After promotion last season, first up in Conference North for Bridgend were Bath Buccaneers. New skipper Adrian Hibbert rallied his troops for the upcoming battle. After a closely fought opening quarter that saw baths keeper making some fine saves to prevent the ravens from taking the lead. Bridgend finally took the lead thanks to a fantastic finish from Tim Hodges, who continued where he left off last season. More chances came from Bridgend who were unlucky not to increase their lead. Good midfield play from Andrew Jones and Rhydian Cole ensured Bridgend were battling for the ball. Towards the end of the first half bath had chances of their own but with fine defensive work from Bridgend’s Matt Wooster, rob Evans, Rhys Owen, Jon Woodward and keeper Hibbert meant they kept the lead going into half time. As the game wore on, Bridgend continued to dominate possession and turned the screw in the second half with Tim Hodges again to the fore followed by his brother Mike Hodges who continued to show a bright future awaits for him. Good performances from Paul Jones, Neall Hollis, Tom Pearce who was unlucky not to get on the score sheet. Brett leeming stepped up for his first game for Bridgend and performed admirably. With Hodges again causing havoc, Tim Hodges sealed a fantastic win with 2 second half goals for the Ravens who start life with a fine defensive clean sheet as they look forward to continuing where they left off last season with a comfortable 3-0 victory and a good team performance.
On an unexpectedly warm day, Bridgend won first push back and started off strong, moving the ball around Brecon. Lots of good passing amongst the forwards led to a few shots on goal. This hard work payed off with Michelle Hancock scoring Bridgend first goal. However, Brecon came back quickly from the push back to score. Bridgend kept their heads held high to fight back and Louise Jones scored Bridgend’s second goal. Bridgend came out strong in the second half. Great work from the defenders, midfield and keeper Beth Price kept Brecon from scoring any goals in the second half. Bridgends effors payed of with our 3rd goal being put into the net by Jaz Gamble. A great start to the season from the whole team.
Pembrokeshire Ladies – 1 Bridgend Ladies 2nds – 1 Under a blistering late September sun the well-caffeinated Ladies 2nds started their cup match with structure and strength. The tight defending of Bev, Pauline, Cerys and Keeley nullified some powerful running from the young Pembrokeshire forwards and prevented many direct shots on goal. They also managed to get some good passes up to the midfield unit of Chessie, Cherie and player of the match Jo, who in turn made regular runs up the wings and got some quality crosses in to Angharad, Maia and Casey who had chances to score but couldn’t quite convert this early pressure. The first half finished 0-0 and with Maddie having replaced Bev at the back the defence held strong despite one “heart in mouth” moment where a Pembrokeshire shot clipped the post and a goal-mouth scramble ensued. Fortunately, fortune favoured Bridgend and the defence breathed again. The second half saw Bridgend score first, Cherie took the ball down the right from a sideline hit, passed it to Jo at the top of the D, who controlled it and scored with a cracking shot. This seemed to inject some urgency into the Pembrokeshire play and once again they were very quick on the break, seeming to have an extra player running in to the D each time. Unfortunately, from one of these forays a strong shot came in which was initially saved by keeper Pat diving to her right, the rebound was pounced upon by an attacking forward who made no mistake with her follow up shot. The Pembrokeshire players celebrated with football-like enthusiasm while the Bridgend Ladies were waiting patiently to restart! The remainder of the game was quite fraught with both teams striving for the winner. The fresh legs of Clare came on to give some tired legs a break for the last quarter and Angharad was then exceptionally unlucky not to score, her shot scattering the defenders face masks at the side of the goal instead, she also had a last-minute shot which she couldn’t quite squeeze past the Pembrokeshire keeper. All in all, it was agreed that 1-1 was probably a fair result for both teams.
Bridgend Mens 4th XI v Gwent B
Dazzling League Debuts for Bridgend Youngsters
After a losing start in their inaugural season in 2017/18 the Bridgend 4th XI were seeking a more positive opening to this year’s league campaign and the signs are good having already won their opening two friendlies.
Gwent fielded a strong, experienced team without any youth players, conversely, Bridgend fielded four new players who, having risen through the youth ranks were now ready to play senior hockey and make their Verde Recreo League debuts. Luke Davis, Barnaby Millgate, James Tudball and James Morgan played brilliantly ably supported by the slightly more experienced Michel Wilks, Stephen Mansell and Taran Moss.
From the start the Bridgend youngsters put the older Gwent players under pressure not allowing them time in possession. Having won the ball in some crunching tackles made by Millgate and Morgan the home team produced some excellent flowing hockey. This was soon rewarded with the first league goal of the season scored by the captain after great build up play by Luke Davis, Dave Collinson and Ross Allen. Allen himself was then able to get on the score sheet with a well taken second before adding a third just before half-time. 3-0 at half-time – the home team were in dreamland !
Unfortunately, the dream turned to an ugly nightmare at the start of the second half and Gwent, changing their tactics, put the Bridgend players under more pressure and pulled themselves back into the match scoring three well worked goals and setting the game up for a tense final quarter.
Bridgend however held firm and started to find their first half form once again, winning several short-corners and with creative attacks led by James Tudball and Stephen Mansell the Ravens were unlucky not to get the winning goal.
Final score 3-3 which was an excellent result for the 4th XI and bodes well for the rest of the season.