Saturday 28 February / Sunday 01 March 2015
League: P10 W4 D1 L5 F23 A28
Cup: P2 W1 D0 L1 F9 A7
L1s WON 3-0 vs OLD LOUGHTONIANS. SCORERS: SUMAN BALA GARG X2, HOLLIE LAIDLAW.
came into the match following an emphatic win at home last week. The
match started at a high pace with Stortford soaking up the pressure from
a skilled Loughts forward line. Good distribution from the defence and
work from the midfield saw Ana Costamagna with a shooting opportunity in
the D. The ensuing stick tackle resulted in a short corner and a clean
strike from Suman Bala Garg took a deflection off a Loughts stick to
sail into the goal 1-0 to Stortford.
Buoyed by the scoreline
Stortford pressed higher and settled into their passing hockey. Loughts
used their familiarity with the bouncy pitch to create some good chances
but Stortford's defence held firm and keeper Ali was able to deal with
any rogue balls that found their way through. As half time approached
tempers within the opposition camp began to fray which only served to
strengthen Stortford's resolve to work as a team.
half began in much the same way as the first with end to end hockey,
both sides finding ways to create chances and win short corners. Good
work from Lou Rhodes finding a foot in the opposition D have us another
chance for the short and Suman Bala Garg once again dispatched the ball
into the back of the net to take it to 2-0.
Loughts started to
play long ball hockey not unlike that seen at West Ham on a Saturday.
Lexie G (Man of the match) was on top form and her quality distribution
found the gaps in the Loughts press. Good work from the whole team saw
Lou Rhodes in the D again with a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Unfortunately the Loughts defender momentarily forgot she wasn't at
Twickers and this wasn't the 6 nations as she bundled Lou into touch.
Stortford parted like the Red Sea and Laidlaw was left standing to take
the penalty flick. Like a typical Scot the goal was scored with aplomb.
Stortford continued to pile on the pressure on an increasingly irate
Loughts team. Stortford's solid defence soaked up the pressure from a
series of shorts and a last minute attack almost saw Stortford sneak in a
4th goal. Final score 3-0. A great result to start a week when
Stortford Ladies 1s will play 4 of their remaining league matches in
just 9 days!
M1s LOST 2-3 vs PELICANS. SCORERS: SAM ECOTT, ALEX PALMER.
was action aplenty in a lively encounter but when the final whistle
came, Stortford were ultimately thwarted. The pre-match build up saw the
Pelicans of King’s Lynn arriving sporadically; their southward
migration had been disrupted not least by one of their cars arriving at
Cricketfield Lane rather than Hockerill. Judging by the grizzled
experience amongst some of their number, it was entirely possible that
some of them may have played on the grass there back in the day. Enough
of their squad had survived the trip though and the match started with
11 vs 11 and the home side looking to press home the advantage of a
proper warm-up. This plan looked promising as a well-worked move down
the right hand side culminated in a well-finished strike from Alex
Palmer to take the lead after just 45 seconds, leaving the Pelicans’
defence shell-shocked. However, the home side were not quite up to speed
either and just moments later a Pelicans striker received the ball
unmarked in the middle of the circle, although the onrushing David
Butcher did enough to disrupt his shot which he put wide. Ten minutes
in, there was an off-the-ball incident which would colour the rest of
proceedings. Having pushed high into the Pelicans’ territory, Andy Round
was felled by a swinging stick to the leg, well above shinpad height;
being someway from what had happened, the umpires were unable to
determine the intent of the player involved, but in any event, after a
pause in the game, Round limped to the dugout where he spent much of the
rest of the first half. During that time, both sides had chances; a
mazy run from Josh Lloyd saw him jinx past the majority of the visiting
team and culminated in what looked like the second goal until the
metallic reverb of the upright signalled otherwise. The Pelicans were
playing some dangerous lateral overhead balls which created pressure on
the Stortford baseline and eventually led to a penalty corner as
Butcher’s ill-timed kick was adjudged to be a deliberate clearance over
the backline. A mistrapped corner routine saw Butcher log as the ball
was dispatched high towards the Stortford goal. The postmen did their
jobs well; but in the scramble that followed, the ball was bundled over
the line for an equaliser. At the other end, Stortford were winning
penalty corners of their own and with a well-worked variation were
unlucky not to score; Sam Ecott’s final shot saw the defenders and
goalkeeper well-beaten but played too high to count for a first shot at
goal. Finally the second goal did come and Sam Ecott provided the last
Stortford touch to guide it into the goal and his side into the lead
again. But as the moments counted down towards halftime, Pelicans again
breached the Stortford defence: as they attacked down the flanks, the
waiting striker slipped away from his defender and played the finest of
deflections to finish well. 2-2 at halftime and despite the home side’s
dominance, there was still much work to do for Stortford to earn the
win. As tempers began to fray, in part a consequence of Stortford’s
frustration at the inability to translate chances into goals but also
the challenge of the Pelicans’ physicality, the game became scrappier
and the cordial relationship with the umpires began to deteriorate as
both sides began to question decisions. With the umpires feeling the
pressure, it was perhaps unsurprising that cards began to appear like
daffodils in the spring. The first was a surprise; a careless tackle
from Alex James saw him disappear to the sinbin. The second came shortly
afterwards as an opposition player followed him there. With the
mid-part of the second half played with 10 vs 10, space began to open up
for both sides, although the Stortford defence continued to deal well
with the Pelicans’ overhead threat. Finally though, the decisive moment
came; the ball was turned over deep in Stortford territory and although
Albert Marcano did well to push the striker wide, Butcher could do
nothing with the well-executed strike that saw a powerful finish with 15
minutes to go. Following a Pelicans free hit, despite trying to retreat
like a 1970s secretary being pursued by a Radio 1 DJ, Alex James was
adjudged to have made insufficient effort to remove himself from
proceedings, and so the umpire helped him on his way as he was sinbinned
for the second time in the game. He was swiftly accompanied by captain
Phil Mathison after some post-incident commentary was not well-received.
Reduced to 9 men, the contest was effectively over, and the visitors
managed to return back to the Fens with the points. Afterwards, coach
Albert Marcano reflected that “although this represents the first defeat
in the league since November, there was much that was positive about
today’s game. There were some strong defensive performances and players
adapted well to playing in positions that may not be their first choice.
However, we cannot afford to let perceived injustices impact on our
discipline, and we do need to turn more of our chances into goals so
that individual decisions become minor talking points afterwards rather
than key moments in games.” With four games remaining, Stortford make
the long trip away to league leaders Spalding next week.
M1s LOST 1-4 vs IPSWICH & EAST SUFFOLK. SCORER: MARK TAYLOR
arrived to this fixture against second in the table with a bruised,
battered and depleted side from the day before. They were missing 10
regular 1st team players due to prior commitments or apparent injuries,
and instead were allowing the 4th XI goalkeeper plus a number of
youngsters to make their 1st XI debut's.
The expectations of the
match were low and most players were thinking solely of
'damage-control'. But Stortford started strongly withstanding attacks
from the high flying Ipswich East-Suffolk side. Andy Round stepped up as
sweeper and organised the players in front of him admirally. The first
5mins were all the home sides, but each attack was thwarted by the new
look defence. Eventually Stortford managed to keep hold of the ball for a
number of passes and broke quickly down into the opposition area to be
awarded a short corner. Captain Phil Mathison stepped up to fire a
powerful drag flick however it was wide of the target. This gave
Stortford hope though and the team started to play some very good hockey
down both flanks with the opposition having no answer for Luke Taylor's
But the home side pressed forward and were awarded a short corner after 25mins which saw a neat flick hit the back of the net.
Coming into half time the team was surprised and proud of their first
half performance, but aware of the next 35min efforts a head of them.
Unfortunately 5mins into the second half it looked like the home side
were going to walk away with it. After a slip from Mathison to allow his
player inside the 25m the Ipswich player played the ball across the box
where it found one of his players to slot home. Then next 5mins
Stortford looked shaken and unable to deal with the high Ipswich press,
making rare forays into the opposition half. But again some solid, front
foot, defending from the Round brothers especially kept the score at
However, one of the rare attacks from Stortford saw them
awarded a couple of short corners from which Mark Taylor managed to slot
the ball home making it 2-1 and putting pressure on the home side.
This was short lived however as the home side restored their two goal
advantage immediately from the push back with a well worked goal. The
remainder of the game was cagey affair but Ipswich E-S managed to bag a
fourth from the penalty spot after 'keeper Butcher felled the on coming
The final whistle cam with both sides relatively happy, the home side for the results, the away side for the performance.
Coach Marcano said of his side: 'I have very proud of the way the team
worked together, and of the players that came into the side a late
notice. It shows how this side is evolving that even with a weakened
team we can push the top sides all the way in game'.
L2s WON 3-0 VS TRING
M2s LOST 1-5 vs SHEFFORD & SANDY. SCORER: MICHAEL CLARK
The Men's 2nds recent run of victories came to an end On Saturday, as they were beaten by third placed Shefford & Sandy 5-1.
Twice in the opening 15 minutes, Stortford were caught off guard as a
couple of speculative strikes into their semi-circle were deflected at
the back post and into the goal, giving the visitors an early 2-0 lead.
Before the half-time interval Shefford & Sandy added a third,
giving Stortford a massive task for the second half, if they were to get
anything from the game.
The home side were able to claw a goal
back, when the Shefford & Sandy was left stranded trying to close
down Rick Oakley's shot in the 'D'. However, the ball was played into
the path of an umarked Michael Clark at the far post, who was able to
walk it into the empty net.
A comeback was not to be though and Shefford & Sandy added two more, to finish the game off.
Stortford will hope to get back to winning ways, when they take on Luton Town next week.
L3s DREW 1-1 vs BLUEHARTS
M3s GAME POSTPONED
L4s WON 3-2 vs LUTON
M4s LOST 1-7 vs WEST HERTS. SCORER: NICK SLOWE
were blown away in the early minutes of this match. The visitors
expected West Herts to start fast but they had not factored in an
impressive short corner routine featuring a drag flick of some power.
Stortford conceded the first from open play as West Herts worked their
way in down the right and crossed for a relatively easy shot past
Martyn. Two short corner drag flicks followed soon after. Unfortunately
the flow of goals did not stop there and two more shorts and one more
unmarked central forward meant Stortford were 6-0 down within 25
Mark Shillito bravely wore a drag flick on the leg
after that and Stortford picked themselves up from there and managed to
draw the remainder of the game 1-1, happily not conceding another short:
this partly by focusing on engaging and tackling the attackers outside
the Stortford 25. Mark Whittingdale dropped back and performed
brilliantly again marking the big West Herts centre forward very
effectively. Joe Hoult built the play sensibly on the right and did
father Phil on the left. Adrian Krishman moved further into the pocket
and directed play. Nick Slowe, Martin Gay and Matt Brown were
industrious up front and Stortford were very much in the game scoring
from one of several opportunities as Slowe followed up alertly on the
keeper's pads. Last mention goes to Kyle Plumridge who made many good
tackles and help Stortford to turn over the ball and take the game to
West Herts. Frustratingly, West Herts did manage one more goal as
Stortford once allowed an unmarked West Herts player high up the pitch
However, it could have been a lot worse had Stortford given up after 25 minutes.
M5s WON 4-2 vs LUTON. SCORERS: CHRIS SLACK X2, GRAHAM FARRANT, BADGER
5s had to battle in the first half to gather their rhythm and adjust to
a new striking combination which meant the first half was scratchy,
with Nick Slowe elavated to the 4s we were having to look up to see
where they were. Stortford had the majority of the possession in the
first 15 minutes it looked good until Luton with some strong and quick
forwards managed to break out and score the first goal. After this we
looked uncertain and Luton with their tails up pressured much harder and
Ronnie Stott was called on several times to make important saves. A
fine break lead to a Chris Slack goal before half time to level the
Quickly after half time Bishops Stortford bagged another
goal and that seemed to sap the Luton confidence whereas the blues
started to play with authority and control. With three goals in the
second half (Slack, Farrant and Brocks) to the Luton 1 ,a freak run away
goal that left everyone scratching their heads including the scorer,
this left the score at the end as 4-2.
M6s LOST 3-4 vs SHEFFORD & SANDY. SCORERS: GRAHAM PERRY X2, JAMES NASH
A second-half comeback wasn't enough for the Mighty 6's this week as they saw their first defeat of 2015.
Perhaps the portents were already there, a closure of the A1 meant that
even the journey to Sandy was frought with difficulty, and last minute
drop-outs meant that the 6's had a but a mere squad of 12 (with little
of the youth element that have joined them in recent weeks). Therefore
it was with some trepidation that the 6th team faced up to their more
The first half was best forgotten. Stortford lacked
structure in the mid-field and left themselves far too open to their
opposition’s hit and hope style of play. With nothing to stop Shefford
in the centre of the pitch, Stortford’s defence were overloaded. With
much of the play confined to their own half, it was a tough opening 35
minutes, leading to the 6’s trailing 3-0 at halftime. This certainly
wasn’t going to plan, however a lot can change in 35 minutes.
few minutes respite to regroup and talk tactics, a revitalised
Stortford came back onto the pitch. With Shefford caught unaware, a neat
pass up pitch from Captain Duncan Laws found the forwards and was
neatly converted by Graham Perry. Then, minutes later another nice run
resulted in a goal from James Nash at the back post.
With the home
side beginning to look rattled and a rising confidence in the visitors,
this was certainly a dramatic turn in what was looking to be a
Cinderella story of a second half. A third goal, and a second from an
on-form Graham Perry, was enough to bring Stortford level and suddenly
the 6’s were back in the game.
As any fan of the sports film genre
will know, there are only two sorts of endings to this story. In this
instance, Storford followed the “Rocky” route. Fighting to the last, the
6’s were unlucky not to pull off the final goal that would have sealed
victory via some unfortunate hat-trick avoidance by Graham Perry. The
home side however found fortune in their favour and managed to pull back
one of their own. With not enough time to mount another sortie, the
game finished at 4-3 for the 6’s. A disappointment then, but not a
Overall, there is a lot the team can feel proud about,
from their second half performance at least. As the season draws to a
close the team are going to need to maintain their structure if they
want to stop making their games harder than required. The quality is
still there, they just need to work on the consistency.
In terms of
performances this week, Sam Taylor made a huge difference on the
attacks, coupled with great finishes from Graham Perry and James Nash.
Across the midfield there were good attacking performances from Simon
Radbourne and David Cooper, and a welcome return from Phil Rowley after a
slightly rusty first half. And in defence, Ross Howarth, Rob Gill and
Andrew Hewins did their best under a tough onslaught.
Man of the
match this week was Nigel Taylor, with a sterling performance in
midfield. However this would be closely followed by another great Jon
Jackson performance in goal, without which the score line could have
been very different
Ladies 035s LOST 2-3 vs Ben Rhydding
Men’s O40s WON 7-4 vs INDIAN GYMKHANA. SCORERS: VERNON BROWN X3, TONY COLCLOUGH X2, PAUL TOMLIN, DARREN BROWN.
pulsating cup game saw two very contrasting styles clash at Hockerill
College. Gymkhana took full advantage of a sleepy start by Stortford as
they won an early short by skilfully dribbling into the D and finding
the foot. However, an off the ball incident on Colcough galvanised
Stortford into action. Vernon Brown scored an early equaliser as the
counter-attacking combinations of Tomlin, Colclough and Vernon ripped
apart the slow IG defence. The goals soon flowed as Colclough, Tomlin
and Cuz Brown soon put Stortford into a 4-1 lead based on fastbreaks.
The theme of the match continued with IG drag-flicking a penalty corner
on the cusp of half-time.
Stortford started the second-half with
another V Brown goal. However, the 'ghost of Masters' Cup tie past' was
sweeping in on Stortford as IG came back to get the game back to 5-4
from a flick conceded by a flailing Robarts. Fortunately, Colclough and
Brown scored a few more as IG's self-discipline imploded after a yellow
and a red card were awarded following more off-the-ball incidents.
Good day's hockey and thanks to all who watched.
Let's hope for a favourable geographic draw next time out.