Welsh Challenge Cup Final

Welsh Challenge Cup Final




Bridgend Hockey Club, Men’s Section, completed a very successful season by defeating strong oppositions on their way to the Final of the inaugural Welsh Challenge Cup Competition.
This is a new competition, allowing sides in their same leagues to compete in a cup competition. For Bridgend, this encompassed their second and third elevens, but there were 1st X1’s of some clubs also able to enter this competition.

As it so happened, Bridgend’s side came up against Gwent’s 1st X1 team in the final, so a hard game was anticipated, particularly as the Gwent side had already won their league, which in status terms is one above Bridgend’s status, and indeed Gwent had also won their league.

The final took place at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens, on Saturday 3rd May 2014.


First Half
Bridgend were able to frustrate the early anticipated attacks from a young, quick and keen Gwent side, with some solid defending from Rob Evans, Andrew Jones and Paul Jones. With Gwent closing down any possession Bridgend was able to gain, midfield Steve Murphy, Gareth Evans and Gareth Coleman had to work hard to build moves via their flanks where Jason Arnold and captain Kris Williams had few chances to give forwards Jon Catton and Adam Knapp attacking opportunities, although a sharp chance from Adam was well saved by the Gwent goalkeeper.
Following Gwent’s pressure, they were awarded a penalty corner after 15 minutes from which a well directed flick gave Adrian Hibbert no chance in the Bridgend goal, but Bridgend bounced back and mustered some promising attacks, giving the Gwent side plenty to think about. It was against the run of play when Gwent scored a second from a penalty corner five minutes before half time.
Second Half
Using their subs wisely, Bridgend played a much more attacking second half, being stronger in midfield and working hard to gain and retain possession. Tom Pearce, Ian Blatchford and Rhodri Owen worried the Gwent defence as the forwards were exchanged, building on attacks sparked off by John Woodward from midfield. Alun Griffiths held firm in defence, starting off attacking moves resulting in Bridgend gaining territorial advantage in this half.
Such pressure was rewarded, deservedly, when Adam Knapp scored with a firm snap shot following a well worked move following a penalty corner. This spurred Bridgend on to greater efforts, and certainly gave Gwent anxious moments with Jeremy Ingram working hard up front.. A great save from Adrian Hibbert and a fine interception by Paul Jones kept Gwent out. However, as Bridgend pressed for the equaliser, Gwent broke away, and scored their third goal with a clever flick over the advancing goalkeeper. Credit too to Bridgend’s reserve goalkeeper, Cliff Harrison, who played his part for the team effort by being present as part of the squad, but unfortunately was not called upon to take the field.

Bridgend 1; Gwent 3
Bridgend’s combined 2nd and 3rd X1’s can be very proud in competing to the end in this cup final, against the young and skilful Gwent’s 1st X1.
They certainly did not let their club, and town, down in this hard fought encounter. It was a credit to all participants to have played their part, but unfortunately were not able to return home with the silverware.




Thanks to Jack for the report and Charles for the photos.