09 Jan BACK DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND – WILKO’S BRIDGEND YOUTH HOCKEY REPORT
Regular readers of this column will know that I like my duvet, particularly on a Sunday morning – and particularly when heavy rain has been dashing itself against the West wing of Wilks Towers since the early hours.
Sunday 8th December therefore provided little incentive to rise and don the tracksuit once again, particularly when the warm and soft form of the adjacent Mrs Wilks murmoured into wakefulness.
“I’m off to Rougemont school with the under 11s”, I advised her. “Be back around 2pm. Wait there for my return please.”
Rougemont school’s astroturf pitch is not an immediately attractive proposition, particularly when compared to the charms of Mrs Wilks. It is hard, very bumpy and prone to wind.
The Bridgend U11s are a formidable group of sportspeople, however, and saw no issue in setting about planning a string of victories.
That those victories did not emerge was no reflection on their collective effort and enthusiasm.
The first game was versus Canton, for whom it is presumably accepted parental practice to stand offspring in ‘growfast’ bags of growth accelerant in their early years. Their team of Goliaths towered above our gallant Davids – and several members of the Canton team had mastered very powerful hitting skills.
Bridgend were not to be intimidated and fabulously brave and committed defence led by Tilly and Michael frustrated Canton on several occasions. Canton eventually managed to score a deserved goal but almost immediately the growing anxiety in the ranks of the Bridgend supporters club was swept away as another wonderful tackle, this time from Serren, set up Ben who scored for Bridgend with a fizzing shot that gave the Canton keeper no chance. A late goal for Canton gave them the win but spiritually Bridgend took all of the honours. Luke and the 7 year old debutant Luis put in brilliant shifts whilst Tomos was very unlucky not to score for Bridgend near the final whistle.
The second game was versus Llanishen & Caerphilly who had recruited a goalkeeper that made Goliath feel like a munchkin. Bridgend rained shots at him through Ben, Serren, Tomos and even Michael (up from defence), but he saved everything with tremendous ability. Meanwhile a single defensive lapse saw L&C score to win the game. Devastated does not do the players or supporters of Bridgend justice.
Luis’s Dad produced some mood-altering chocolate cake to lift the team for their third game versus a talented and skilful Whitchurch team. Michael and Tilly made tackle after tackle, often then delivering a precision pass to set up a Bridgend attack, but a goal eluded us. That said, Adam in the Bridgend goal brought the biggest cheer of the weekend (anywhere!) with a brilliant save and kick that belied his 7 years of age. Whitchurch scored 3 excellent goals as Bridgend grew a little weary, but Serren in midfield kept them honest and Luke and Tomos ensured that victory was never straightforward. Any neutral observer would feel that Bridgend deserved a draw at least.
The final game against a very strong Gwent team proved beyond even chocolate cake. Less said about the result, the better, though once again the Bridgend effort was huge. Some very tired bodies finally gathered after the final whistle to be congratulated and thanked for another stupendous spectacle. Whatever the results, Bridgend’s Under 11s are a brilliant team.
The journey home was therefore far from downbeat and yes, Mrs Wilks was still where I left her…