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Bristol & West Hockey Club

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3rd Team Match Reports

B&W B 4 v 2 Devizes A, 18th November 2017

Despite dominating possession in the first half, we only went into the break 1-0 up following a pass from Gary into the D that Joel guided past the keeper.  Things were a bit more even in the second half but Don managed to deflect in a hard ball into the D from Andy.  2-0 up and we should have closed the game out but Devizes seemed to go up a gear and we conceded a goal right through the middle of the defence from top D.  We had a game on our hands but quickly snuffed out any threat through a sweeping shot from Joel which Don claims he tickled past the keeper, then Joel burst through across the top of the D slotting the ball over the advancing keeper.  Not for the first time this season we conceded straight from the restart but Devizes were never going to find a way back.

City of Bath C 1 v 4 B&W B, 11th November 2017

After ten minutes of intense pressure from us, Bath finally ventured into our half for the first time and somehow ran through the whole defence to bobble the ball into the net.  However, there was only going to be one winner and we continued to play some lovely hockey, extra men popping up all over the place, particularly Ollie on the right who was in rampant mood.  Ed Faulkner equalised from a left slip at a short, Curtis made it two when the ball sat up invitingly, Don slotted the third and Winge rounded the keeper and walked in the fourth, literally – a little like watching a lion play with its prey before eating it.  Jonny, playing his first game, made several bursts into the right of the D and was unlucky not to score on his debut.  Half-time came at just the right time for Bath and they came out with a different strategy in the second half, which was to pack the D with defenders no matter where the ball was on the pitch.  We had many more chances and their keeper made several saves, but it was difficult to be clinical with so many players in the D.  Despite the efforts of Andy Bryce to ask tie-breaker questions, joint Men of the Match were Curtis and Jonny.

B&W B 8 v 0 Yate A, 4th November 2017

After several chances in the first few minutes, it was clear that there was only going to be one winner.  Interestingly, we didn’t score for the first 15 minutes and didn’t score in the last 15 minutes – all our goals were compressed into 40 minutes either side of half-time.  First half goals came from Lawrence (finishing on the left post after Joel had hit the right post), Don (volley after Winge’s shot had hit the left post) and Winge (making no mistake from the right hand side of the D).  For once, we upped the pace in the second half and scored five more through Don (straight hit from P-spot following a square pass from Joe), Joel (deflection), Graeme (sniffing round the left post), Don (completing his hat-trick) and James (pile-driver into the side netting).  There was some really nice hockey in the second half, made easy by some good running into space and composed passing.  In truth, but for their keeper, we could have had many more!  The formation worked well but it wasn’t really tested.  Man of the Match was James, although Rich did look good as he ran for the ball at 16s to keep warm.

West Wilts A 6 v 3 B&W B, 28th October 2017

A rather perplexing 6-3 defeat away to West Wilts A today.  After an early lead when Ryan had played Joel through to slot the ball past the keeper, things suddenly unravelled.  Two mistakes and a harsh short corner award saw us 3-1 down at half-time.  The leaves all over our D, the treacherous conditions on the right of the pitch and some peculiar umpiring didn’t help.  Nevertheless, we all believed that we could still get back into the game.  The next goal was crucial; unfortunately it went to West Wilts after one of several short corners awarded in the second half that we completely disagreed with.  It got even worse when we allowed one of their players to dance through the defence, making it 5-1.  We pulled one back through new boy, Matt, at a short corner but then West Wilts made it 6-2 when we didn’t pick our players up top-D.  Matt scored an almost identical goal from our next short but the game was already over.  A game to forget.  Wayne did, however, provide West Wilts with target practise with his legs, being hit three times in about five minutes.  “Is that really the same guy?” they said!

B&W B 2 v 4 Swindon A, 21st October 2017

A good performance today despite going down 4-2 at home to Swindon A.  Probably a bit too much respect given to them at the beginning, much the same as last week, allowing them to move to a 2-0 lead by half-time.  The next goal was crucial and it came our way when Don converted a returned right slip at a short.  We then committed the cardinal sin by not switching back on and allowed them back up the pitch to score at the far post to regain their two-goal cushion.  We made it interesting for the last quarter of an hour when we scored from another short, this time a straight hit from Don.  Swindon, however, killed the game off after a foot that the umpire didn’t see resulted in a short.  Despite Wayne putting his ankle in the way (ouch!), the ball ended up in the goal from a solid straight strike.  This game proved that we will compete with any team in this division – we won more shorts and created as many chances.  There is a lot of promise in this team; we just need to wait for things to gel as we get used to the formation and playing together.

UWE A 2 v 5 B&W B, 14th October 2017

A fantastic turnaround today, winning 5-2 away to UWE B.  We struggled initially to find our rhythm against a youthful UWE side and after conceding two dubious short corners, we were 2-0 down.  That shock seemed to bring us to life and we started attacking with fluidity.  Two driving runs and assists from Gary Atterton brought two goals, first from Kevin as he slotted in from the right, then from Lawrence as he swept in also from the right.  2-2 at half time, then we never really looked in trouble apart from a top-corner save by Mike from a bullet reverse strike.  As we pressed, UWE sat very deep and we won a number of shorts, scoring from three of them.  First a straight hit from Ed (who somehow managed to find some remaining wood on his stick), then Don from a slip left, then Don again with another trademark roofed flick from eight yards. A special mention for Joe P, Wayne, Gary, Ryan and Kev who all stepped into the new formation for the first time and played really well.  Don tells me he remains top goal scorer…..

B&W B 6 v 0 Swindon B, 7th October 2017

A first win of the season today against a Swindon B side fielding a number of youngsters.  In our new-look formation we swept to a 5-0 lead by half-time.  Joel opened the scoring after bursting through from the left, Liam made it two from an acute angle, Ross scored on his debut with a flick (honest) from a short, Joel poached at the post to finish off a number 4 from a short, then Don made it five after pouncing on a rebound from a short.  Swindon sat very deep in the second half and it was hard to create chances in an often crowded D.  The only goal of the second half was a flick from Don that nearly took the roof of the net off.  Probably enough promise in the new formation to warrant wheeling it out again soon.

City of Bath 4 v 3 B&W B, 30th September 2017

A narrow defeat today going down 4-3 away to City of Bath B, in a game where there was never more than one goal in it.  After an early onslaught we found our feet and went ahead following good work down the right from Joel, with Joe John knocking in at the near post.  Within five minutes we found ourselves 2-1 down, both goals resulting from unlucky deflections which sat the ball up nicely for them to slot in.  Before half-time, however, we had knocked in another two goals, first Andy Bryce sweeping in at the far post, then Don bulldozing his way through to slot in at the near post.  After the break we lost our shape a little bit and we could have learnt a bit from City of Bath who themselves had run out of steam but let the ball do the work.  Two goalmouth scrambles saw them take the lead 4-3 and despite going all out at the end, we couldn’t find the equaliser.  A couple of unusual issues with kit gave some light relief – first goalie Rich forgetting his helmet, then Ryan being asked to change his socks after 45 minutes (they’d obviously got redder with time).  Despite the defeat, plenty of promise within the team.

Robinson's C 4 v 2 B&W B, 18th March 2017

As seems to be the way against Robbies teams, we were 1-0 down within a couple of minutes and it was looking like it was going to be one way traffic.  However, we started to find our rhythm and forced our way back into the match, winning a few short corners but the keeper made some good saves.  Just before half-time we committed the cardinal sin of giving the ball away in midfield with all our players in their half; they broke at pace and made it 2-0.  At half-time we switched to 3-4-3 and within five minutes we'd pulled a goal back through a fantastic Tom Varney deflection at a short.  We then suffered from a cruel umpiring decision, a penalty flick awarded for a foot near the line even though the ball was heading square across the goal.  3-1 down and soon 4-1 when another Robbies attack was clinically finished.  Rather than fold, we pulled it back to 4-2 from a close range Tom Varney effort following a counter-attack down the left.  A lot of graft throughout the team and pace and movement up front, but not enough to beat what was a very good Robbies team.

B&W B 2 v 1 Westbury C, 11th March 2017

We dominated the first 20 minutes and I'm not sure Westbury even reached our D.  In that time we had many chances but their keeper was having one of those days.  In the rest of the half things evened up a little but neither side could break the deadlock.  Despite engineering many promising positions through lovely hockey, the final ball into the D was often lacking accuracy, not anticipating the runs being made by Harvey and Curtis.  Mid-way through the second half the breakthrough came when a (mis-hit?) reverse from Joe looped into the air and crept in just under the cross-bar, with Liam shepherding the ball across the line.  However, we always seem destined to have close games against Westbury and an attack down our left wasn't defended well, creating an extra man, and the ball was calmly slotted into the corner for the equaliser.  At the next of our many shorts, Patch elected to flick and the ball was blocked by a body on the line, conceding a P-flick.  Mark stepped forward and despatched the ball into the top left corner, later described by the Westbury captain as the best flick he had ever seen.  Surely we could now close the game out without incident?  No, we conceded a short in the dying seconds and up stepped the big bloke from the back who had been melting the ball out from 16's.  He duly melted the short, a foot off the ground heading into the left corner, which was miraculously deflected past the post by the left post defender.  (You got it - it was me!)  The final whistle went, greeted with relief in the knowledge that the two vets in the team had saved the day......

Mendip 3 v 2 B&W B, 4th March 2017

Before today's match, top-of-the-table Mendip's home form read: scored 48, conceded 2.  Well now they've conceded 4!  A fantastic performance today, going down by the narrowest of margins, 3-2.  We set ourselves up much more solidly than we did in the 7-0 trouncing we received at home earlier in the season and were unlucky to go behind when an attempt to cut out a cross fell to one of their players on the line to tap in.  Completely against the script, we equalised when Curtis broke through the first tackle and fed Harvey to bundle the ball over the line.  We conceded a few shorts but held firm until half-time, 1-1.  A sloppy goal shortly after the break put us on the back foot and we were soon 3-1 down from a well-executed short.  Lie down and roll over? Certainly not!  We pressed to get back in the game and Mendip's discipline started to go, with the umpires getting their cards out.  We pulled it back to 3-2 when Curtis got the ball through to Joel who made no mistake from 8 inches.  A grand finale followed but we weren't able to get the equaliser.  A fitting tribute from the Mendip captain at the end who said that was the hardest match they'd had all season.  A great work ethic within the team, great discipline, good shape and a great team spirit, reminiscent of the fabulous 4s from two seasons ago.....

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