Bridgend 7-6 Gloucester
Bridgend in their bid to remain safe in their current league had the onerous task of facing second in the league Gloucester, who are still vying for top spot. Bridgend attacked first in the game, but were held out by the Gloucester defence, Bridgend ‘s attacking threat left them vulnerable by committing too many men and conceded two counterattacking goals. Bridgend continued to attack with Gloucester having great difficulty containing both Michael and Tim Hodges, Bridgend’s first success came through the latter making space and playing in Steve Murphy to tap in at the far post, a second in identical fashion arrived soon after. Gloucester replied to Bridgend’s goals by committing large numbers to their counter attacks, the numerical advantage proving to be more than the defence could handle, and despite some brave saves by Captain Adrian Hibbert, Bridgend conceded twice going into the break with a two goal deficit.
After a reminder of important directives at halftime Bridgend set out with revived intent and concentration. Michael Hodges appeared to be on a personal mission to turn the scoreline around, his control on the ball frustrating the opposition and giving Bridgend a stable from which to attack, his work set up Bridgend’s two greatest attacking threats, however some cynical challenges from Gloucester stopped him in his tracks, his persistence paid off however bringing Bridgend back into the game, earning a goal for himself. A short corner won for Bridgend shortly after was kept alive by Michael Hodges after the first strike, who played in Jon Rubery, earning a run-out for the 1st XI after his hard work in the 2nd XI. Rubery dug the ball from under the keeper to tap it into the goal. At two goals a piece and Bridgend on the ascendancy, Tim Hodges decided to add his name to the scoresheet pulling Bridgend ahead for the first time of the game. A clumsy challenge from a defender sent him sprawling, but he used the momentum to strike the ball mid-fall, knocking a perfectly executed reverse strike into the goal. Bridgend we’re retaining possession well, with Matt Wooster having effectively organised his defence to deal with any oncoming threat, this possession allowed superb interplay between Tim and Mike Hodges, the latter creating space in midfield before releasing his brother who once again found Steve Murphy at the far post, who was able to complete his hat trick likely earning the accolade of oldest hat trick scorer this league has seen. Bridgend weren’t finished there as Tim Hodges delivered a perfect cross to Jon Rubery on his reverse, for player gaining experience of first team hockey for the first time this season to volley the ball into the goal, a seven goal haul against a team who will be competing at a higher level next season is certainly no mean feat. However the game was not over and suffered some real misfortune as Gloucester scores from a lucky short corner and with only minutes to go, brought the game to within one goal after the ball taking an unexpected deflection to a shot Keeper Hibbert had easily covered. A nervy last few seconds saw Bridgend concede another short corner, with the last play of the game, came an opportunity for Gloucester to spoil Bridgend’s hard work, but the staunch defence of Rob Evans and threat from Jon Woodward, saw this fortunately come to nothing. A monumental victory for Bridgend who aim to finish the season on a high next week.
Bridgend A 1- 1 Bristol & West B
The Ravens second eleven entertained Bristol & West B home at Pencoed. Bristol & West were fighting to stay out of the relegation zone whilst Bridgend A were safe and Bridgend were under no pressure to win.
However, Bridgend Ravens had every intention on taking the game to Bristol and although Bridgend were without 3 of their top players, rolling over and taking a loss is not in their game plan. Hearing the call-up, Bridgend Hockey Veteran John Catton was called up to put his unrivalled ball control into practice & Ross Alan doing his part for the club.
The game started with the Solid duo of Adam Hawas in goal and Phil Brooks playing left back. Captain Nick Anthony moved into central defence to support the short handed back three. Making his debut to the Ravens 2nd eleven team was Taran Moss playing right Back.
Throughout most of the first half the Bristol & West forwards were relentless, speedy passing and darting runs into the Bridgend D meant that Bridgend were defending heavily throughout most of the half. Bristol & West had multiple attempts on goal, with one open play attack turning into a 7 shot saving spree by Adam Hawas, having to resort to totally shutting out the ball leading to a short corner against Bridgend. Bristol & West failed to convert the short corner because of superb short corner defence by Osian Jones, Taran Moss & Captain Nick Anthony and that half time whistle came shortly after.
Bridgend, showing no lack of perseverance or no sign of slowing down had the upper hand for first 10 minutes. The ever solid presence of Andrew (AJ) Jones and the tireless legs of Matthew Tudball quickly led to multiple short corner chances for the Ravens.Bridgend Finally got onto the scoreboard with a goal from Andrew (AJ) Jones.
The final 10 minutes saw Bristol & West have 3 short corners, one of which was professionally defended by Taran Moss on the right post. On Bristol & West 3rd chance after an initial save by Adam Hawas, they stuck the ball home and drew the game at 1 – 1.
Bridgend Rallied together more attacks through Kris Williams on the right, Ross Alan & Osian Jones all putting in a fantastic effort upfront but the game came to a close 1 – 1 and the Ravens second eleven can hold their heads high after their performance.