of the afternoon, a locked pitch. Twenty minutes of standing around in the drizzle while making futile attempts to contact the caretaker revealed that heads weren’t as clear as first assumed, as tales were told of cocktails, house parties, and 8:30 am bedtimes.
With dreams of a Lee Valley final seeming far away, West began their warmup in the car park, before returning to the pitch to discover that the other gate was unlocked. Had a stealthy caretaker slipped past while nobody was looking, or had the gate simply been unlocked the whole time? Either way, it was time to put last night’s antics aside and focus on the hockey as Captain Sarah delivered her pre-match address, informing the team that in the event of a draw the tie would be settled with shuffles.
The game began with Bristol & West struggling to find their footing, and before long they were in trouble. Coming into the fixture on the back of a 10-0 thrashing of Robbies, Wootton Bassett are a team who know how to score, and they soon showed this today as a strike from top-D was neatly turned in on the back post past a full stretch Daz.
West were not ready to give up yet though and rallied well, managing to claw their way back into the game. Several chances came and went before goal-scoring aficionado Lus found the back of the net, putting West on the board, 1-1.
West were now up and running, and none more so than Becca, who weaved through the opposition defence with a majestic turn, before slipping the ball across for Dan to put the home team into the lead.
Unfortunately for West, Wootton Bassett delivered a resurgence of their own, starting the second half well with a string of short corners. West defended valiantly, but eventually the visitors were able to find the backboard with a well-placed reverse strike, bringing the scores level once more.
As shuffles loomed West pushed hard to retake the lead with centre-back Rob even joining the action in the opposition D, elegantly taking the ball past a defender before what must have been a rogue gust of wind swept him off his feet, earning him the honour of writing this match report.
With only minutes to go West were granted a final opportunity as the ball broke to Lus high up the pitch. Slipping the ball past the last defender he squared up the keeper and… stick tackle! The diving goalie had clattered the striker’s stick, leaving the umpires no choice but to give a penalty flick. With no hesitation up stepped Lus to convert the flick and complete his second hat trick of the tournament.
Player of the Match: Becca
Line-up: Becca Whone, Charles Grant, Claudia Dark, Daniel Lusmore, Darren Ashley, David Cadman, Hannah Biggs, Joe John, Matt Fish, Megan Long, Natalie Turner, Oli Nevin, Olivia Gold, Rob Hazelwood, Sarah Wingent