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Bristol & West Hockey Club

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3rd Team Match Reports

B&W B 4 v 1 Chippenham B, 24th March 2018

A bit of a tense game yesterday with a lot riding on it, but in the end a comfortable 4-1 victory at home to Chippenham B to clinch promotion.  After some early chances that were well saved by the keeper, it was beginning to look like one of those games where we were dominating possession but not getting the breakthrough.  Indeed, we had many short corners but rarely seemed to get anything clean away due to the fast runners.  The first goal finally game when the ball rebounded off the post (or was it the goal wheel?) and Dan pounced to sweep the ball in with a reverse.  A short corner at the half-time whistle saw us ring the D to create many options.  Of course, Dan received the ball and rather than pass decided to jink one way then the next to take out the two runners and calmly flicked the ball past the keeper.  The first goal after half-time was crucial and it came our way, the best goal of the game.  Ollie received the ball in defence and powerfully pushed the ball down the centre of the pitch to Dan, just left of centre.  Dan immediately – yes, immediately – played the ball forward to Joe on the left, who squared the ball into the D to find Curt sliding in to nutmeg the keeper.  Those knees will be sore today but worth the pain.  The Chippenham keeper – apparently only 15 years old – continued to make awesome saves for the remainder of the game, once to deny a Dan flick that was heading for the top left corner, when he suddenly appeared flying through the air at full stretch – probably the best save I’ve ever seen.  Dan had the last laugh though and completed his hat-trick from a lower flick into the side netting on the right.  Man of the match, Dan, scoring his fifth successive hat-trick for the team.

Royal Wootton Bassett A 2 v 6 B&W B, 17th March 2018

A comfortable (yet extremely uncomfortable) victory today, 6-2 away to Wootton Bassett A, the game having been played in 45mph winds with a wind chill of -8degC.  Most hands were numb before push-back and one of the Bassett players even tried to play in a hoody with his hood up, which was fine as long as the play was directly in front of him.  We nearly took the lead after 30 seconds when Dan tricked his way into the D only for the keeper to save.  A few chances subsequently went begging before Dan fed the ball in from the right which Curt let roll across his body with his back to the goal and finished with a diving reverse.  Soon after, Dan cruised into the D on the right and finished with a powerful flick.  The third came with a low reverse from Dan from top D.  Cruising at 3-0 but a comedy moment allowed Bassett  back into the game when an aerial was mis-controlled by yours truly and the striker mis-hit his cross-goal shot to allow the ball to bobble agonisingly into the opposite corner.  The usual formation tweak at half-time didn’t result in the usual outright dominance, but our fourth came when Dan completed his hat-trick after more trickery, and the fifth came when James danced into the D and swept a flick into the roof of the net.  To Bassett’s credit, they kept pressing really high and pulled another back after the ball was lost in midfield and their striker cleverly deflected past AD.  Just in case the rules were last goal wins, Don got in on the action with a strong shot from the top right of the D.  Before today, Bassett had scored 42 goals at nine home games and conceded only 13.  Shame.  Man of the match for a dominant game in midfield, James.

B&W B 8 v 1 Bath Buccs F, 10th March 2018

A potentially tricky fixture well negotiated today, winning 8-1 at home to Bath Buccs F, although the shine was taken off the victory by Joel’s broken jaw caused by a reckless point blank aerial attempt by a Buccs player.  After dominating early possession we cruised to a 2-0 lead, the first goal set up by Dan for Don, and the second set up by Joe for Don.  However, we then seemed to lose our way and couldn’t string two passes together.  After conceding a P-flick from a short, it looked like Buccs had found a way back in but AD gave their player the eyes and the ball flew past the post.  We managed to get to half-time without conceding before opting for the now familiar formation change.  Dan made it three from a flick at a short but then Buccs pulled one back almost immediately.  The fourth came after a flowing move down the right, Joe driving around the baseline and pulling the ball back for Don to hit in on the reverse.  The fifth came when a ball broke loose for Don to pounce on, and the sixth when Joe fed Dan in the D and he made no mistake.  Don pounced on another loose ball to make it seven and Dan completed the rout with another flicked short after the final whistle.  Five for Don, three for Dan, 54 goals between them for the 3s so far this season.  Not bad I suppose.  Man of the match shared between Patch and Joe for making our right-side unplayable in the second half.  Of course, the icing on the cake was West Wilts A losing 5-4 to Swindon A, meaning that we need to win both of our last two games to clinch promotion.

Devizes A 0 v 3 B&W B, 24th February 2018

An ugly win today.  I thought the rugby started later in the afternoon but obviously the umpires thought differently, allowing Devizes to play a rather agricultural style of hockey.  When it wasn’t rugby, it appeared to be football with nice footwork from both teams.  We took a while to settle down but eventually took the lead after Don swept low to reverse in after a duffed short.  We doubled the lead before half-time, again through Don as he jinked and flicked the ball past the keeper.  The customary formation change at half-time prevented Devizes from leaving their half very often, as we covered the pitch more evenly.  The only goal came after a move down the right found Don in the D but he couldn’t muster enough power in his shot to claim his hat-trick so Curtis had to make sure.  There was a debate at the end as to whether AD had touched the ball once or twice, which gives a measure of our dominance.  Man-of-the-match was a close-run thing but Phil pipped Joe after a solid performance anchoring the midfield and snuffing out Devizes’ best player in the second half.

Yate A 1 v 8 B&W B, 10th February 2018

We started briskly and took the lead when Don teed up Dan.  The second came after Jonny made an interception in midfield and burst forward, playing a one-two with Don before feeding Joel near the P-spot who made no mistake.  Don made it three from the second phase of a short, Dan made it five at the far post after a scramble, then Dan scored the sixth with a screaming reverse.  6-0 at half-time and cruising.  We were then hit by the second-half blues, as has happened a few times this season.  After we failed to score from a couple of shorts, Yate seemed to gain in confidence, having the audacity to score the next goal following a swing and a miss (which wasn’t deemed dangerous).  We quickly responded with a Tom Varney reverse then finished the scoring after good work from Jonny down the right saw him pick out Joel for a point-blank tap-in.  Man-of-the-match was a tie between Dan and Jonny.

B&W B 5 v 4 West Wilts A, 3rd Feb 2018

A must-win game today. And we did, 5-4 at home to high-flying West Wilts A who hadn’t lost since 14th October. A topsy-turvy game which saw us cruise to a 2-0 lead through goals from Stu Banks and Jonny Gray. West Wilts then showed why they had scored 84 goals so far this season. Two flowing moves and they had pulled the game back to 2-2 at half time. The second half started in much the same way and we were 4-2 down in a blink of an eye due to some more excellent passing and clinical finishing from their two strikers. There didn’t look to be any way back but the turning point came when a poor aerial from Stu hit one of their players in the head. Whilst Andy administered first aid, the team had a huddle and we changed our shape. In the following 20 minutes we played scintillating hockey. We immediately pulled a goal back when Don passed into Dan, the ball got deflected and Dan helped it over the top of the advancing keeper. The equaliser nearly came soon after when Joel dived for a Dan hit across the goal, narrowly missing. We didn’t have to wait long to pull level when Dan drove across the D from the right and finished with a reverse into the far corner. The winner was tantalisingly close to being scored when Tom nearly finished at the far post but from the resulting short, a left slip to Dan saw a flick burst the net in the far corner. A sixth nearly followed straight after when Dan was unable to convert at the far post. Absolutely rampant! Man-of-the-match was Jonny for boundless energy in midfield, breaking up play continually with low reverse picks.

Swindon A 4 v 3 B&W B, 27th Janiuary 2018

So near yet so far yesterday as we went down 4-3 away to division leaders Swindon A.  Fortunately for us the game before over-ran because there was no sign of our goalie, Mike Lilley.  The umpires were lenient and gave us a few minutes which was long enough for Mike to appear, having been given duff directions by a local (obviously connected to the Swindon hockey club).  The game started evenly but we went 1-0 down from a relatively soft shot on the right-hand side of the D.  For once, we had started well and were playing really controlled passing hockey, transferring the ball across the back and waiting for openings to appear.  The equaliser came with a bit of Dan brilliance, flicking over the keeper from a tight angle.  We went behind again from a soft goal when one of their players mis-controlled the ball in the D, wrong-footing everyone, and one of their strikers was quickest to the loose ball.  The equaliser came from a Dan flick at a short, then just before half-time we took the lead as Curtis swept in a bouncing pass from Dan.  3-2 up at half-time against the league leaders, and deservedly so!  We decided to keep the tactics the same at half-time but we weren’t able to cope with the initial onslaught from Swindon, conceding the equaliser within five minutes of the restart and going behind from a deflected short.  Swindon then sat deep and defended their lead, getting everyone behind the ball.  We had several shorts but we were unable to replicate the clinical finishing of the first half.  The writing was on the wall when we were denied a clear P-flick when the ball was stopped from going in by a defender’s leg. A good performance, very unlucky, but Swindon said we were the best side they’d played.  Man-of-the-match was Ross Williams for his tireless running in midfield and control of the game.

B&W B 8 v 1 UWE A, 20th January 2018

Probably the best performance of the season so far today, winning 8-1 at home to UWE A.  The hare and the tortoise springs to mind.  UWE were quick out of the blocks, winning short after short in the first 10 minutes, eventually taking the lead.  But hockey is a game of 70 minutes in which you need to take your chances, which is what we did.  We equalised very quickly through Dan, took the lead through Don (assist from Dan), extended the lead through Dan and scored a fourth from Joel as he latched onto a drilled diagonal ball from Dan.  4-1 at half-time, which was a little flattering given the balance of play.  The same tactical change as last week at half-time (a secret known only to 3s players) and we went out and scored four more – a P-flick from Don and a second-half hat-trick from Dan (including an awesome drag flick) to bring his tally for the game to five – touché, Don!  Perhaps the best goal of the game was a run from Dan starting in his own half where he just got to the ball before a UWE player on three separate occasions before he found Don in the D with a diagonal ball, then ran onto the right post to receive the ball back from Don for a tap-in.  Most noticeable today more than any other game was the passing and teamwork between the forwards – lovely to watch and long may it continue!  We may have scored eight but UWE had their chances and were thwarted on several occasions by AD in goal, who was outstanding today.  Also outstanding was Ollie, who was everywhere in defence and was voted best defender by UWE!  Man of the match shared today by Dan and Ollie for obvious reasons.

Swindon B 0 v 12 B&W B, 13th January 2018

A clinical performance today, winning 12-0 away to Swindon B.  Despite dominating early possession and creating several chances, there was a hint of relief when we finally opened the scoring after 15 minutes through Harvey. That broke the seal and we continued to play good hockey and notch up four more goals before half-time, Don and Curtis sharing the spoils.  Perhaps the best goal of the half saw Joe John driving around the baseline before pulling the ball back at 90 degrees for Curtis to slot in - just like in training!  5-0 at half-time and a bit of déjà vu – the identical half-time score to when we played Swindon B earlier this season.  However, unlike last time when we only scored one goal in the second half, this time we changed formation to create more width.  Stu Banks marked his return from three months travelling, finishing a left slip at a short, Joel volleyed in at the left post, Joe John creamed a reverse inside the right post, Don converted his second P-flick, looped a shot in from a short and finished another from short range to bring his haul to five goals for the match.  Joe John powered in a shot from top of the D just before the final whistle to complete the rout.  Unluckiest player of the day – Andy Bryce for tweaking his back whilst marauding down the wing.  Man-of-the-match for his pace, trickery, goals and assists – Joe John.

B&W B 2 v 3 City of Bath B, 16th December 2017

The City of Bath B team that turned up had obviously discovered the elixir of youth, because the average age of the team had reduced by about 15 years compared to when we played them in the first game of the season.  (Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that their 1s and 2s were not playing.)  Either way, we turned in a fantastic performance, losing by the odd goal in five.  It was clear from the whistle that we had our work cut out but we staunchly defended and managed to create several opportunities ourselves.  The deadlock was broken when a mishit reverse shot was partially blocked and deflected over Mike Lilley to a poacher waiting on the post.  However, we soon equalised when Don danced first left then right at a short before firing low into the bottom right corner.  1-1 at half-time and we changed shape slightly to counter the marauding Bath midfield.  Despite being more solid we went behind from a drag-flicked short from one of their three no. 9’s, then 3-1 down when another no.9 scored at the back post from a well-worked short.  We gave their third no.9 a few chances but Mike Lilley thwarted him on each occasion.  Most of their players had no numbers and wore T-shirts – curious that they decided to wear an away strip when we didn’t bother in the first match against them and there was no problem – can’t think why they did that. We made the last few minutes interesting when Don converted a P-flick after a Bath defender had stopped a shot on the line with his chest.  We then nearly equalised when Don span and shot, only for the keeper to make a good save.  Man of the Match – Mike Lilley.  A bit of fun ensued down the club afterwards when some of our 1s recognised some of the Bath 1s/2s – entertaining for us, embarrassing for them.  Our performance was honest and true – thank you to all who played.

B&W B 4 v 2 Wootton Bassett A, 9th December 2017

Honours even at the beginning of the match but we were the team to break the deadlock after Edd Wood was received the ball on the left edge of the D and fed a square ball to Joel who steered it past the keeper.  We made it two when Joel drove along the baseline on the right and managed to find Dan who duly tapped if from two yards.  Bassett were unlucky to have a goal from a short struck off following a conflab between the umpires.  We desperately wanted to kill the game off after half-time with a third goal but it was Bassett who scored from a short corner with a low flick.  Our two-goal cushion was regained when Don was put through, only to be taken out by the keeper.  With no-one else looking interested, Don converted the P-flick himself by cleverly ricocheting the ball between the keeper’s legs.  With constant subbing from the 16-strong Bassett team, we changed shape to see the game out but we were caught napping with a few minutes to go when a slap into our D found two Bassett players running to the far post to deflect in.  What could have been a tense last few minutes was alleviated when a neat one-two between Edd and Jonny allowed Jonny to slot the ball past the advancing keeper.  Man of the Match for great work all over the pitch – Lawrence.

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