Saturday 10 January 2015 & Sunday 11 January 2015
P9 W3 D1 L5 F21 A24
M1s WON 4-3 vs St Ives. SCORERS: JON TAYLOR X2, ALEX JAMES, ALEX PALMER
Stortford began 2015 as they ended the previous year: with a gritty and tight but nonetheless vital win. Steve Abbott returned to the side following a string of injuries in the autumn.
The game opened in typical Stortford fashion. Some excellent early play was thwarted in the final third but the first ten minutes were very much the home side's. That said, an early short corner from the visitors was only denied after an excellent goal line clearance by Alex Palmer. However, things took a turn for the worst.as things swung St Ives' way. A cheap turnover in the 25 saw the visitors switch the ball and with two unmarked men deep inside the circle, the scoring was opened as a reverse stick strike was forced through David Butcher and fell to a grateful St ives player for a tap in. Stortford looked to respond straight away and having won a penalty corner, a Viscious strike by Steve Abbott was well parried by the St a ives keeper. At the other end, Stortford's woes were compounded; after Butcher intercepted an attempted pass back to the injector, Sam Ecott encountered difficulties as he sought to play the ball to safety and Stortford fell 0-2 down. Although St Ives had challenged hard and played some hockey unbecoming of their lowly league position, the game was certainly even at this point and a 0-2 deficit was not reflective of the game at that point.
Rather than focus on desert, Stortford went out to claw their way back into the game. The job was half done when Luke Taylor entered the left side of the D and unleashed a cross that had all the venom of a shot. Alex James did well to meet it at the back post and divert it into the goal. The equaliser game very shortly afterwards. An overhead pass from Josh Lloyd was well taken by Vernon Brown who jinxed his way into the circle. As the St Ives keeper came to challenge him, and although he won the ball, it fell to Jon Taylor who played an exquisite first time chip over the prostrate keeper. A defensive slip led to an interception that was well converted to give the visitors a 3-2 lead before another Vernon Brown and Jon Taylor combination saw Taylor convert another effort after the umpire allowed a god advantage to be played.
The second half was increasingly tense as both sides sought to take the lead and given the significance of.a win for both sides, it was little surprise that the game became increasingly scrappy. Both sides saw players spend time in the sin bin, but neither team could press home a numerical advantage. Finally a Stortford penalty corner attempt was illegally blocked in front of goal and wi ten minutes to go, Alex Palmer made no mistake from the penalty spot as he placed his flick hard into the roof of the net. despite some scares in the last moment, Stortford held on for a 4-3 win which, given they were 0-2 down was an excellent turn around. Afterwards, coach Albert Marcano was pleased if not entirely happy: "if we start games against the better sides in the league like we did today then we will be punished and out of the game before we get going. We need to regain the focus we were showing before Christmas, continue to work hard on our fitness, and keep converting our chances up front and build some momentum into 2015". Next week, Stortford make the trip to highflying ipswich and East Suffolk looking to reverse a 1-4 defeat from the first encounter.
L2s WON 2-1 VS LEIGHTON BUZZARD SCORERS: ROS BROWN, VICTORIA FARRANT
The game started slowly, however the possession stayed mainly with Bishop’s
Stortford! Both teams hassled well but Stortford slotted an early goal in the second
half making it 1-0! The last 20 minutes became more changeling however vicky managed to flick a
goal over the goal keeper making the score 2-0! Unfortunately with 10 minutes to spare, Leighton scored a goal bringing the score to 2-1! Whistle blows - stortford finish 2-1 up! :)
M2s LOST 0-5 VS ROYSTON
Bishop's Stortford Men's 2nd XI hoped that the new year would bring a change of fortune, as the second half of the season got underway. However, these hopes were short-lived, when they found themselves on the receiving end of a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Royston.
Stortford conceded two goals on the break in the first half, despite dominating most of the possession.
Royston delivered the killer blow within 10 minutes of the restart, to take a 3-0 lead and put the game beyond Stortford's grasp.
Bishop's Stortford still created chances, mainly from short-corners, but were unable to find the back of the net and as they continued to push for a goal, the spaces opened up allowing Royston to add two more goals before the match finished.
M2s LOST 1-4 VS STEVENAGE. SCORER: RICK OAKLEY
After 5 weeks without a match, due to weather enforced postponements and the Christmas break, playing two games this weekend took their toll and Stortford Men's 2nd XI suffered a second loss in the space of 24 hours.
As has been the case in many games this season, Bishop's Stortford dominated the ball for long periods of the game but it was Stevenage who broke the deadlock first before taking a two goal lead into the half time interval.
Stortford gave themselves a chance of getting back into the game early in the second half, when a deflection at a short corner lifted the ball over the grounded keeper into the goal, to make it 2-1.
Unfortunately, it wasn't long before fatigue from the previous days match hit the home side and Stevenage took full advantage by adding a further two goals to their tally, making it 4-1 and another disappointing result.
Bishop's Stortford's season has to pick up soon, if they are to avoid relegation from Division 3SW, so they will be hoping for victory against Winchmore Hill & Enfield next weekend.
L3s LOST 1-3 VS LEIGHTON BUZZARD 2. SCORER: ZOE BARFORD
M3s DREW 2-2 VS ROYSTON 2. SCORERS: GRAHAM FARRANT, JAMIE BROOKS
This was quite possibly the youngest ever 3rd XI in recent years with an array of attacking young talent on display from the College. The abundance of attacking players meant a change in formation where we all agreed to 'give it a lash'. Fine in theory, but this left a lot of gaps in defence which a very average Royston attack took full advantage and went into a 2-0 half-time lead with relatively soft counter-attack goals.
In the second-half Stortford started to use their dominance in territory and possession by getting the attackers to use complementary runs a lot better. This resulted in Chapman setting up Brooks to slot home. After a series of short-corners, Stortford were awarded a flick which Farrant converted despite some psychological Grobellaar-esque tactics from the Royston keeper.
At 2-2 Stortford still had their foot on the jugular but stopped making the intelligent runs. They survived a last minute scare to hold on.
A thrilling game of hockey but a win was well within this sides capabality.
Great individual performances from Ed Patton and Adam Cawthray-Stern but MoM has to go Prowsie as all good things came through him.
L4s LOST 1-3 VS ST ALBANS. SCORER: JO THOMPSON
The ladies 4s got off to a really good start, with a goal by Jo Thompson from close range in the first few minutes. A brief lack of concentration led to the first goal by the opposition to take the score to 1-1. After half time St Albans came out really strong and scored another two goals. Stortford battle hard in the last 10 mins, with several attempts at goal by Viv Ronco, Jo Thompson and Amy Witchalls, but couldn't break the opposition's defence.
Emelie Fung, goal keeper, was voted player of the match for some great saves. Viv Ronco was a close second due to her strength and energy in mid-field.
M4S LOST 1-3 VS STEVENAGE 2. SCORER: GAVIN CUNNINGHAM
Again Stortford had a very good share of the game. Both sides played some very good hockey. Unfortunately Stortford’s finishing and defending were just not quite good enough. The first half ended 0-2 after Stortford failed to take advantage of some good opportunities, including several short corners and at the other end allowed two Stevenage players to work their way through the defence from outside the D unchallenged to score and set up two goals. So a possible 2-0 up became 2-0 down.
The second half was if anything more open with play moving smoothly from end to end. Each side again had opportunities. Stortford worked the ball well up the right with Sam Taylor, Adrian Krishman, Sam Bampton and Matt Brown all featuring. James Stephenson was back in his right defender position and showed good pace, energy and work rate to get forward in support of the attack and then back again to beat Stevenage attackers to the ball.
A good performance and a good game. Another tough one for the 4s against second placed Rickmansworth next week then some easier opposition and the chance to pick up plenty of points with performances like this.
M6s WON 9-0 VS LETCHWORTH 6. SCORERS: RICK CARR, PHIL HOULT, PHIL ROWLEY, TOM NASH X2, JAMES BROCKS, BEN BRAUND, DANIEL COHEN RUMBOLD X2.
Another torrential downpour opened proceedings again this week, as the Mighty 6’s delivered their best scoreline since October 2010.
After last week’s victory over Hertford, the team were feeling optimistic as they entered their second rescheduled match of the season. Despite arriving in the midst of a veritable squall, the 15-man squad soon found themselves basking in the low winter sun. A sign perhaps that their fortunes were changing?
And so the game began and, to use the cliché, it was a game of two halves… both dominated by Stortford. An early goal from Phil Rowley opened proceedings and the team never looked back. Another soon followed, from a James Brocks penalty corner, and for the first half at least, the game pretty much became penalty corner practice (along with the opportunity for a James Brocks penalty flick “masterclass”… but we won’t dwell on that one). Although the conversion rate wasn’t high, Stortford maintained possession and managed to pull back another couple to bring themselves 4-0 ahead as the half-time whistle blew.
After a half-time pep talk from Captain Duncan Laws, Stortford opened their game up nicely in the second half. With forwards stretching the game well up the pitch, good runs and some great cross-field play, the 6th team kept up the pressure throughout the second half. Whereas the first half had many been a game of penalty corners, the second was very much about the open play. Drawing on the four man bench, substitutions were as free flowing as the hockey, giving anyone who wanted it the chance to branch out and have a go at something different (although also making it very difficult to write a coherent match report).
Throughout this whirlwind of activity Stortford picked up another 5 goals, before the formation devolved slightly into a 9-0-1 affair in the dying minutes, as both teams sought to occupy the Letchworth area. However, as this is undoubtedly a problem I’m sure they would like continue over the rest of the season it’s hard to complain. So, while perhaps too early to order the champagne and cigars for the end of season bash, if the 6’s can continue to keep their quality of play up while consistently scoring, then it’s going to be a bright second half of the season.
It’s a funny old game innit, you wait all season for a goal and 9 come along at once!
In terms of team performances this week there were highlights all round. For the forwards there were goals apiece for Phil Hoult, Rick Carr and Ben Braund, with a brace for Tom Nash and only Ethan Jones unfortunate to miss out on the action. Movement and positioning were good upfront, with intelligent play seeing over a dozen penalty corners won and countless shots on goal being made.
In midfield, Gary Jones once again proved to be a solid anchor in Central Defence, soaking up many of the Letchworth attacks, while also providing a solid base for attacking plays. Phil Rowley had a strong game, with plenty of offensive play earning him the first goal of the match, and the remaining trio of Andy Cox, Nigel Taylor & Duncan Laws rotated well, moved the ball effectively up the channels and kept Letchworth on their toes.
In defence, Ross Howarth again marshalled well as Centre Back, with Hamish Penman (making a welcome appearance alongside some legendary shorts) helping to shut down the very few attacks that came their way. This gave James Brocks the opportunity to fully concentrate on his non-defending right-back role and Keeper Jon Jackson the opportunity to… err… well it’s a good question. With maybe one touch of the ball the whole game, no short corners and no shots on goal, there was little to keep him busy, other than to perhaps reflect on the past occasions when we’d been in Letchworth’s position.
Man of the match though was Daniel Cohen Rumbold. With the opportunities granted through rapid substitutions, Dan was able to start strongly as Left Back, switch to Right Mid, picking up his first two goals for the club in the process, and then round the game off as Right Back. Definitely a great way to start the New Year.