Bridgend headed to wet and windy Swansea for their seasonal foray in the Welsh Trophy. As last seasons’ finalists, the pressure was on the Ravens to replicate last seasons form. Two games were between Bridgend and emerging from their pool.
Bridgend 5-0 Cardiff and Met
Tim Hodges 1 + p stroke
Andrew Jones Snr
Bridgend took the opportunity to field some of the wealth of young players they have accrued, who have proven themselves deserving of a first team cap. Both teams began testing each other with expeditions into the opposing half. Bridgend defended resolutely with Matthew Wooster making some vital interceptions and commanding his defence to freeze out any attack.
Fast forward forays from Tom Pearce ensured Cardiff knew Bridgend intended business, although threatening a goal was not to be, however as Bridgend approached the 7 minuted mark, some creative dancing in the ‘D’ by Tim Hodges saw him break into space and unleash a blistering shot past the goalkeeper. Evergreen Steve Murphy ruddered the defence from the restart playing in and out of the midfield to create space, picking out David Knight and Andrew Jones Snr who unleashed Michael Hodges to terrorise the defence along the right. It was the other Hodges who found himself in a scoring opportunity again, skipping past two defenders before being heinously scythed down in the middle of his flow. The resolute youngster collected himself and ally dispatched the resultant penalty stroke taunting the keeper into thinking he had any chance.
Bridgend, aware of how important goal difference can be continued to press forwards Paul Jones, using his abundant pace and space. Andrew Jones found himself at the top of the ‘D’ and unleashed a thunderous strike, to which the Cardiff goal keeper responded remarkably well, however the spilled ball was recovered by Bridgend and happily dispatched by the right hook of the Hodges two punch combo Michael.
Bridgend in a comfortable position relaxed into the game, changes were rung at half time and Bridgend drove forward with Matthew Tudball causing trouble in on the touch line, he set up his future captain Nick Anthony, who with sniper like precision found a space between the legs of the helpless goalkeeper. From one goalkeeper to the next, captain Adrian Hibbert made a number of important and brave saves to maintain his clean sheet before making way for Dan Leyshon, who continued to impress and prove his ability to step up to senior level. John Woodward marauded the length of the touch line on the right hand side before allowing Phil Rees to pick up where he left off, tackling strongly to maintain the clean sheet. Back at the other end Tom Pearce was unluckynot to manufacture more from the chances he gave himself. Jason Arnold proved his usual ability to work hard to produce chances out of nothing. On the left Osian Jones showed great tenacity whilst intercepting play and stealing possession instigating numerous attacks of his own, but it was his father Andrew Jones Snr who delivered the hammer blow to cardiff. Jamie Brooks ensured the defence remained resolute until the end, confirming a well deserved victory for the Ravens.
Bridgend 3-1 Gwent
Tim Hodges 2
Adrian Hibbert saved a flick
Game two began in no better weather conditions with Bridgend sodden for the hour interval. This did dampen the performance slightly as it became difficult to maintain a string of passes. Bridgend remained resolute, the defence marshalled by Steve Murphy and Matthew Wooster transferred the ball from side to side. The wingers Paul Jones and Mike Hodges made incursions towards the ‘D’ but it was Tom Pearce who was the biggest threat, drawing fouls on the edge of the ‘D’. David Knight was able to set Andrew Jones off on a number attack’s, creating goal scoring opportunities. Tim Hodges drew first blood with a mazy run through the defence and a trademark finish past the keeper. Bridgend were under pressure from this point with Gwent pushing and pushing to get back into the game. In a superb solo effort Tim Hodges took the ball the majority of the pitches length shrugging off underhanded tackles before completing his run with a goal. Gwent pulled a goal back in bizarre circumstances, the only blight on the day so far.
The second half started poorly for Bridgend with Gwent back in the game by pulling a goal back before half time. Gwent won a short corner which appeared to have been cleared expertly by John Woodward, only to have been told it took the slightest of touches off his foot, as such a penalty stroke was awarded. Bridgend Captain Adrian Hibbert took up his place in the goal, as the stroke was taken, he dived to his right, swiping his stick through the air like a samurai sword , connecting perfectly with the ball. A true captains performance, which incentivised the rest of the team to step back up a gear. Bridgend dominated the rest of the game, but the score still remained in a tentative position with Bridgend’s slender lead. John Woodward advanced down the right managing to win a short corner, which was flung into the goal by Rhys Owen. Bridgend saw out the game with Jamie Brooks returning to sure up the defence, and Osian Jones instrumental in disrupting play on the left. A strong performance overall from Bridgend who progress to the next round of the competition.
Bridgend Ladies 1s 0 – 4 Rhondda ladies
Bridgend won first push back against a strong Rhondda team but unfortunately weren’t able to keep possession for long. Rhondda played well as a team and were quick on the break and some good passes around Bridgend’s defence led to Bridgend conceding 4 goals before half time. The second half was much better for Bridgend and the keeper, Pat Richards, made some excellent saves and prevented Rhondda from scoring any more goals. Bridgend were able to get the ball into their half and there were some great shots on goal from Jess Allen, Jaz Gamble and Eve Mordecai but unfortunately none made it into the back of the net. Bridgend worked well as a team in the second half in a tiring game but the score remained 4 – 0 to Rhondda.
Bridgend ladies 2nds 2 – 8 Saints 5ths
Against a strong Whitchurch team an inexperienced Bridgend team struggled to make any real headway in the first half apart from the first 5 minutes where the Bridgend defence and attack played well with chances coming from some well placed balls from the back. Sadly Whitchurch took all their chances, finishing well each time. Most of the Whitchurch goals were in the 1st half taking the score to 5-1 with Angharad Kitchener scoring from a superb reverse stick strike to finish the half.
Bridgend came out strongly in the 2nd half and a lovely cross from Chessie Jarvis enabled Angharad to score again. An excellent debut from Emily provided some very strong attacking play. Once again though, Whitchurch runners were very efficient despite some strong defending and marking from the Bridgend defence.