Bridgend 2-4 Team Bath Buccs
Scorers: James Griffiths 2
Bridgend didn’t manage to shower themselves in glory, despite a superb performance away to team Bath. Jon Rubery bravely battled down the right, with Bath unable to disposes him cleanly. Despite Bridgend attacks bubbling, they couldn’t capitalise, which allowed Bath an opportunity and the numerical advantage paid off in the home teams’ favour. Bridgend absorbed Bath short corners like a sponge, with defenders Matt Wooster, Jon Woodward, Rob Evans and Rhys Owen each stopping goals after the saves of Adrian Hibbert, however Bath expertly found the space Bridgend couldn’t plug and pulled further ahead. Bridgend had chances to get back into the game, which the returning Dave ‘Snoopy’ Allen showing Bath’s defence a clean pair of heels before slipping the ball to Steve Murphy, who was unlucky not to have his positional play rewarded. Bridgend won a penalty flick, but unfortunately things would not gel for them as the ball came straight off the post.
Although the second half was not awash with chances for Bridgend, they fought hard. Debutant Osian Jones justified his inclusion in the squad with a mature performance which created a number of opportunities in the attacking ‘D’ which his superb skill and movement. Unfortunately Bridgend found themselves in hot water conceding a contentious third. As with the previous week, the third Bath goal woke Bridgend up like a cold shower. Paul Jones marauded down the left hand side and some beautiful dribbling from soaperstar Michael Hodges saw another Jon Rubery opportunity which dropped to James Griffiths, who has been well conditioned to hammer home from that range, getting Bridgend on the scoresheet. Bridgend turned on the jets and a second for Griffiths soon followed after a deft slip from a short corner found him in an abundance of space, and he flicked the ball past the goalkeeper who scrubbed around helplessly for the ball. Despite Bridgend’s ascendency, they washed their hands of any chance of points from the game when they conceded a fourth from an unfortunate deflection on another short corner. A good performance for Bridgend who need to pick themselves up, dry themselves off and keep building on the positives seen so far this season.
Bridgend 2nds vs Penarth A
Penarth arrived armed with 15 of their best with a view to walk straight through the Ravens 2s. Captain Nick Anthony called the team to a huddle and laid out the plan for the match..”cool heads, play strong and leave it all on the pitch. But don’t forget to enjoy the game” The message was received loud and clear by the team. The game started with Andrew Jones (AJ Jr) in central defence, David & Gareth Collier rotating on the right and the ever reliable Phil Rees on the left. Adam Hawas was between the posts, instructed to bring his A Game by his defence…he didn’t disappoint.
The first half saw the Ravens pass the ball around the back effectively nullifying the Penarth attack and with the introduction of Kris (the kiwi) Holyake into the defensive midfield, Bridgend kept Penarth at bay for most of the first half.
Penarth had thier chances on goal but with Hawas on form they couldn’t convert their efforts. Through the rest of the midfield of Nick Anthony, Rhyd Cole and Andy Schofield , Bridgend fought hard to keep possession but not always able to keep up with the well oiled machine that is Penarth A.
After 6 short corners Penarth finally scored with an unlucky save by Hawas that deflected into goal from his body armour. Michael Wilkes, Jason Arnold and Kris Williams created multiple chances on goal but the Ravens 2nd team top scorer Rhodri Owen once again in the right place at the right time put the ball past the Penarth Keeper to even the score.
The game closed with a huge defensive effort by the whole team as Penarth threw caution to the wind and attacked with intent at every opportunity but the last man In defence Adam Hawas willingly risked life and limb for his team to keep the ball out of the goal.
The game ended 1-1 and a well deserved point for the Ravens.
Bridgend 3s v Swansea F. As we lined up for the first half it was noted that they had 10 players and no keeper and as so often happens in situations like this we started like it was a training match. Swansea had 2 skillful attacking midfielders and we were under pressure for the first 15 minutes without a real chance on goal for them. Mid way through the first half we caught them on the break when we finally strung some quick successive passes together to open them up but Mike John was unlucky to shoot just wide. A few more opportunities to get the ball into the D came but we failed to capitalise. Swansea were piling the pressure on and we were not composed enough to keep the ball which lead to Swansea taking the lead. Half time 1-0. After a half time talk where it was made clear we were not good enough Tom and Brett began to mark their 2 midfielders tighter which resulted in more possession. Swansea by now had 11 players. The team upped the work rate and the goal came via a flick. Tom Hopkins the man to step up. About 10 minutes in their midfielder came in on the wrong side and received Brett’s stick to his face at full pelt resulting in Swansea going back down to 10 players. We then took the game to Swansea with slicker passing, more movement resulting in a host of chances none of which were taken. Then a short corner to Swansea somehow given despite a Swansea foot in the D. 2-1 Swansea with 8 minutes to go felt like a sucker punch. However with 3 minutes to go Matt Hibbert found Brett inside the Swansea half and a run into the D which was pulled back for a Bridgend shot resulted in another flick. Cool as cucumber up stepped Tom Hopkins to make it 2-2. At the death Bridgend should and could have won it when we were about to score with a shot from 4 yards but the umpire blew for full time. It will feel like 2 points dropped but on reflection we could have lost.
Whitchurch Men’s F 3 – 1 Bridgend Men’s C
Playing on probably the best pitch in South Wales in the heady atmosphere of the Wales National Hockey Centre, the 10.30am start meant that the stadium was only half full at the first whistle.
Bridgend fielded 3 youngsters in Louis, Daffyd and Barnaby as well as newcomers Mathias and Rhys, the latter having taken up the sport again after a 15 year hiatus.
It was Ben Jonson in his essays of expense in 1625 who said ‘I glory more in the cunning purchase of my wealth than in the glad possession’. He would never have made much of a hockey player – however one acquires the ball, the secret of the game is the means by which a team retains possession.
Bridgend simply kept giving it away to a young Whitchurch side who regularly made the Ravens pay a dear price.
That this was Bridgend’s first league game of the season meant that one can forgive unfamiliarity of players and running lines, but a score of 2-0 to Whitchurch at half time was entirely deserved for the home side.
The second half saw Bridgend retain possession far better and some terrific tackling from youngster Barnaby down the Bridgend right meant that Whitchurch attacks were regularly repelled. Debutante Rhys worked incredibly hard in midfield to neuter the Whitchurch play-maker and Nick up front was his usual industrious self. Despite Louis and Daffyd getting more involved in the game and some wonderful last ditch tackling from the evergreen JT and Derek, Whitchurch scores again.
Bridgend chins did not dip and a wonderful move involving 6 players saw Bridgend score a wonderful goal via Nick.
The final whistle sounded and one was left ruing the fact that too many Bridgend players had not read Mr Jonson’s essays!
There are two words that describe this game “fast” and “furious”! Bridgend held their own really well in the first half, putting in some quality long balls for the tireless forwards to chase but unfortunately Radnor found the back of the Bridgend goal with 10 minutes to go till half time. Bridgend were unfortunate to go in to half time 1-0 down. After a constructive team talk Bridgend went into the second half with their fighting spirit renewed but a couple of incredible chances from the Bridgend forwards narrowly missed the target and they were unable to capitalise. 2 further Radnor goals put the game beyond Bridgend’s reach but the final score didn’t reflect the intensity or Bridgend’s pressure. Player of the match was Mel