17/01/06 – Hockey: Berkswell topple leaders to draw level on points

Doug Macklam from Berkswell & Balsall Hockey Club reports on matches played on Saturday 14 January 2006:

Mens 1st XI
Newtown (1) v (2) Berkswell & Balsall

The B’s faced a gruelling cross-country trek to North Wales for their “top of the table” clash at the first game of the second half of the Coaching Solutions West Midlands Division 2 season. Almost as soon as the game started Berkswell were forced to soak up a period of prolonged pressure from a strong welsh outfit. Strong defence from sweeper Steve Graham and centre back Duncan Greenshields kept Newtown at bay in the first 15 minutes as Berkswell struggled to shake off the travel fatigue.

Into the 2nd quarter Berkswell began to impose themselves on the game in typical fashion with flowing passes in midfield and strong running up front.

Berkswell assumed the ascendency with John Carter, James Bonnel and Doug Macklam linking up well in midfield and Andy Livingstone’s mazy dribbles causing problems for the weakening Newtown defence.

In the last 5 minutes of the half James Bonnel picked the ball at the top of the D and using the work of multiple dummy runners to his advantage split the defence slotting the ball home the game’s first goal.

Berkswell continued in a similar vein in the second half however the travel and earlier efforts were beginning to tell. Into the last 15 minutes Newtown were back in possession of the ball and pushing hard at the Berkswell goal. However, a defensive clearance found the attacking pair of Simon Tite and Rob Whisson who combined to commit the goal keeper leaving Simon to finish of a well worked effort. Shortly after this some tired defensive errors began to creep into the Berkswell side and the two goal cushion was reduced to one. In the last 5 minutes Newtown again went close, forced into hitting the post by some fine commitment from goal keeper Neil Palframan. Holding onto the one goal lead at the final whistle Berkswell move level on points with the leaders they had just beaten. Unbeaten since 15th October, in this rare form, Berkswell & Balsall Common could go on to clinch promotion and even top spot in a tightly contested top 6 places.

Mens 2nd XI
BBCHC (3) v (6) Streetly
BBCHC scorers: James Hornby, Mike Horsewill and Ben Mould

Mens 3rd XI
Harborne (2) v (4) BBCHC

Ladies 1st XI
Edgbaston (6) v (2) BBCHC