Cirencester 4 -2 Bridgend
Bridgend started quickly on a wet and windy day in Cirencester with a high press and high team moral. Some clinical passing and movement from Andrew “AJ” Jones and a switch from Rhydian Cole to Paul Jones in Cirencester’s half to allow Mike Hodges to dance into the D passed two and strike to the bottom right corner. Instantly putting Bridgend in the lead. Although Bridgend came out strong again from Cirencester’s push back, they were keen eyed to notice and exploit a gap in Bridgend’s defence for a long ball through to one of their strikers and to level 1-1. Some good but unlucky defending from Bridgend and hindering weather allowed Cirencester to go one up at 2-1. Both teams kept pushing but it was Cirencester who won a critical short corner to flick to the roof of the net and go further ahead at 3-1. There was some hope for Bridgend tho as a well deserved short corner for bridgend allowed a pass to Rhodri Owen on the back left post to tap it in behind their keeper. This 3-2 score line kept Bidgend going but some more unlucky decisions from the Umpire caused a one on one with Bridgend keeper Adrian Hibbert, where he did well to partially block a shot from Cirencester but it dribbled over the goal line as Osian Jones and John Woodward desperately swung at the ball, unable to avoid the 4-2 final score line yet a valiant effort from Bridgend.
Bridgend Ladies 1sts: 1 Carmarthen: 3
With fairly equal possession initially it looked set to be a fairly even game. Unfortunately Carmarthen managed to break through Bridgends ranks and struck the first blow. Bridgend rallied and the ball kept going back and forth between the two teams but Carmarthen managed to slip through and score again before half time. The team talk put Bridgend in a determined mood for the second half and they made some great tackles and runs resulting in a short corner. The well worked short corner between Lou Jones and Cerys Richards resulted in a goal for Bridgend. As the game proceeded a draw looked likely but sadly Carmarthen struck the last blow. Man of the match went to Charlie for her tireless work in midfield. Dude of the day went to Aimee for surviving a brutal tackle and nerp of the day went to Cerys for forgetting her hockey shoes !!
Bridgend 2’s VS Cheltenham B @ Pencoed
With Captain Nick Anthony unavailable this week, Hawas’s Heroes entertained Cheltenham B at the home pitch at Pencoed with one thing on their mind…a Win. A clear strategy was needed. Over the last 4 games the Ravens had conceded 6 goals but only scored 6, meaning their defence was strong and established but it was now time to be brave and take the game to Cheltenham. A high press was the aim for the first half. Hawas had Neal Hollis, Phil Rees (Phil Brooks) and David Collier playing in the back 3, with Jamie “Jimbo” Brooks in the aptly named “Jimbo Role”, and playing just in front of Phil Rees and just behind the mid field of Andy Schofield, John “Rubes” Rubery, Jason Arnold and Kris Williams. Upfront the Ravens had Mike Wilkes and Ian Whitelock. Newcomer Taran Moss and John Murphy were the super subs, ready and eager to support the Ravens when needed.
The first half started as planned with the Ravens pressing very high and forcing Cheltenham to send long distance aerial lobs from their 23 meter line right into the heart or the Ravens defence. This was repeated time and time again but the majority of the efforts were superbly handled by Jamie Brooks who had a very strong first half. Phil Rees showed his International level skills by also making light work of the aerial attacks by Cheltenham. Eventually Cheltenham turned up the pace and had a few attempts on goal, one of which was hit into the D straight to an attacker on the penalty spot who deflected the ball to Hawas’s right hand side. Hawas the keeper had zero time to see the ball but luckily reacted with lightning speed and an ice hockey-esque movement of his gauntlet, swatted the ball over the bar. The Ravens retaliated with a fine string of passes the from the back through Neal Hollis up the line to Kris Williams then into the D but with no direct shot available the Ravens forced a foul by Cheltenham and were awarded a penalty corner. Jamie Brooks injected the ball for John Rubbery to stop ready for Jason Arnold who smashed the ball through the Cheltenham keepers legs to put Bridgend up 1 to 0.
Just before half time, Cheltenham won their own Penalty corner which they attempted to flick passed Hawas who managed to part of his leg guards to the ball but the ball deflected into the fearless Phil Rees on the line but still managed to find the net and the half ended 1 – 1.
The half time team talk was simple, more pressure and force Cheltenham to keep giving away possession with their careless aerial passes. The Ravens felt like the game was there for the taking as long as they keep composed. Neal Hollis swapped with Taran Moss now in defence and Jon Murphy made his presence felt upfront. Early on in the second half the Ravens were awarded a penalty stroke as a result of a Cheltenham defender stopping a fantastic shot by Andy Schofield with his body and so the umpires rightly awarded a flick. Jason Arnold bravely stood up to take the flick. The Cheltenham keep tried to out smart Jason by standing very close to his own left post – suggesting that Jason would shoot to the keepers right side. However Jason didn’t fall for this and professionally put the ball in the gaol passed a floundering Cheltenham keeper. Shortly another goal for the Ravens from super Schofield and the score was now 3-1. With 10 minutes left Cheltenham threw caution to the wind and tried to play the Ravens at their own game by playing with a very high press. In the last 5 minutes, the Bridgend mid field were beaten by an aerial which resulted in an unmarked Cheltenham attacker with a ball 15 feet ahead of him which would have resulted in a 1 on 1 with Adam Hawas in Goal. Hawas saw an opportunity to dispossess the attacker before he got to the ball and sprinted 15 feet out of his D to smash the ball with his stick and give his defence time to make it back to defend. Although Hawas got to the ball first, it deflected off the attackers stick and straight back into the face mask of Hawas. Although the attack was stopped and Bridgend survived the onslaught, the umpires followed the rule book and penalised Hawas with a yellow card. This was because the ball cannot touch a goalies kit outside the designated “D” unless its the stick only. With only 5 minutes of the game left, and a penalty flick awarded to Cheltenham this created much Drama for the last moment of the game and a route back for the away team. Fearless Phil Rees put a face mask on and stood in goal and very nearly saved the flick. The score was 3-2 with minutes to go, with stand in Captain Adam Hawas off for the remainder of the game, John Rubery put the keeper kit on took up the position of Goalie. Hawas could only watch with bated breath as his team fought tooth and nail to keep the score 3-2 and secure a win. John Rubery had a few shots to stop and shortly after the final whistle came. Final score 3 – 2 and an outstanding performance by the entire team with Andy Schofield picking up man of the match. A big mention for Taran Moss who had his first game for the Ravens 2’s and clearly helped secure the victory. Well done the Ravens.