20 Jan Under 11s Report – Grab yourself a (big) cup of tea and read this………
OLYMPIAN SPIRIT RUBS OFF
The next stop on the shuttle bus of tournaments for the Bridgend hockey under 11s was the hugely impressive Newport Velodrome which, given the deluge of the previous 24 hours, was a tremendous piece of organisation from Jayne Brown, the tournaments coordinator – because we would be indoors!
Built in 2005 the velodrome was used by the Great Britain cycling team for all of their final preparations for the 2012 Olympics, so the sense of achievement and success is powerful on entry and the largest Bridgend under 11 squad to ever assemble got busy absorbing it.
Canton & Riverside were our first opponents and it was clear from the outset that, as cyclists whizzed around the pitches (located in the middle of the velodrome track), rather too many of the Bridgend team were still absorbing the atmosphere. Canton & Riverside dominated the early exchanges and deservedly scored 2 goals as Bridgend’s attention wandered. Try as they might from a series of late attacks from the Bens (there are 2 of them – Big Ben aged 11 and Little Ben aged 7) and the usual ambitious midfield passing of Serren, Matthew, Tomos and Luke, Bridgend couldn’t score and therefore recorded a disappointing loss.
By now the cyclists were enjoying themselves to such an extent that the use of whistles in the hockey tournament was forbidden (apparently it upset the cyclists’ lust for glory), so umpiring would now be achieved by bellowing ‘stop – for heaven’s sake stop’ several times to regulate the matches.
Bridgend encountered Gwent in their next match and produced a much better performance. The usual grizzly defending of Michael and Tilly meant that Gwent struggled to break Bridgend down, whilst very encouraging touches from Luis, James and Tomos meant that attacks were speedily dealt to Gwent’s own defence and from one of these Big Ben struck a super goal. Gwent came back with a goal of their own but splendidly instinctive goalkeeping from the rapidly emerging talent that is Adam played a major part in holding Gwent to 1-1 at half time. Sadly a minor lapse in concentration meant that a late goal was conceded and Bridgend were ‘played 2, lost 2’.
Players visiting the lavatories and sweet machines to both drain and boost had to walk past flags signed by several members of the GB cycling squad and this seemed to do the trick for Bridgend who were next scheduled to play Canton & Riverside again.
This time Bridgend swept into a 2-0 lead through goals from Matthew and Tomos and the substantial crowd of Bridgend fans began to believe again as their shouts of encouragement began to bounce off the walls. Michael, Serren, Luke and James all made crunching tackles to keep Canton & Riverside out until 2 minutes from the end when they scored a well taken goal. The last couple of minutes were nervy but Bridgend hung on to send the supporters into rapture. Fabulous scenes of raw emotion were witnessed as precious offspring turned to salute the travelling Bridgend massive.
The last match was against the gigantic challenge that Llanishen & Caerphilly represented – literally. Given that the Bridgend squad has 3 7 year olds and 2 8 year olds in their midst, the sight of advancing players of at least twice their size and weight was a little intimidating for the supporters to see, but Adam, Little Ben, James and Luis, in particular, cannot be accused of a lack of courage. They confronted their tormentors like lions and gave everything in an ultimately one-sided game for which the less that is said about the score, the better.
All in all, another splendid tournament and the Bridgend players can be well satisfied with their work and development as well as on recording a win!
Finally, many regular readers have been asking after the welfare of Mrs Wilks after the last match report made it clear that she was still in bed when your report author returned from Rougemont school at 2.00pm. I am happy to report that she was downstairs, dressed and ready for the rest of the day by 2.04pm…