Bridgwater's mens 5th team moved into the top half of the table following their third straight league win against Isca's 6th team.
In an open game both teams looked to to attack at every opportunity; however it was the defences of both teams that proved to be the stronger as neither team could find a way to score. While Jack Dillon and Steve Richards came close to opening the scoring for Bridgwater; Rob Wood, Clayton Hobbs, Steve Morrish and James Kettlewell had to be at their best to keep out a number of Isca attacks. With the half drawing to a close, Kev Hicks through ball set up Dillon who in turn fed Alex Ward to open the scoring. Bridgwater doubled their lead within a minute as Will Kelly set up Dillon and with the final play of the half, Kettlewell added a third converting a short corner.
The second half was played in the same manner as the first, with neither team being able to find a way through to goal as the well defences were again in control. At the end of the game Bridgwater's 3 goal burst at the end of the first half proved to be the difference between two evenly matched teams in a game that was well officiated and played in good spirits.
Bridgwater's Man of the Match was Clayton Hobbs.
Many thanks to match ball sponsor, Roy Pumfrey.
Bridgwater's 5th team recorded their 5th win of the season thanks to a battling defensive display against East Devon's 5th team.
East Devon started the stronger and Bridgwater were indebted to keeper Rob Wood who produced a series of fine saves to keep the home side in the game. As the half progressed Bridgwater settled into the game forcing the East Devon keeper into a number good saves of his own. With Bridgwater now dominating the midfield area through Sam Kitch, Dom Court and Brandon Durkin, it was East Devon who took the lead as the broke away to put the visitors ahead shortly before half time. However, Bridgwater drew level within two minutes as Will Pope set up Steve Pigden who fired the ball into a empty net. As East Devon looked to see out the half, Ben Squires intercepted the ball and with a drove powerfully into the D to slip the ball past the East Devon keeper to give Bridgwater the lead.
East Devon changed their formation at half time and Bridgwater were forced to defend throughout the half. Wood backed up by defenders, Clayton Hobbs, Steve Morrish, Jack Syvret and Will Baldwin,continued to keep East Devon at bay; while Jack Dillon and Sam Sweatman continually posed a threat on the counter attack and were unlucky not to add to Bridgwater's score. By the end of the game, Bridgwater had done enough to get the win that moved them into the top half of the league.
After a committed display from the whole team, Bridgwater's player of the match was shared between Wood, Morrish, Syvret, Pope and Squires.
Many thanks to match ball sponsor, Roy Pumfrey.
Bridgwater's 5th team returned to winning ways with a narrow away win at very wet and very windy Ashmoor.
After three heavy defeats, Bridgwater's defence has been used to being under siege, and with Ashmoor dominating the midfield, the defence was called upon right from the outset. Despite Ashmoor dominating possession, Bridgwater's defensive trio of Steve Morrish, Clayton Hobbs and James Kettlewell, backed up by keeper Rob Wood held firm and Ashmoor failed to take advantage. As the half progressed Bridgwater began to get a foothold in the game and took the lead when Lewis Coad and Steve Richards combined to release Ben Squires who in turn set up Jack Dillon to finish from close range. However, Bridgwater's lead was short lived as Ashmoor took advantage of a rare Bridgwater defensive error to pull the home side level within a matter of minutes.
Ashmoor's dominance continued into the second half, but Bridgwater (with a mixture of good fortune and defensive resolution) managed to hold firm. As Ashmoor continued to push forward, Squires took advantage of a defensive slip, to feed Dillon whose cool finish put Bridgwater back into the lead. With a lead to protect, Bridgwater now defended from the front with Ted Kelly and Sam Sweatman looking to chase down every loose ball and with a calm head needed, team manager Alan Baldwin came off the bench to ensure the final few minutes were played out with little chance of an Ashmoor equaliser.
Overall it was a battling performance in adverse weather conditions. Bridgwater's defensive unit put in an outstanding performance and their efforts deserved to be rewarded with the victory.
Player of the Match was shared between James Kettlewell and Jack Dillon.
Bridgwater 5s suffered another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of a very strong Tiverton team.
Having scored 23 goals in their last game, Tiverton looked like matching that score as they raced in to a 4-0 lead after just 15 minutes. Bridgwater were able to offer some attacking threat on the counter attack as the half progressed, allowing Bridgwater's defensive unit of Alex Howe, Steve Morrish, Kev Hicks and Danny Rogers time to regroup. Despite the Bridgwater goal being frequently under attack, Tiverton were only able to add a further three goals before half time.
The second half started much the same as the first and it was again very much one way traffic, with Bridgwater keeper Rob Wood having to be at his best to keep the score down as Tiverton added a further three goals. As the half progressed, so Bridgwater were able to offer more of an attacking threat, with Steve Richards, Jack Dillon and Sam Sweatman, all putting in a shift up front and their efforts should have been rewarded with at least a couple of goals, Tiverton completed the scoring adding their 12th goal - their skill, effort and the spirit in which they game played the game, should be congratulated.
For Bridgwater's young team, this was another learning experience and one which they have again shown that they are ready and able to compete, if not match the best teams in the league.
Man of the Match was shared between Alex Howe and Kev Hicks.
Bridgwater 5s made the journey to play local rivals in the South East 3 division, Taunton Civil Service 2nd. The young Bridgwater team acquitted themselves really well in the first half, and played some excellent hockey. Brad Palmer in goal had to make some crucial stops, and the experienced Steve Morrish in the centre of defence has an imperious game, snuffing out countless opposition attacks, ably supported by the returnig Alex Howe and a rock-solid James Kettlewell on the left. The midfield was bolstered this week by Ben Squires, who had an exellent match, linking the defence and attack with Steve Pigden playing on his shoulder. Ted Kelly turned out for an excellent debut, and with his brother Will, must have covered more ground than anyone.
It was civil service who went ahead, but within a few minutes a great attack from Bridgwater, linking down the right hand side, and driving into the D, an excellent cross was buried by Jack Dillon, taking the teams into half time all square.
The second half was a niggly affair, with a couple of challeges from TCS which would have merited a yellow card in rugby, and the home side began to demonstrate their customary absence of sense of humour. Both teams saw green cards, but it was TCS that stamped their authority on the game - overpowering the young Bridgwater side and adding six goals in the second half.
Bridgwater never gave up, and actually played some of their best hockey this season (especially in the first half) and were unfortunate not to add their goal tally from a series of short corners in the last ten munites of the game - drawing a number of saves and blocks from the TCS keep and defence.
Man of the match was shared between Ben Squires and Will Kelly.
Bridgwater Mens 5th team had a tough hockey lesson on Saturday in the GoCrea8 South West Hockey League. The league rules mean that new teams have to enter at the lowest level, and this created something of a mismatch between the new Exeter University 7th team, and Bridgwater's predominantly young side.
Depsite being outclassed, Bridgwater's mixture of youth and experience fought until the end. Mark Hutter in the Bridgwater goal, supported by Ben Stone, Mike Eele, Steve Pigden and Steve Morrish battled to keep the raiders away, but despite efforts in midfield by Lewis Coad, Kev Kicks and Liam Durkin and a couple of raids from Jack Dilllon, Conor Gillespie, Sam Sweatman and the tireless Will Kelly, Bridgwater were overwhelmed in the first period, shipping eight goals.
In the second half, Bridgwater tightened up a bit, but were only able to reduce the traffic and limit the damage to a further five goals. Steve Richards and Tom Syvret did a couple of good stints to relieve tired legs, and the spirit of the team help, despite this match always going to be an uphill struggle.
Man of the Match went to Mike Eele, and thanks to match ball sponsor Roy Pumfrey.
Goals by Will Kelly and Jack Dillon in the final ten minutes gave Bridgwater's 5th team a narrow victory against Sidmouth & Ottery's 5th team at a wet and windy Ottery St Mary.
Bridgwater started the stronger of the two teams but failed to take advantage of their early possession. As Bridgwater pushed further forward, Sidmouth & Ottery's were able to counter attack with success and came close to breaking the deadlock before half time.
Sidmouth and Ottery opened the scoring at the start of the second half and came close to adding a second soon after as Bridgwater's defence went missing. As the half progressed Bridgwater pushed further forward and were lucky not to concede a second goal with keeper Rob Wood and defender Stephen Richards making a number of vital saves and clearances to keep the visitors in the game. With time running out and the rain starting to get heavier, Bridgwater's efforts looked like they would count for nothing -that was until Will Kelly broke into the Sidmouth D and slotted home to draw Bridgwater level. From the restart Bridgwater broke up a Sidmouth attack and released Kelly who once again broke in the Sidmouth D, this time setting up Jack Dillon to score what proved to be the winner. As Sidmouth pressed for an equalising goal, Bridgwater's defence had enough experience to see out the game, giving Bridgwater their first away win of the season.
Man of the Match was Will Kelly.
Bridgwater 5s travelled to Exeter University, to the sand- based pitch for the second time this season in trhe GoCrea8 Hockey League South East Division, this time to play an experienced ISCA side. With the weather set to cold and 'moist', it was going to be key for the substitutes to stay warm and ready for the game.
Several changes were made from last week as Will Baldwin came in to make his season's debut, with Danny Rogers and Ben Stone adding some much needed experience to the young team. The game started with neither team looking to concede, but it was ISCA who were to create the best early chance, needing Bridgwater keeper Rob Wood to make a fine save. Stone, Steve Morrish, Tom Syvret, Baldwin and James Kettlewell looked solid and assured at the back, not allowing a spritely ISCA attack into the game. Kev Hicks, Dom Court, Lewis Coad and Danny Rogers also helped tidy up at the back, but also adding strength to the attack, ably supported by 'Anti-Skill' Hicks, George King and a Steve Richards. Up top Will Kelly did cause problems with his unusual style and pace, along with Sam Sweatman and Jack Dillon, with the latter having some good attempts. ISCA used all of their experience at the back to push, pull and cajole a young Bridgy front line. Both teams harried and pressed, but neither could find the cutting edge. Kettlewell along with Stone made their aerials were a constant threat. Despite some umpiring lattitude neither team could get the clear cut opportunity so the half ended with no goals.
Knowing that they normally switch on and turn up in the second half Bridgwater felt confident that a chance would fall their way and they would take the lead. This did not happen though, as Bridgwater couldnt find a way past the physical ISCA defence. A small mistake at the back allowed the young ISCA striker to take the lead - Wood's deflection couldnt put it wide. Rogers did his best to get the team going, using a combination of encouragement and wisdom. With the weather setting in, a small tweak was made, only for ISCA to take another goal, leaving Bridgwater trying hard to recover something from the away trip. By this time it was freezing and very very wet, and hamburgers at Cullumpton Services were calling a number of the younger members! Bridgwater tried not to give up and fought hard, having to change their style of game to match the physical dominace of ISCA, but sadly to no avail - despite Wood sending the striker into the air whilst winning the ball, they still scored into an empty net. The game ended just in time as the rain really started to come down.
Man of the Match went down to the last vote, with Danny Rogers just pipping Dom Court. Enjoy the break guys, lets come back fresh and have fun!!!
Bridgwater travelled to East Devon in The GoCrea8 Hockey League South East 3 division, with a late change of time and venue but managed to get the same team together. With a cold and crisp wind whistling through Exeter, hockey weather had finally arrived.
Bridgwater started well and on the front foot but Jack Dillon, Will Kelly and Dan Pigden couldn't quite beat the oppositionkeeper. Kev Hicks, Steve Morrish, James Kettlewell and Alex Howe supported sturdy a defence with stand in Keeper Luke Hendrie against an experienced East Devon attack. Lewis Coad, Dom Court and George King helped on the wings and drove the ball forward, but against the run of play a short was awarded to East Devon. Bridgwater couldn't clear the ball and East Devon slotted the ball home with their first attack. Bridgwater thought they had equalised from Dillon as Kettlewell did well with a short corner, but the umpire determined that the ball hadn't left the ‘D’ and the goal was disallowed. Bridgwater continued to push forward chasing a goal but the changes of Sam Sweatman, Stephen Richards and Tom Syvret couldn't create the breakthrough. Just before half time East Devon were awarded another short corner that was skillfully flicked for their second goal. Bridgwater found themsleves two goals down at the break, despite having more that 80% of the play in the oposition half.
So a short halftime discussion and a couple of tweaks to the line up allowed Bridgwater to again start strong. Pigden and Court both pressed forward and created a hatful of chances. As Dillon, Court, Pigden, Sweatman, Hicks all had attempts but they could not beat a debutant keeper who was in outstanding form. Court hit both posts but this was a day when Bridgwater had no luck. There was some brilliant, flowing play from back to front by Bridgwater, who were within a whisker of a couple of text book coaching goal. At the same time Kettlewell, Hendrie, Howe and Syvret were key at the back as they broke down a flurry of East Devon breakaways. Disappointingly for Bridgwater, East Devon showed the better finish as they tapped into an empty net with five minutes to go. Bridgwater continued to press forward it was not destined to be their day.
Despite a dominating performance Bridgwater couldn't finish and all that was missing from a very good performance was a goal.
Man of the match went to Dom Court, with Dan Pigden a close second.
The GoCrea8 Hockey League South East 3 division threw up a meeting of minds as ECVH travelled to the Chilton Trinity Arena with two teams dreaming of a 5th place finish. Bridgwater welcomed back youngsters Tom Stacey and Alex Howe, whilst not so young Mike Eele also came back into the fold.
The game started with bottom of the table ECVH all over Bridgwater, but with good saves by keeper Rob Wood along with Eele, James Kettlewell, Kev Hicks and Howe blocking well, Bridgwater kept it tight at the back. With Lewis Coad, Clayton Hobbs, Stacey and Will Kelly all bombing forward, chances were created for Steve Morrish and Jack Dillon. Bridgwater won a short corner which was struck well by Kettlewell but saved; the ball came straight back to Hicks who skillfully guided the ball into the corner. Morrish had a couple of chances to extend the lead from Kelly’s midfield running but it was ECVH who were to strike next from a penalty flick, after Howe blocked a shot on the line with his foot. With the game now going end to end and with subs and a couple of injuries, Tom Syvret, Sam Kitch and George King entered the fray. They all impressed and matched the levels of those who went off, but with ten minutes to go in the half Bridgwater had a lucky break and King blasted home. The back line and keeper were all to thank for keeping the lead at the half time.
So Bridgwater finally turned up in the first half of a game, so the challenge was to match it with a good second half performance. Minutes into the half, a long ball from Kettlewell found Hicks who anti-skilled the ball into the D for Dillon to slot home. No one quite knew what was going on as the game started to go towards Bridgwater. ECVH were not finished though, and some Bridgwater inexperience led to ECVH getting too much possession and it needed Wood and Eele to keep Bridgwater in the game. Bridgwater should have stretched their lead as a raft of chances came and went - a lack of finishing in front of goal which could potentially have cost Bridgwater the game.
ECVH decided that they had given Bridgwater enough posession and decided to turn on the skills of their own. They pressed forward and scored two quick goals and with 15 minutes to go to the scores ere level. Howe, Stacey, Eele and Kettlewell all battled hard at the back to prevent it from getting worse but with eight minutes to go ECVH took the lead with an epic mishit. There was time left for a Bridgwater to comeback but Hicks and Dillon couldn't find the target and with the final throw of the dice a very tired Eele couldnt find enough to get past a resolute ECVH defence.
So Bridgwater were left to rue the lack of finishing, but the young squad and team can be very proud of the effort shown, and hope to bounce back with a win next week.
Man of the Match was the ever impressive Alex Howe with Rob Wood a close second.
Bridgwater continued in the GoCrea8 Hockey League South East 3 division hosting the up and coming young team of Ashmoor. Due to some fun times with selection Bridgwater ended up with 16 players, rotation was the order of the day.
Having 16 players could have gone one of two ways and for Bridgwater it went the wrong way. Despite showing early promise with Richard Payne up front it didn’t last long as he injured himself within five minutes. Despite only having 11 Ashmoor had the right blend of youth and experience and showed this as they tore a non-existent Bridgwater midfield and part defence apart.
Kev Hicks, James Kettlewell, Steve Morrish, Sam Kitch, Tom Stacey, Tom Syvret and Alex Howe all had to keep the swathe of Ashmoor attacks at bay and Mark Hutter had to be at his best in goal. Kettlewell couldnt do much else but clear the lines, as Dan Pigden, Mike Eele (both coming back from long term injuries) Lewis Coad, Max Cattle and George King couldn't quite get hold of the midfield. Ashmoor took advantage of a poor half by scoring first and then second as Bridgwater looked ineffective and asleep. Ashmoor could have had more if it wasn't for Hutter’s foot and some quality tackling by Stacey, Hicks and Kettlewell. So at the break Ashmoor had the play, the possession and (it looked like) the points in the bag.
So Bridgwater had a barracking at half time, including the skipper himself, as Bridgwater hadnt played anywhere near the levels they had in the previous weeks. A small change in formation and personnel brought a change in attitude as Bridgwater looked more likely to score as Jack Dillon, Sam Sweatman and Pigden all moved up top with more effect as Bridgwater pushed for the win, accepting the risk of conceding more goals. Ashmoor had Hutter to thank for not extending their lead but having 11 v 15 meant that Ashmoor did get tired. Bridgwater exploited this with a well worked move that was played through the middle to Pigden, he laid the ball off to Morrish who in turn put Dillon through one on one with the keeper, with ball ending up in bottom corner.
Everyone was shocked as Dillon didn’t try to hit the ball and it went in, shock horror. From this point the game got scrappy as both teams went in search for the goals, left huge gaps with neither side getting hold of the game. Ashmoor looked dangerous on the counter but Eele looked solid with Howe and Stacey both looking determined, and looked equally effective pushing forward. Bridgwater were awarded a succession of short corners (and a succession of green cards!), with the shorts not being coverted and the greens nearly costing them dear. A short corner was finally put in by Eele on the 3rd attempt as Ashmoor pulled off two amazing goal line stops.
The last 5 minutes turned into a ‘me to you, to you to me’ scrap as both teams were settling for a point but at the same time both teams were guilty of being stupid. Ashmoor had a short corner with two minutes to go which was well saved by Hutter. With a minute left Bridgwater were on the attack with ‘I've been free all day’ Hicks bumbling and anti-skilling his way into the D only to find Dillon who yet again pushed a shot into the corner.
The final whistle arrived soon after.
After the first half Bridgwater deserved nothing, and were lucky Ashmoor only scored two. On the second half performance Bridgwater deserved a goal or two but could still have lost it all. Well played to all, especially those younger payers who all stepped up for the second half.
Thank you to the umpires and to all for recognising the fund-raising activities of Luke Buckingham.
Man of the match was close but it went to Alex Howe and Tom Stacey who looked cool and calm throughout.
This week the GoCrea8 Hockey League South East 3 division had Bridgwater travelling to face a new side Tiverton. Tiveton had steamrollered all that came before them in the previous weeks so yet another challenge awaited the Bridgwater 5.
On a par with recent weeks, Bridgwater opened with the opposition all over them. The bus that was Steve Morrish, James Kettlewell and Kev ‘the iron lung’ Hicks was well and truly parked, with Rob Wood in goal making some crucial saves. Foe a while it looked like Tiverton had scored all their goals last week and were taking pity on Bridgwater. George King, Liam Durkin and Will Kelly all came back to support the defence to great effect. Dom Court looked untroubled with young Lewis Coad also showing his potential.
Tiverton were far too strong for a slightly depleted Bridgwater and did finally break the deadlock. Tom Syvret, Jack Dillon and Luke Hendrie all did their parts up front with Dillon nearly scoring from a tight angle. Tiverton were proving to be too strong and with a couple of decisions going against Bridgwater, they were made to fight hard. The defence which was now tiring though, and the silky movement from Tiverton tore Bridgwater apart, scoring three in quick succession just before half time which took the wind out of Bridgwater’s sails.
At half time there was talk of a mutiny, but sensibly it was decided against it and Bridgwater started the second half after some cheeky jelly babies. Court again showed his class coming back to support looking awesome - and then pushing up and looking awesome. Durkin, Kelly, Dillon and King all played superbly well in the midfield with some of the best anti-skill out there. But Tiverton continued to dominate and scored three more goals in the second half.
Kettlewell, Hicks, Morrish, Hendrie and Coad all tackled back really well with Wood making some key saves. Young Syvret battled hard through out, showing real promise. Despite being under the cosh for 60 minutes Bridgwater nearly sneaked a consolation goal but Tiverton were determined to not concede.
Again a game where Bridgwater were out-gunned and out-skilled but the youngsters never gave up, neither did Iron Lung despite being clattered.
Joint Man of the Match went to the hard working Dom Court and hard hitting Kettlewell. And yet again the skipper got a vote or two.........
Bridgwater were at home to play local rivals Taunton Civil Service. With the late addition of Clayton Hobbs, Bridgwater started the game brightly despite TCS looking a stronger team. Debutant Mike Linton with new strike partner Connor Gillespie looked to make short shrift of the TCS defence but they stood firm. Max Cathole, George King, Hobbs, Lewis Coad all battled hard in the midfield, but an early injury to Geoff Banham as he fell on the hockey ball led to emergency changes.
TCS had a shot rebounding from the cross bar and several short corners which they couldn’t convert with Dominic Court and Hobbs making sure shots and slips weren’t made and Bridgwater keeper Rob Wood made some key blocks. Alex Howe, Sam Kitch, James Kettlewell, Steve Morrish and Court all played solidly at the back with Kettlewell making his hard hits and flicks count. Tom Syvret played very well in the first half as he showed some cool headed passes.
TCS should have taken the lead but couldn't make their possession count. Against the run of play a move by Cathole and Linton led to a short corner which Gillespie injected with gusto to skipper Morrish, and his scooped shot took a deflection past the keeper into the corner.
Despite Bridgwater taking a suprise lead into the second half, TCS were the stronger team, and Bridgwater couldnt quite break through with Kitch and King chasing up top. With Bridgwater struggling to hold the ball up front, TCS got more of the ball but became frustrated as they couldn't convert the pressure. Morrish, Hobbs, Kettlewell, Howe, and Court all played their hearts out with the latter controlling the ball well, looking like an early contender for player of the season.
With about 15 minutes to go tempers flared with a player from each team receiving a green card, but the Bridgwater player upgraded to a yellow. Gillespie, Linton and Coad dropped back to help defence and with ten-a-side, TCS played better hockey but the pressure got the better of TCS and a player received a red card. This appeared to spur on TCS and they did get a goal from a short corner that just crossed the line.
TCS continued against a tiring and drained Bridgwater team and they managed to secure a second goal. Bridgwater battled until the end and could have taken a suprise goal with Hobbs injecting some hard balls into the ‘D’ but TCS held them off.
Another game where Bridgwater were out-gunned and out-skilled, but the combination of young player and new arrivals at the club was pleasing to see.
Man of the match was the hard working Court who yet again showed his class.
Oh and (even) the skipper got a vote!
So the GoCrea8 Hockey League South East 3 division carried on for Bridgwater as they travelled to Exeter Uni to play what looked on paper to be a strong team.
Bridgwater started the game having ordered Chelsea’s bus, however it didn’t arrive in time and they knew it would be a tough game as Exeter Uni switched the play with ease and quite frankly outplayed and outmanned Bridgwater. Fitness was also a small issue for Bridgwater as they couldnt keep up with the extremely high work rate of Exeter Uni. But the defence of Alex Howe, Steve Morrish and James Kettlewell all held firm and with some top saves from Rob Wood somehow Bridgy were still in the game. Steve Pigden, Dominic Court, Tom Stacey, Geoff Banham with Max Cathole all supported the defence with some solid work and chasing down lost causes all helped, as did Exeter Uni missing some sitters. Wood was really busy in the first half and made some quality saves. Bridgwater held out for 25 minutes until Exeter Uni were awarded a flick for a foot on the line. Then Exeter Uni found their flow but Richard Payne, Jack Dillon and George King all came from up to top to help in the defence as it was like the alamo at times. Tom Syvret with Lewis Coad also did themselves proud with Exeter Uni finally breaking the shackles and scoring 4 more quick goals to go into the break 5-0.
The game had become bitty as Bridgwater fought valiantly and Exeter Uni had found them hard to break down. Sam Kitch came on in the second half and played outstandly well as the changes were rung but Bridgwater fought as hard in the second as they had in the first. Yes Exeter Uni scored within minutes but Howe and Stacey looked like older players as they both coped with the pressure well. Coad came into the back line and played really well as Pigden and Payne also dropped back to add the much needed experience but Exeter Uni proved too strong as they scored 6 in the second half. Wood did make good saves to ensure the score was kept low, but it was Court who helped run the show as he dealt with the game with maturity and skill. Dillon and Pigden came close but ultimately the Exeter Uni keeper had 3 touches.
So what else can be said? Bridgwater 5XI came up against a team that would have given their 2XI a good run. 11-0 may look like a poor result but in truth the kids battled hard and wont come against such a quality team until they find their way into the 1/2s.
Well played to all, especially man of the match, young Dominic Court.
After what seems like a long off season the GoCrea8 Hockey League South East 3 division kicked off for Bridgwater as they welcomed Sidmouth and Ottery, in what can only be described as an Indian summer.
The game started with Bridgwater firing into the sun, which seemed like a strange decision but the skipper Steve Morrish nearly knew what he was doing. The game started strongly for Bridgwater as debutants Tom Stacey,
Max Cathole and George King all played a key part. Jack Dillon and Will Kelly caused havoc in the Sidmouth defence but lacked the clinical touch which would have put Bridgwater ahead. At the other end Dominic Court, Alex Howe, Morrish, James Kettlewell and Stacey kept Sidmouth and Ottery at bay with a fellow debutant Mark Wood making some fine saves when Sidmouth and Ottery did break. Kettlewell looked assured at the back pinging some balls up the pitch. Returning player Clayton Hobbs battled hard in the midfield with ‘old guard’ Geoff Banham as well as youth Lewis Coad, Sam Sweatman and Sam Kitch also played their part with Coad and Kitch both playing outstandingly well in the first half. Sidmouth and Ottery could have taken the lead before half time but for a great block but Wood who looked assured in goal.
Half time came and a couple of tweaks to the formation were made as Bridgwater looked for the goals that they deserved, whilst keeping stability at the back. This didn’t go so well for the first 5 minutes as Sidmouth and Ottery created some dangerous attacks but as assured as ever Howe, Kitch and Stacey showed calmness and maturity. Hobbs was pushing the midfield with Kelly and Cathole as they created some tight chances but Morrish and Sweatman couldnt quite finish. With 10 minutes gone Bridgwater’s subsitutes, Kettlewell’s aerial balls and youth started to play their part against 11 men Sidmouth and Ottery and a defensive error from a Kelly ball led to Morrish burying the ball between the keepers legs, a great cross. The game then became strecthed as Morrish found himself in a similar position but this time the ball was put away on the half volley by Banham, so two scorers that noone would have placed on the list.
Sidmouth and Ottery never gave up but their determiniation to get a goal led to more space and Coad, Kelly, Court and Cathole looked to exploit this, as they did leading to Dillon getting his
first of the season. With 10 minutes to go Sidmouth and Ottery did get a goal, with the player hitting into an empty net as Bridgwater too became stretched. Court helped make sure that the defence
stayed together and despite Sidmouth and Ottery pressure from short corners Bridgwater held firm and could have got another right at the end.
Overall a solid start from some good young players, with Dominic Court coming second to Alex Howe in man of the match.
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