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Bristol & West Hockey Club

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3rd Team Match Reports

Bridgend A 1 v 1 B&W B, 16th March 2019

Another drawn game in Wales today that we should have one, this time 1-1 at Bridgend.  After watching the Bridgend goalie go through an agility warm-up before the match I couldn’t decide if it was just show.  No, he was the real deal and proceeded to make many fine saves during the game.  Bridgend took the lead against the run of play from a short corner.  We had many promising opportunities to equalise but the final pass was often found wanting or the goalie stepped in.  We desperately needed something from the game and there was palpable relief in the second half when Don finally breached Bridgend’s defences with a cheeky reverse underneath the keeper from close range.  Two controversial decisions followed.  The first when Tom Varney was stick tackled by the keeper when he was just about to score – after consultation the umpires decided it was a 16.  The second when a shot deflected off the keeper’s pads onto a foot on the line.  Decision by the nearest umpire – P-flick.  Joe John manfully strode up to take it.  Hang on, the umpire at the other end of the pitch noticed that the ball was going to miss even though the defender was inside the post.  Decision change – short corner.  Joe kept driving into the D until the end but we just couldn’t find the net again.  Man-of-the-Match for another masterful performance in midfield – Ross Williams.

 

Whitchurch B 3 v 6 B&W B, 2nd March 2019

A clinical performance today, winning 6-3 away to Whitchurch B.  After dominating early possession and generating several chances, guess what?  Yep, 2-0 down within the space of five minutes.  Fortunately we know what to do in this position so we pulled one back after Dan’s short corner flick hit a foot on the line.  With the team having missed four flicks in a row, this wasn’t a foregone conclusion.  However, Dan made sure by scuffing the flick and dribbling it to the right of the keeper.  Dan nearly equalised straight after when he hit the side netting.  A few minutes later the grand master showed how to do it as Don intercepted a 16, took one step into the D and powered the ball into the right hand corner.  Like shelling peas!  The lead came from a move down the left when Charlie found Dan who meandered along the baseline before slotting the ball past the keeper.  Miraculously, into the break 3-2 up.  The next goal was crucial and it came our way when Matt found Joe in the D and he peeled right, despatching a strong shot into the far corner.  Chances came and went for both teams but the real cushion came when the ball broke to Charlie on the left of the D and his (seemingly) goal-bound shot was tickled in my Joe.  Our sixth came when Matt’s ever-dangerous aerial found Dan on the edge of the D and he juggled the ball on his stick a couple of times before knocking it over the head of the advancing goalie (who must have felt a lemon).  Whitchurch pulled one back at the end but we were clear.  Man of the Match for giving us an extra dimension with his enormous aerials was Matt.

B&W B 6 v 5 Stroud, 23rd February 2019

An epic encounter and huge win over Stroud at home yesterday, winning by the odd goal in 11.  A game I thought we had an outside chance of winning had a familiar start when we made two mistakes in the first five minutes and found ourselves 2-0 down.  Ironically because we have been in this position many times, we didn’t panic.  We pulled one back when Brian made the best of an errant injection at a short, firing in a shot from the right which Mark skilfully deflected into the net.  Back in the game briefly before a powerful flick from a short gave Stroud their two goal cushion back.  We pulled one back before half-time when Josh T drove into the D from the right and fired into the net off a defender.  For once we started the second half on fire.  The equaliser came from a Dan flick at a short, we took the lead when Josh T put the ball on a plate for Dan, and Josh T then put the ball on a plate for Joe.  5-3 and did we dare dream?  Stroud came back strongly and won short after short, scoring one and then equalising from another with a couple of minutes to go.  Should we hold out for a valuable point?  No, we went for it and with 40 seconds to go, Josh T played a powerful reverse across the face of the goal which the defender failed to control, with the ball bouncing invitingly to Charlie on the left post.  Delirious celebrations followed and the clock had run out for Stroud.  Man of the Match for a text-book performance at right back – Josh de Witt.

Gwent 6 v 0 B&W B, 16th February 2019

Beaten by a better team today, 6-0 away to top-of-the-table Gwent.  Completely one-sided?  No, of course not but the ball just wouldn’t go in their net.  Gwent were good, particularly in the way they controlled the ball on a bouncy pitch, but the real difference between the teams was how clinical they were.  Four goals from short corners is impressive.  2-0 down at half-time from goals at shorts but just about still in touch.  However, three goals in 10 minutes put paid to any hope of getting back into the game.  We had a few shorts in the second half and one of Matt’s flicks hit a player on the line but another short was given.  Disappointing because Gwent didn’t need help from the umpires.  Matt’s aerials from defence proved a useful outlet and gave us a different dimension but perhaps we didn’t gamble enough on the defender missing them.  At times we played some really nice hockey, building fluid attacks down the right and 6-0 certainly doesn’t tell the whole story.  Man of the Match was Wayne for stepping into goal and making some excellent saves.

 

Whitchurch C 6 v 2 B&W B, 9th February 2019

It may sound strange to hear but despite going down 6-2 away to Whitchurch C yesterday, it was a pretty good performance!  They were a side packed with players who have clearly played at a higher level in the past.  The first 10 minutes was mesmerising with the movement and structure of their play and they cruised to a 3-0 lead.  At that point it was difficult to see a way out from a royal pummelling.  However, we started to get some composure into our play and created a number of chances (and won several shorts) before another bit of individual skill saw them go 4-0 up.  Just before half-time, good work from Charlie on the left set up Curtis in front of goal and as he was smothered by the goalie the ball rolled loose to Jo who slotted it in with a reverse.  4-1 down at half-time but it did feel that the aged legs of Whitchurch were slowing down.  4-2 within a few minutes of the restart when Mark Sullivan stormed down the right and played a ball to Charlie on the far post who this time looked to see where the goal was before slotting in from close range.  A minute later we so nearly pulled another one back when Edd lunged to put the ball agonisingly past the post.  Whitchurch were by now confined to playing on the counter-attack as we penned them into their half, winning short after short.  It took another piece of individual skill for their fifth and a poor umpiring decision (and a stinging Andy Bryce thigh) for their sixth.  We came away having done ourselves justice and imagining how it would have felt to have come back from 4-0 down.  Man of the Match was Andy Bryce for staunch defending (including a clearance off the line) and for constantly finding acres of space when attacking.

Penarth A 4 v 4 B&W B, 26th January 2019

A bizarre game with many twists and turns, eventually honours ending even, 4-4 away to Penarth A.  The first twist was that Mike Lilley’s lack of sat-nav meant that we had to play the first 20 minutes without a keeper.  Wayne stood rather forlornly in goal, telling himself over and over that he wasn’t wearing pads or a helmet.  We crafted the first couple of chances with Dan unlucky both times.  We did eventually go 1-0 down after about 10 minutes from a deflection rather than a straight shot or a flick (which might have been expected with no keeper).  Against the script we fought back and equalised when Joe fed Dan in the D and he tucked a neat reverse into the far corner.  We then had the audacity to take the lead when the ball broke to Mark at the top of the D and he sent a shot flying towards the top right corner which Joe instinctively flailed his stick at, deflecting it at head height across the line.  Finally, enter Mike Lilley, gob-smacked to find we were 2-1 up without him!  With the confidence of a keeper, we moved up a gear and Dan made it three with a searing reverse from the left edge of the D, and completed his hat-trick with a flick from a short.  Cruising at half-time and surely there was no way back for Penarth?  They came out playing like the team we expected to play and scored two quick goals by piling through the middle and firing balls into the D, one of which was deflected in and the other broke for an easy tap-in.  After the initial onslaught we resumed generating short corners through Joe drawing terrible fouls although we just couldn’t find the net despite some gilt-edged chances (notably an open goal followed by a missed P-flick, no names).  The umpires even tried to help by carding several of their players but we couldn’t make the extra players count.  Penarth equalised with a few minutes to go with – you guessed it – another deflection.  Man-of-the-Match for running his socks off and playing in a different position, Mark Lawson.

B&W B 5 v 4 Wotton-under-Edge B, 19th January 2019

A nail-biting finish to today’s game, eventually emerging victorious 5-4 at home to Wotton-under-Edge B.  The two teams at the bottom of the division stood toe-toe for 70 minutes like gladiators, never separated by more than one goal.  For a change we didn’t give our opponents a two goal lead but took the lead ourselves after Joe had driven around the baseline and laid it on a plate for Dan.  The lead was short-lived after an idiot in orange gave the ball away – what was he thinking? – and a shot into the D was deflected around Mike.  We had a number of short corners but despite a little bit of practise at training, execution remained mediocre.  We went back into the lead when Ross picked a pocket in midfield and rolled the ball into the D for Dan to hit first time into the far corner.  The celebrations had barely died down before Wotton equalised and then took the lead, both resulting from loose balls from our players (no need to emulate the captain).  3-2 down at half-time but a time for cool heads.  A short corner flick from Dan gave us the equaliser and then Ed roughed someone up in midfield, which the umpire deemed legitimate, found Dan in the D who squared the ball (unselfishly J) to Ross who couldn’t miss.  But of course Wotton didn’t lie down and they equalised themselves from a powerful flick at a short.  The stage was set for a final Dan flick, the best of the afternoon, leaving us 7 or 8 minutes to see the game out.  Man of the Match was Dan, partly for his goal scoring exploits, partly for his unselfish assist and partly for staying off the pitch for the last few minutes as we looked to see the game out.

Cardiff & Met D 2 v 2 B&W B, 12th January 2019

Things were set up so well – the strongest squad we’ve had this season, a beautiful blue pitch and we even threw in a warm-up.  However, 2-0 down after five minutes was not how it was meant to be.  (If anyone knows how this keeps happening, let me know.)  One goal was a tap-in at the far post, the other from someone dancing through the middle.  We then proceeded to dominate much of the possession in the first half and had shots cleared off the line legally and illegally, the latter resulting in a P-flick which we failed to convert.  Several short corners were squandered for good measure.  The first goal after half-time would be crucial and it came our way when the ball found its way back to Josh during a short corner that had gone wrong and he swept it under the keeper.  Another P-flick quickly followed after a deliberate foot on the line but despite a change in taker, we couldn’t score.  Within a few minutes we finally gained parity when Don hit a screamer across the D into the far corner.  By this time Cardiff’s discipline had gone and on top of a couple of yellows they had received, one of their players was shown a red for saying nasty things to Josh J.  Down to 10 men and Cardiff defended for their lives.  Another yellow and they were temporarily down to 9 men.  Surely the winner had to come?  No, it just wouldn’t happen and the bouncy pitch came to Cardiff’s rescue several times more.  Man of the Match was Wayne for a commanding performance at right back.

B&W B 4 v 2 Bridgend A, 1st December 2018

This was our best performance of the season so far in terms of passing, control, finishing and work-rate – a winning recipe.  It wasn’t all plain sailing though as we went behind after giving the ball away in midfield.  The ball was fed up to a striker who found the by-line and fed the ball back at 45 degrees to his colleague to finish – a bit like we’ve been doing in training!  Within a minute, however, we were back on level terms after Joe had curved a run round from the right into the D to find Dan who volleyed in.  The second goal came soon after when their keeper wiped Dan out and Dan sent the keeper the wrong way from the resultant P-flick.  More joy followed soon after when Andy popped up to finish a short corner.  3-1 at half-time and a time for cool heads, knowing that the next goal was crucial.  The second half continued in the same vein but we couldn’t find that elusive goal until Reef rode a few challenges as he cut across the D from the left and calmly slotted home.  4-1 up but I just couldn’t tame the rampant mustangs in front of me, hungry for more goals, despite frequent remonstrations.  Bridgend pulled a consolation goal back but there was only ever going to be one winner.  A real team performance but Man-of-the-Match went to Joe John for turning the game in a 15 minute spell in the first half.

Wotton-under-Edge A 3 v 2 B&W B, 24th November 2018

Before today’s match Wotton were unbeaten in six games but they were certainly glad to hear the final whistle today.  Despite playing three-quarters of the game with 10 men (due to six greens and one yellow, because we’re clearly one of the dirtiest, ill-disciplined teams in the league), we pushed them hard.  We went behind when a mis-hit reverse shot hit me at the top of the thigh and we conceded from the resulting short.  (Apparently the top of the thigh is classed as below the knee in Wotton.)   The second quickly followed and we found ourselves with the usual 2-0 deficit at half-time.  We had struggled with our control on the bouncy pitch and as a result the balls out to the strikers seemed to keep coming back.  We pulled a goal back when Edd Wood, despite being constantly fouled, managed to squeeze a reverse into the far corner.  The next goal was crucial and it went Wotton’s way when the young striker was through on goal and swung and missed, nearly taking Wayne’s head off.  The ball dribbled through and was finished by the other striker.  (Apparently a swing and a miss is ok in Wotton if it means you score.)  We never lie down and Rob Hazelwood went on another foray down the right, found Edd Wood who passed a bouncing ball into the D for Mark to smash into the net.  Any further attacks were snuffed out by more and more bemusing umpiring decisions.  Notable performances from Ross Williams and Wayne but Man-of-the-Match was Rob Hazelwood for excellent attacking play down the right (and for staying on the pitch).  Special thanks to Ollie for coming to support us when injured.

B&W B 2 v 2 Whitchurch B, 17th November 2018

Due to a couple of drop-outs in the morning we fielded the bare 11, fortunately against Whitchurch’s equally bare 11.  It became clear after the opening salvoes that there was something in the game for us but, not for the first time this season, we didn’t convert our chances and we entered the break 2-0 down.  Besides not finishing our chances, we seemed to be making the wrong decisions and giving the ball away cheaply on numerous occasions.  This continued into the second half but as our share of the possession increased we cranked up the pressure and it was only a matter of time before we pulled a goal back through a Dan straight hit from the top of the D.  The equaliser came from a short where Dan’s flick was too strong for the keeper’s parry and the ball span and looped into the net.  One or two chances came to win the game but it wasn’t to be.  Possibly two points lost in the end but we can’t be greedy although still drawing despite not playing well is promising.  Man of the Match was newbie, Alex, for industrious work down the left side of midfield and bursts of pace and flashes of skill that bode well for the future.

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