Updated: Oct 3, 2022
1st October 2022
Firebrands 5 [3-1] Bristol & west 5
Report by: Andy McCann
We started the day at the top of the table, thanks to our alphabetical dominance in the league. We were dreaming of a place in Europe, but would we end up in a relegation battle by the end of matchday one?
The start was ominous – a drizzly afternoon away from home, and we worried about being outclassed by a remarkably good school game on the pitch before us. The new look fives lined up with a mixture of fresh and weathered faces, and also Matt Watt who decided to cycle over 100k before the match. Would he bring the glory of Wiggins or the scandal of Armstrong? Time would tell.
Our start was not the most auspicious. Joe in goal expertly watched a shot hit the post in the first few minutes, his keeping instincts having become finely honed during the pre-season. An early goal we conceded from a well-placed attacker could have led to a torrent, but luckily Dave was able to dribble his way into the D and score a corker. Congratulations to a third of our Matts for providing the assist.
At the end of the half the opposition were in the middle of a promising attack, so a very welcome whistle heralded the half-time Huddle where another third of our Matts provided an inspirational pep-talk.
The second half brought more effort and some excellent individual performances. Simon made an inspired goal line save at shoulder height in his first competitive game for Bristol. Joe in goal also made some excellent saves, with great reflexes to dramatically deflect the ball away.
Matt Swannell made some expert interceptions, with an unusual amount of flair. Seemingly wearing shoes made of banana skins, he slid into at least half a dozen tackles for no tactical reason whatsoever. He was diving more than Tom Daley playing as a striker for Italy. He somehow managed to fall more than the pound this week which is quite the achievement.
We won several penalty corners however were unable to convert any. This is an area that we will continue to work on during the season, as this may be the key to snatching victories.
Dave almost managed to live up to his TV channel namesake and run a repeat of his first goal, however his shot sailed into the goal from a foot outside the circle so was ruled out.
Unfortunately, we conceded two penalty corner goals which left us with a hill but not a mountain to climb. With thirteen seconds on the clock, one of the opposition gave Clive’s legs a little cuddle while he was trying to take a quick free hit. A little remonstrating with the umpire could have made things turn Clively, but tensions calmed and we saw out a respectable 3-1 defeat.
Matt Watt provided some words of wisdom and encouragement, and as a team we have reasons to be optimistic heading into the rest of the season. Confusingly, Matt has appointed himself the local priest as well as a professional cyclist so delivered us the parish notices. Let’s hope his sermon next week delivers us a first home victory of the season.
Equally important as the results on the pitch the refreshments after the game also require consideration. The Tea M O review found a jacket potato with beans and cheese. Warm, nutritious, gets the job done and caters for the vegetarians. 8/10.
Man of the match: Simon Black
Defender of the day: Joe Pring
Aubergine of the day: Clive Skelton
Written by Andrew McCann