21 Jan Match reports 20th Jan
Bridgend 1st XI 8-2 Stroud
Determined to put lasts weeks poor performance behind them, the Ravens set out to avenge their defeat. The unfortunate recipients of this vengeance were Stroud. A strong start for the Ravens saw them manoeuvre the ball around effectively, clearly orchestrating proceedings. Early forays into the ‘D’ earned shorts corners- not wanting to repeat last week’s missed opportunities Rhys Owen fired his first into the bottom left of the goal straight through the postman’s legs. Bridgend played a high-pressing game which allowed Paul Jones to intercept possession time after time. This generated a sideline hit for Bridgend shortly after the goal, Rhys Owen feigned an aerial and found Tim Hodges who used the misdirection to turn and head towards goal, the supporting runs from his teammates not required as he hammered past the helpless goalkeeper. Momentum continued with Jon Rubery making incursions down the right hand side, Rhydian Cole was picked out near the edge of the ‘D’ he received the ball and earning no the nickname Rhydnaldo shimmied between three players, twisting and created enough room for a shot before firing it across the goal into the bottom corner. Defensive duo WoosWood were solid at the back with John Woodward breaking up play effectively and Matt Wooster ensuring nothing could make it further. The latter’s distribution provided the platform Bridgend needed to advance up the pitch. Unfortunately it wasn’t plain sailing for Bridgend as they could ceded a scrappy goal through an unfortunate bobble and a lot of anti-skill. Not to let this dampen their spirits Bridgend headed to the other end of the pitch and Tom ‘Pedro’ Pearce continued his fine vein of form by lifting the ball past the defence and over the goalkeeper for Tim Hodges to tap the ball home. This took Bridgend into the break with a 4-1 lead.
The second half saw Bridgend get back on track with their dominance of the game. Kris Holyoake found space to thread evermore threatening passes through to the forwards, whilst Neall “the goat” Hollis interplayed with Jon Rubery down the right. Bridgend opened their second half scoring account through Jacob Hodges who received the ball from brother Tim before unleashing his patented danger-push to get a goal of his own. The work ethic of Hodges was exceptional and aside Paul Jones they turned defence into attack on a number of occasions. Bridgend did momentarily switch for periods, which allowed Stroud into the game, unfortunately Bridgend found themselves conceding against the run of play and the footwork of Adrian Hibbert spared further blushes. To rectify their situation Bridgend headed to the other end and Rhys Owen added to his tally with a carbon copy of his first goal. Captain Gareth Coleman ensured his midfield was appropriately organised and masterfully set up his squad to accommodate this. His plan worked and Matt Wooster earned his compliments by acting like a wall in defence providing the foundation on which to build. A dance through the ‘D’ brought Tim Hodges his hat-trick and Bridgend attempted to finish with a flourish. After a superman style jab tackle from Rhys Owen, Bridgend broke down play and restarted the game. Owen capitalised on Stroud’s unreadiness and launched an overhead pass over the opposition- this was collected by Bridgend’s forwards and some customary interplay between Tom Pearce and Tim Hodges saw young Hodges score his fourth of the day. A great day for Bridgend who need the momentum against promotion hopefuls Whitchurch next week.
Bridgend Mens A 3 – 1 Llan & Caerphilly
Bridgend began their 2018 league campaign with a convincing win away to Llan & Caerphilly. Bridgend took control of the game from the off, creating most of the early chances. Moving the ball around well it would only be a matter of time before Bridgend took the lead. Following a penetrating run by Andrew Jones, the ball was set up nicely for captain Nick Anthony to slot home for the opener. With chances coming thick and fast, Bridgend looked to widen their lead. However, against the run of play it was Llan & Caerphilly who would score next, equalising from a short corner. Bridgend didn’t let their heads drop and following some skilful individual play by midfield playmaker Andrew Jones, he finished with a sublime goal to once again put Bridgend in the lead, leaving the half time score 2-1.
Bridgend knew a one goal lead wouldn’t be enough, so came out in the second half looking for more goals. With opportunities coming closer and closer, it was Mike Hodges who would extend the lead, finishing off a superb team effort. Further opportunities came Bridgend’s way but despite their best efforts they failed to find the net. With Llan & Caerphilly having little left to offer, Bridgend looked to retain possession, seeing out the game 3-1 winners.
With 8 games left to go, Bridgend now look forward to a home game against Gwent next week, looking to further enhance their promotion prospects.
Bridgend ladies 1 – Penarth ladies 2
Scorer – Michelle Hancock
Penarth started strong, dominating the first half of the game, scoring 2 goals within the first 10 minutes. Bridgend had a lot of work to do after that and pushed hard to gain possession. In the second half Bridgend started stronger, working well as a team. There was a great play up the right hand side with Jo Poupon and Louise Hearse passing between each other, Louise made an excellent cross from the side line across the goal where Michelle Hancock was waiting on the far post. The ball was in the air and Michelle’s stick made contact, batting it into the back of the net in a sensational finish. Bridgend continued to keep a lot of possession from then on, with Georgia Catton, Swawiza Gohobur and Jess Allen making great plays up the left wing and Sarah Boyd opening up the play well in midfield. The defence kept strong with Holly Vowles, Tania Harrison, Aimee Fitzgerald, Justine Cosby and Jess Pearce preventing Penarth from scoring any more goals. Unfortunately Bridgend were unable to capitalise on any of their plays and the game ended 2-1 to Penarth.
Bridgend ‘C’ 4 – 1 Gwent ‘B’
In the ancient Greek religion, Nemesis was the goddess who enacted retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the Gods).
In the preceding fixture with Gwent, in Cwmbran in December, at the ungodly hour of 5.30pm on an international rugby Saturday in sub zero temperature, Bridgend had been thrashed 8-1. Moreover, some unnecessarily patronising comments had been made.
Nemesis had clearly been watching… and She had not been impressed.
When you occupy the bottom rung of the bottom league in Welsh hockey, there is only one way to go and from the first whistle it was clear that Bridgend had a vitality, determination and resilience that Nemesis had bestowed upon every member of the team to ensure a successful climb.
An early short corner for Bridgend resulted in an opening goal for Osian after a fierce Jon Wilks shot that the keeper was only able to parry. That the youngster had only been practising short corner follow ups with the Development team on Thursday evening testifies to the excellence absorbed.
A truly effervescent move brimming with skill and pace down the right hand side with Tom Rosser at its centre resulted in a cross for the evergreen Jack Steer to control effortlessly and drill into the backboard for a second Bridgend goal.
Gwent were rocking and when another shot evaded the keeper it was stopped on the line by a Gwent defender’s foot. The penalty was duly converted as the half time whistle sounded with Bridgend 3-0 to the good.
The second half saw Bridgend in their most resolute mode with Captain Schofield ruling the midfield whilst youngster Dan Leyshon in goal made a series of remarkable saves to frustrate Gwent. Elsewhere Taran Moss and Steve Mansell were mightily effective repelling Gwent attacks and Mat Arthur made any number of perfectly timed tackles to repel danger.
Gwent rallied to score a short corner goal but their discipline simply crumbled as the mere thought of victory galloped off to the horizon and a final excellent strike by Nick Allen saw Bridgend to a richly deserved win.
As the players celebrated one would swear that the sound of gentle applause could be heard from the heavens as Nemesis congratulated herself on a job well done.