20th November 2022
Cheltenham [2-4] Bristol & West
Report by: Oli Nevin
Following the success of two consecutive mixed summer league victories, Bristol and West decided to raise the stakes, stepping onto the national stage with entry into the 2022-23 England Hockey Championships. It was truly a case of "go big or go home" as an elite mixed squad made the journey north up the M5 for our first game of the cup against Cheltenham.
The uncertainty of the quality of opposition lead to a quiet warm up where we got to grips with the rules of Mixed hockey and worked on some short corners, the first of which resulted in Lus stopping the ball outside the D beautifully with his face. We were ready!
Cheltenham started brightly as we feared and had a number of chances in and around the circle, however resolute defending stopped the ball going in.
Lizzy battled hard against a skilful midfield linking up with Olivia down the right to create our first foray into the opposition half only to culminate in Joe tripping up having lost his balance dancing down the sideline.
We remained resolute and managed to move the ball up the pitch through Sarah and Charlie who were able to give Claudia, Lus and Joe space to create chances in the D.
Whilst at times frustrating, you have to give Lus credit for the stick work and ability to put the ball in the back of the net. first chance he got in the D and slid it past the keepers left foot to make it 1-0 to the mighty orange. Buzzing!
The goal gave us the belief that we could compete against a threatening Cheltenham side, with everyone confident in each others ability to maintain possession and cause them issues at the back.
We began to find holes in the midfield and create further chances which lead to Fish flicking it at goal from a tight angle only for the keeper to deflect it onto the post. Shout out to both Fish and Liv who received approximately 9 minutes notice and gave up their Sundays to come and play away in Cheltenham! Heroes!
Cheltenham created a number of short corners resulting in one of the men firing it past helpless Laura in goal, a quick word with the umpire and the goal was chalked off as it was deemed the first strike at goal! A let off!
As the half drew to a close Cheltenham thought they had got back into the game having creamed the ball at goal from the top of the circle only for Olivia to stop the ball on the line and win a free hit for the team! Well the umpire saw things differently and awarded a short corner!
Unfortunately my competitiveness got the better of me which resulted in the umpire brandishing a green card which quickly turned into a yellow as I attempted to explain the laws of physics much to the disappointment of my team mates who recounted my pre match words of ‘let’s enjoy it and have fun’. Sorry guys!
The half time whistle sounded and we went into the break 1-0 up.
Having received words of encouragement from Captain Ellie at half time we raced out of the blocks with Lus firing in his second on the reverse to jubilant cheers from our two supporters on the sideline.
A second quickly followed as Lusmore waltz past several defenders from the sideline and fired it past in identical fashion on his reverse rippling the net! 3-0 and cruising!
Cheltenham worked hard throughout and finally scored the goal they deserved following a breakdown in communication between Nevin and Rob at the short corner! 3-1 .
Cheltenham now back in the game responded pushing players high penning us into the corners! Disco Dave had other ideas launching a ball from the back which was expertly taken on the reverse by Claudia who drove down the wing, turned their best player inside out, before passing it through to Joe who slid it across to Sarah to slap back post for Fish to tap in! A real team goal which epitomised the confidence and belief we had in each other. 4-1
Goal of the day! Dave > Claudia > Joe > Sarah > Fish . That's how you play mixed hockey!
Cheltenham battled to the end scoring a great individual goal to bring the score line back to 4-2, whilst things got a little nervy at the back, our player of the match Laura kept us ahead with save after save!
The final whistle went and we march on to the second round of the cup!
Goals: 3 x Lusmore , 1 x Fish
Thanks to Sarah Goddard for the photos!