SATURDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2014
P10 W2 D0 L8 F11 A22
L1S LOST 2-4 vs MAIDSTONE. SCORERS: HOLLIE LAIDLAW AND PIPPA BULL.
Bishops stortford ladies took a long trip around the m25 to visit Maidstone hoping to continue their good form and pick up a 6th win on the bounce.
With captain Louisa missing and illness and school commitments a few new faces were in the team.
The match started at a fast pace and both teams had early chances to get on top but Maidstone took the early break to the first goal. A quick reply drew the visitors level with a short corner being capitalised on and Hollie Laidlaw slotting home on the right post.
Aggressive play drew a card for Suman Bala Garg and the umpires subsequently talked to both captains about tightening up on the tackling. Captain Alison Clifton kept the visitors level at the break with a superb short corner save turned around the post.
The second half saw the hosts start to dominate more and they scored quickly capitalising with a well worked short corner routine. Despite a quick reply with a direct ball into the d which pippa bull slotted home, Maidstone put themselves 2 goals ahead with 2 more slick corner routines.
Late attacks at the Maidstone goal came to no avail and the visitors couldn't find the last minute goals that have saved them in previous games. Despite the loss, stortford remain in second with a 5point gap on the opposition in 3rd. They hope to return to winning ways next week on another long trip to Folkestone.
M1s WON 2-1 VS FORD. SCORERS: VERNON BROWN AND SAM ECOTT
An important win for Stortford after a scrappy performance that was as stop-start as the flow of the game. The Stortford defence did well to nullify much of Ford's attacking threat which was limited to corner strikes and although there was good pressure going forward, the strikers will have hoped to make a little more hay while the sun was shining.
Jon Taylor disappeared to the sin bin after 10 minutes for perceived petulance as he hit the ball away after the whistle; with numeric advantage, Ford won a number of corners, but without a recognised specialist, there was little danger aside from a strike which was smartly cleared round the post by Sam Ecott.
The second half saw Stortford dominate proceedings and finally break the stalemate with 55 minutes gone. A neat attack and passing sequence saw Vernon Brown at the end of it all to put Stortford in front. The home side should now have made it comfortable, but having failed to add to the score, a sloppy equaliser was conceded with 5 minutes to go. Demonstrating some resilience and strength of character that has been well camouflaged in recent weeks, Stortford attacked hard again and winning a corner with 2 to go made no mistake in converting; Sam Ecott arriving at the back post to do the necessary! Afterwards Albert Marcano was content with the outcome: "it wasn't pretty and it wasn't perfect but it gives us a platform to move forward over the next few weeks." With another home game against bottom side St Ives next week, Stortford will want to build some momentum going into Christmas.
L2S LOST 1-2 VS SHEFFORD & SANDY. SCORER: KATY MOTSON
Stortford travelled well and started the game on form taking the lead with a goal from Katie Motson.
The home side started To find their game and equalised before half time with a goal to the top left.
The second half saw the battle commence. Both teams fought hard , with Charlotte Teall being hit with the ball. The home side snatched the game with a lucky deflection.
M2S LOST 0-1 vs BERKHAMSTED.
The Men's 2nd XI woeful run this season continued at the weekend, with yet another defeat by a narrow margin.
Bishop's Stortford played hosts to third placed Berkhamsted, yet the performance on the field would suggest that the two teams were much closer than eight positions that separated them in the division.
After soaking up some early pressure from the visitors, Stortford began to assert their own presence and had a couple of chances to take the lead, only to be let down in the final passage of play, which has been a problem throughout this first half of the campaign.
Unfortunately for Stortford, it was Berkhamsted who drew first blood. Stealing possession inside the Stortford half, they countered quickly and finished the move off to take a 1-0 lead into half time.
The second half was equally hard fought and again the home side created a handful of chances, winning a few short corners in the process. But Berkhamsted were not going to give up their slim advantage easily and on one occasion needed a couple of defenders to dive on top of the ball - and Stortford's striker - to stop the ball going over the line from six inches out.
Berkhamsted had opportunities to extend their lead, however, Stortford's goalkeeper and man-of-the-match, James Hickman, kept them at bay, taking a battering in the process.
The match finished with no further score and Stortford will feel that another opportunity to add to their points tally has gone begging. If they are to avoid relegation, Stortford will have to ensure that the team performances of recent weeks develop into much needed victories in the second half of the season, starting next week when they visit Royston.
L3s WON 3-1 VS CHILTERN. SCORERS: BEX MAYBURY X2, KAREN JONES
M3s LOST 0-1 VS BROXBOURNE
The men's 3's were again on the wrong side of the result this week as they lost out 1-0 to Broxbourne. Stortford played brightly despite a number of changes to personnel again, with debuts at 3rd team level for Sam Taylor and both Craig and Adam Bassingthwaighte. Stortford had long periods of pressure throughout the game but were always wary of Broxbourne on the break. In the end though it was a tale of short corners that decided the match with Stortford unable to score from their numerous opportunities and Broxbourne scoring from a scrappy corner. Stortford will ultimately feel very unlucky to have come away with nothing, but can be pleased with the performance as they look forward to the second half of the season.
L4s LOST 2-3 VS BLUEHARTS. SCORERS: KATE BYERS, HANNAH WITCHALLS
Today the Ladies 4’s saw an unlucky loss against Blue Harts 2-3. After a slow and disorientated start, Blue Harts snuck in a goal. As we tried to click and work together as a team, they again scored, however were prevented from further scoring in the first half, due to some excellent saves from Jo Newman, including a penalty flick. We were now enthusiastic and ready to score, after a great set up by Katie Browne who passed the ball to Kate Byers who slipped it in on the deflection, we had finally scored. The whistle blew, an encouraging pep talk ensued, with Molly Trimble continually telling us to put our sticks down! We were now motivated and prepared to score again. The second half began well, with a goal being scored quickly by Hannah after some fantastic crosses between her and Laura Shambrook. Yet as we continued to battle, with the defence clearing all short corners and attacks from the offense; they scored once more. Still encouraged to win we refused to let them score again, and achieved our aim at the final whistle. Overall beginning with a rough start, the Ladies 4’s flourished into a team and played excellently despite the loss. Daisy Aylott received player of the match for her strong clearances whilst playing sweeper. Well done to all!
M4s LOST 0-4 vs POTTERS BAR
An awful start to the game against a very sharp Potters Bar second team as another very changed fourth team conceded three times in 12 minutes and four times in 20 minutes.
The good thing was that no further damage was done in the game and Stortford started to play some good hockey. Simon Martyn made some good saves and James Stephenson continued to grow in to the right back position showing excellent mobility up and down the right flank. Mark Whittingdale made some great tackles and Ross Butler showed promise on debut.
The second half was very even with Stortford looking likely to get a goal or two back - but Potters Bar still dangerous on the break.
An opportunity to step up to the pace needed in the coming fixtures against other teams from the top of the table.
M5S LOST 1-3 VS ROYSTON. SCORER: NICK SLOWE
The 5ths run of success came to an end on the road, with a game that took them to St. Neots to play Royston. It was a good game in which Bishops Stortford scored first through Nick Slowe (keeping his fantasy hockey rating high) and had several chances to score more. However it was Royston who took their chances and managed to score an equaliser to get to 1-1 at half time and 3-1 at full time.
Bishops Stortford started brightly and made early inroads into the Royston defence. The younger players from Royston pressed hard and never allowed the 5s to settle. It was a close game and 1-1 was a fair score at half time. A rather stop start second half didn't suit the 5s with the whistle being used regularly, Grahame Smith picking up a Green card on the way. Royston took a relatively soft chance and a shot deflected in from a Stortford stick helped to make it look easier for Royston than it was. In the end it was a game that all felt we should have done better in.
The MoM was awarded to Sean Trimble for his work and control in the mid-field. There were a number of good performances that also caught the eye Tom Nash again giving the opposition defence a lot to do and Matt Sharman running and distributing well in the mid-field.
M6s LOST 0-2 vs POTTERS BAR
The Mighty 6’s faced their strongest challenge so far this season against a top of the league Potters Bar. Although they were unable to walk away with the points, it was another battling performance from Stortford.
The first half started in a not so positive fashion. Given that the opposition somehow managed to both choose the direction of play and claim the push-back, it was perhaps a sign that they would be a handful. From the off Potters Bar showed they were a much more capable offensive unit than Stortford had faced in recent weeks, resulting in an unmarked attacker catching out the Stortford defence to claim an easy first goal.
However, the 6th team regrouped and pulled themselves back into the remainder of a rather frenetic game. The back line of Rob Gill, Ross Howarth & Alex Kings resisted the majority of the opposition’s ferocious attacks, while mid-field was aided by Saket Trivedi linking up with Andy Cox for mid-field duties, it was often end-to-end stuff.
Opportunities were there to be had, however the poor quality of the playing surface (with markings seemingly concreted over the turf) meant penalty corners were more of a struggle than usual. This left Stortford with only the option to create something from open play. Despite some promising crosses, Stortford couldn’t quite get anyone on the end of one, so the goal tally again remained at zero for the travellers.
A second unfortunate goal for Potters Bar was all that remained to close out the match in terms of the scoreline. As their opponents appeared to shift to a more route one style of hockey, Stortford continued to battle until the final whistle, holding their opponents to 2-0.
Overall it wasn’t perhaps the most refined performance from the 6’s this year, but against their fiercest opposition yet (with some familiar faces from years gone by) they still gave a good game of hockey. Lessons to be learned this week are definitely around keeping composure and confidence on the ball, with Stortford looking much stronger in possession but occasionally succumbing to panicked passes, and also to ensure they’re giving plenty of movement and options at free hits, particularly against teams that are more effective at closing them down.
However, all in all not a bad performance again from the Men’s 6’s. Man of the match this week was a returning Alex Kings making a strong impression in defence, closely followed by Keeper Jon Jackson, who made short work of a few unexpected 1 on 1’s.
SUNDAY 30 NOVEMBER
MIXED WON 3-2 VS SAFFRON WALDEN. SCORERS: BRADLEY MOON X2, HOLLIE LAIDLAW
LADIES O35s WON 6-0 VS HERTFORD. SCORERS: PIPPA BULL X3, ELIZABETH REAY X3
After losing players to injury and illness the remaining ladies masters went out hard against Hertford. An early strike from Elizabeth Reay settled the team down and two more goals from Pippa Bull continued the Stortford dominance to half time. Hertford rallied at the start of the second half but the defence held strong and a further strike from Reay saw the tables turn again. Two further goals completing a Reay hat-trick and then a Bull hat-trick saw the game sealed.