26th November 2023
Bristol & West Jaspers 3 [4-3] Wick 2
Report by Joe John
With the low winter sun dipping below the horizon at the Mangotsfield astro, an excited crowd gathered in anticipation to watch an on-form Bristol & West Jaspers 3rd team attempt to cause an upset against an unbeaten Wick side.
As the 3s players finished their warmup, there was fire in the eyes and a sense that victory essential to stay in the running for promotion as we approach the Christmas break. With the team short of a goalkeeper - captain Rachel dropped from her attacking position to "pad-up" and take her place between the sticks. The spectators' nerves were quickly settled as they watched our diminutive keeper confidently swat away shots in the warmup. The crowd swelled to double figures, the umpires split to either end and the game got underway.
The match started at a fast pace, with fluid play from both sides. Good passing from both teams showed why they occupy the top spaces in the league. Every one of these passes from the home side was cheered enthusiastically by the home crowd, who could see early on that an upset could be on the cards.
The volume was lifted as the B&W team made the breakthrough, with Becca tucking one past the Wick keeper. Inspired by taking the lead the Jaspers girls pushed for a 2nd going 2-0 courtesy of another of our young guns Anna.
With the attackers firing it was the turn of our stand in keeper/captain to shine. As the opposition turned up the tempo, Rach was called into action making some confident saves to deny the Wick forward line - much to the delight of the substitutes on the sidelines. It was only when the Wick strikers honed their accuracy and started finding the corners that the B&W goal was finally breached.
As soon as the opposition hopes were lifted, they were dashed by the work of our ever-threatening front line. Anna rolling it through to Becca from halfway, who in a moment of pure quality, drove left past two defenders, before opening her stance flick the ball high past the keeper's left hand. 3-1 up - the fans delirious!
As the tension grew, the coaches paced the sidelines and it was the Wick gaffer who took her chance to celebrate at the end of the half. Having strode past the onlooking B&W spectators, the opposition coach watched on as her team dispatched a short corner past Rachel's outstretched toe. A cry of "BOOM" echoed around the Mangotsfield pitch - Wick tails were up as the teams regrouped for halftime.
Bristol & West started the 2nd half in the same way as the first. Storming out of the blocks with another driving run from Becca, finding Frankie to sweep home a fourth. The crowd went wild - replying with a "BOOM" of their own ! 4-2. The rest of the half proved a nervous affair, particularly with Wick pulling back another with a goal mouth scramble for 4-3.
Minutes felt like hours as the wasps held the fort, defending resolutely to hold back waves of Wick attacks. But the girls managed the game superbly and eventually the final whistle came, sparking jubilant scenes both on and off the pitch as the players shook hands to acknowledge a competitive and enjoyable game of hockey.
With the team finding their form, juniors improving week-on-week and quality arriving throughout the club, the 3s can expect to be fighting it out for the top spot after Christmas.
Goals: Becca x2, Anna, Frankie