13 Mar Match reports – champion edition
Men’s 1s – Saturday 10th March
Bridgend 1st XI 6-3 Cleevillians
The opening game of the Raven’s double header weekend saw them take on third placed Cleevillians. Two victories would see the Ravens become League champions. A strong start for the Ravens saw Tom Pearce add two goals to this season’s tally. Jacob Hodges scored the third following the break down of a short corner. Bridgend were caught on the break becoming a little lax with victory assumed. However Gareth Coleman hammered home a short corner to get Bridgend back on track.
The second half saw an uncharacteristic dip in performance for Bridgend, who’s usual passing game diminished. David Knight was able to rise above the dross and play a superb ball to Jacob Hodges to add his second of the day. Bridgend let Cleevillians back into the game second half and only some fine goalkeeping from Adrian Hibbert could keep the visitors from conceding more goals. Bridgend did manage to course correct and David Knight created an excellent opportunity for himself with intricate dribbling around the ‘D’ before hammering a shot into the bottom right corner of the goal. Final score 6-3, and a forgettable performance which needs building on.
Bridgend Mens A 6 – 4 Swansea Uni B
Bridgend secured promotion with a 10 goal thriller away to Swansea Uni. Fielding an experienced side, Bridgend knew that retention of the ball would be key in order to frustrate the predominantly younger opposition. Bridgend began the more dominant, settling nerves with an early goal. With Swansea pressing to get back in the game, Bridgend struck again increasing their lead to 2-0. To their credit, Swansea kept fighting despite living off scraps and were rewarded for their efforts with a goal. Bridgend reacted with another goal of their own yet frustratingly were a victim of their own poor play, allowing Swansea to get back on the scoresheet leaving the half time score 3-2 to the visitors.
Bridgend had a played the far better hockey but Swansea were still in the game. The second half performance would have to be far more clinical if Bridgend were to secure victory. Bridgend once again extended their lead with an early goal only for this to be countered with a goal from Swansea. With the score line poised at 4-3 Bridgend once again gained the upper hand to extend their lead only for Swansea to frustratingly find the net again. Bridgend were determined to close out the game and with the pressure building, were rewarded with a goal, leaving the score line at 6-4. There would be no more comebacks from Swansea and with Bridgend keeping the ball in the opposition half, the visitors rounded off the game with a superb win and with it the guarantee of promotion.
A fine performance. All the members of the squad had played a huge part in the success of this team and promotion was just reward for everyone’s hard work throughout the season. Bridgend now look forward to a home game to Neath.
Men’s 1s – Sunday 11th March
Bridgend 1st XI 5-1 Ross-on-Wye
In the second instalment of the Raven’s league championship double header, they knew a win would ensure no pressure going into the last game of the season. After a mediocre performance the previous day Bridgend wanted to put on a top display. A fast paced start to the game, saw Jon Rubery create problems for the defence linking with Tome Pearce as he cut in from the right winning successive short corners – the first was almost completed by Andrew Jones Snr, but went agonisingly close to the far post, the second however saw the keeper spill Rhys Owen’s shot from the far left which Jacob Hodges pounced on to tap in at close range. After Bridgend hogged the possession Rhys Owen found himself with a direct route to David Knight the 30 yard pass found its target who slickly deflected the ball into the goal. The remainder of the half could not produce any more fruitful attacks, however the defensive side was well martialled by Matthew Wooster.
The second half saw Paul Jones make a break down the left from the first second of the half, taking the ball into the ‘D’ where Andrew Jones Snr was able to strike adding to the home side’s tally. Captain Gareth Coleman came close to what would have been a truly spectacular goal, however it sailed over the goal, fence and school. A short corner soon after saw Bridgend increase their lead further as David Knight slipped the ball to Rhys Owen to fling it into the bottom right of the goal. Some disciplinary indiscretions saw Bridgend with a two man deficit for a prolonged period of the second half, this forced the defence to dig deep and Matthew Wooster, Kris Holyoake, Jonathan Woodward and Neall Hollis put in a shift to avoid conceding – it was however Adrian Hibbert who stole the show, pulling off spectacular saves earning him his man of the match award. Bridgend rounded off their performance through a ball played forward from Rhydian Cole who moved it to the left, and as it was crossed back to Andrew Jones Snr he caught a defender plumb mid shin preventing the ball from crossing the line, the resulting penalty stroke was drilled into the bottom left of the goal by Rhys Owen. Ross did score with the last touch of the game, however the victory was already sealed for Bridgend who will be promoted as league champions!!