22 Jan Match reports January 21st 2017
Bridgend men’s 1s
Aberystwyth Uni 1 – Bridgend 1st XI 3
Captain Coleman and his band of merry men left early on a cold and frosty morning for the second of four consecutive away trips. Although the journey had many ups and downs the game saw only Bridgend dominating. Possession was transferred simply from flank to flank between Rhys Owen and Neall Hollis via Jonathan Woodward and Rob Evans, this allowed powerful insurgences down each flank via Andy Schofield and Paul Jones. It was difficult to mount a meaningful attack from these positions as Aberystwyth sat deep doing nothing but defend. Midfielders Gareth Coleman, Rhydian Cole and Jacob Hodges worked like master locksmiths weaving passes amongst each other until they hit the forward line. Although crowded out, with little manoeuvrability Tom Pearce worked hard being a nuisance to the defence. David Knight managed to squeeze off a few shots, but the goalkeeper kept them out. Bridgend’s continuous pressure created the team’s first short corner. With a little misdirection Rhys Owen fired in the first goal of the game. Despite significant possession Bridgend couldn’t extend this lead, but played a great passing game until half time.
The second half saw Aberystwyth push higher up the field, knowing a breakaway goal is all they could offer to the game. David Knight came close in the opening minutes, as a cross from Tom Pearce flashed in front of him agonisingly out of reach. This didn’t dampen Bridgend’s confidence and a series of short corners culminated in a strike from Gareth Coleman so crisp and clean the defender could not react as it hit his foot on the line. Up stepped David Knight who placed the ball into the goal’s side netting from the ensuing penalty stroke. Bridgend could smell blood in the water and were guilty of committing too many players to the attack. Some last ditch mopping up by Robe Evans and Andrew Jones jr tidied up the majority of these. Aberystwyth managed to get a goal back against the run of play from a dubious penalty flick, but that was the only blight on a spotless game for Adam Hawas, who’s close quarter action was second to none, using break dancing skills stop anything further coming the way is Ravens. The 2-1 scoreline was never enough for the visiting team who needed the extra cushion to ensure the guaranteed victory. Another short corner and another goal with Rhys Owen back on the soresheet. That put the game to bed. Bridgend ran out rightful champions. Another victory for the travelling Ravens!!
Bridgend men’s 3s
Cardiff Uni Mens C 8 – 0 Bridgend Mens 3rds
Bridgend knew they faced a really though away game against top of the league Cardiff Uni, who were yet to lose a game this season or concede a goal at home.
Cardiff played fast, furious hockey that really tested the Blues Defense and speed. Despite conceding some early goals Bridgend didn’t make it easy for the home team and settled before half time, getting some tidy chances that were thwarted by the strong opposition defense.
The Midfeild four ran their legs off through the first half trying to stop the onslaught of attacks from the students. Jon Wilks and Ed Jackson were instrumental in keeping Bridgends shape.
Going into the second half Bridgend switched to playing 4-5-1 which immediately played dividends, allowing the Blues more control of the game and to switch from playing desperate long balls, to the short passing hockey that’s allowed them to cement their place mid table. Wingers Gavin Pound and Ian Blatchford finally found themselves with possession and opportunities to attack the Cardiff defense. For 20 minutes Bridgend defended and attacked with all the precision and communication of a well drilled and organised team. Despite this the forwards of Tom Hopkins, Jon Catton and John Thomas could not find the back of the net due to a stalwalt defense and some brilliant saves by the opposition keeper.
Bridgend tired towards the end of the game and conceded a brace of goals despite scrapy, desperate defending.
Youngsters Matthew Hibbard, Matthew Tudball and Matthew Daly played extremely well against a tough well drilled opposition and refused to be bullied off the ball. Matthews Daly and Tudball were very unfortunate not to score in the dying moments of the game, after a superb link up by Mike John and Jon Catton gave them space to have a really good opportunity on goal, but yet again the skill of the opposition keeper kept out a goal that surely would have been scored against any other team in the league. No man of the match this week but a well deserved special mention to the defensive team, who never gave up battling against all the odds: Cliff Harrison, Mike John, Jon Murphy, Tony Price, Derek Jones and Garath Collier.
A harsh result but a performance by Bridgend that would have given any other team in their league a good run for their money.
REMINDER: Rhodri will be at all training sessions this week with raffle tickets for the RR81 Ball. £5 a strip.