Bridgend travelled to Leominster to build on their victory from last week against Devises. They started slowly and let the opposition catch them on the counter again, scoring a goal fairly early in the game. Another couple of goals came soon after from Leominster with them making use of ariel balls that eliminated the bulk of the Bridgend team. Despite efforts from Matt Wooster, Rhys Owen, Matthew Woodward and keeper Adrian Hibbert, Leominster took both opportunities. Half time saw Bridgend 3-0 down with a lot to do. The second half saw a much different outfit come out to represent Bridgend. Both in attitude and in productivity. Slick flowing passing moves moving through the midfield of Bridgend, saw Michael Hodges, Rob Evans and Andrew ‘AJ’ Jones starting to link with the forwards to create chances. Many of these resulted in short corners and 2 of these were converted by James Griffiths and Rhys Owen to narrow the deficit. Unfortunately, Leominster scored a lucky couple of goals as a result of some deflections, to widen the gap between the teams. Much more work was required for the final minutes of the game with things starting to open up. The wide men of Paul Jones and Jon Rubery made inroads on the flanks and allowed more short corner opportunities. While the rotations of Andrew Jones (junior), Steve Murphy and Osian Jones added to the attacking might of Bridgend. Two more of the short corners were put away, both by James Griffiths. The last unfortunately coming on the final whistle, leaving Bridgend one goal short of their opposition. Next week sees top of the table Bristol and West at the home ground of Pencoed.
Brecon ladies: 3 Bridgend ladies 1sts: 3
After a rather soggy warm up and a late change of venue due to a swimming pool pitch, both teams were ready to play. Bridgend were a bit taken aback by the speed of the Brecon play to start with, unfortunately this resulted in an early lead for Brecon. However, almost immediately Bridgend decided to give Brecon a taste of their own medicine by playing strong balls in between players up the pitch resulting in a spectacular goal by Izzy Jones. The game settled into a fairly even (and bruising!) encounter with both teams trading goals, Bridgends 2nd goal scored by Izzy Jones after some lovely play between the Bridgend players. At this point Bridgend and Brecon were neck and neck with Sarah tipping the score in Bridgends favour. Bridgend looked to have this game in the bag but a late goal by Brecon meant that Bridgends 1st league point was limited to one instead of the three they deserved.
Bridgend 2’s VS Gloucester City
Nick Anthony’s Ravens faced off against the mighty Gloucester City HC at Pencoed Comprehensive. Prior to this game Gloucester City had played 5 games, won 4 with 23 goals for and only 5 goals against. Gloucester being another team with a heavy average goal per game and rarely conceding. With Bridgend being a defensive bias team, this game was always going to be interesting.
Bridgend had a roster of 16 consisting of – (10) Cap. Nic Anthony, (16) “Ever ready” Goalie Adam Hawas between the posts, (52) “Phil Brooks” Phil Rees,(48) ”Jimbo” Jamie Brooks, (97) Gareth Collier,(94) David Collier, (6) Ian Whitelock, (88)“Calm” Jason Arnold, (65) Kris Williams, (108) Mike Wilkes, (73) Tom Hopkins, (73) Rhodri Owen, (34) Ross Allen, (99) Jon Murphy and (22) “scofe” Andy Schofield.
The team talk was to make use of the extra players available and keep as many fresh legs on the field as possible with a constant rotation, make Gloucester work hard for possession.
The first half started, Gloucester’s intentions were clear, to play an open game and constantly look to go forward with a high press. The majority of the first half was an onslaught of attack and desperate defence by the Ravens. Hawas and his back three of Jamie Brooks, Phil Rees and David Collier did all they could to stem the flow of play but it wasn’t enough. Gloucester’s first goal came from a hit into the D and a smart deflection at the penalty spot and the ball was curled around Hawas and into the bottom left corner. A second goal came shortly after a save from Adam Hawas, the ball was deflected back to the top of the D and then a second shot got passed Hawas and Jamie Brooks to settle the score at 2 – 0 at half time.
The first half saw zero shots on the Gloucester goal, poor passing and far to much loss of possession. The half time team talk was to completely reset the game, move a few players around and start playing with an attacking mindset.
The second half saw only one more unlucky goal conceded by the Ravens and a masterclass of defensive prowess by Jamie Brooks and Phil Rees pulled off an amazing pick out of the Ravens net to save another goal. Adam Hawas pulled off a save with his face mask and a save at the final whistle that got the respect of the Gloucester captain. The game ended 3 – 0 but with with many outstanding individual performances by the Ravens its a game that the scoreline did not reflect the blood sweat and tears that the Ravens put into the game.
Man of the match goes to Jamie Brooks with an inspiring performance, honourable mentions go to Phil Rees, Jason Arnold, Nick Anthony & Andy Schofield for leaving it all on the field. The Ravens once again walk away for this game with heads held high. This loss leaves the Ravens 9th in the league of 12 with No.2 team Bristol & West A to play next week.
Bridgend ladies 2nds 2 – 1 Abergavenny ladies 2nds
In the shadow of the Brecon Beacons, Bridgend provided it’s hosts with an intense opening battle of possession and skill. As the ladies settled into the game and adapted to the soggy, sandy pitch, Bridgend were able to work well as a team and create some chances. Both teams worked end to end but Bridgend’s sustained tide of pressure provided forward Lauren Hancock with a beautiful run and hit finding the back of the goal. Bridgend defence worked immensely meeting strong attacks from Abergavenny with skill and provided our speedy mid-field with counter attack opportunities. As Bridgend continued to take chances and apply pressure, Lauren was able to smash in another goal to put us 2-0 ahead at half time.
The second half of the game seemed to fly by and Bridgend were determined to keep its momentum but after a disallowed goal from Ella Roberts Abergavenny were able to capitalise on a short corner and the score was 2-1. Bridgend battled on and solid defending and fast passages of play enabled us to leave with a win today.
Player of the match awarded to Michelle Hancock.