Hockey: League newcomers serve up tough opposition to Berkswell’s men

News from all of Berkswell & Balsall Hockey Club’s weekend fixtures. Doug Macklam reports:

Mens 1st XI

Market Harborough 2 v BBCHC 2 (Chris Lomas, Martin Stevens)

Taking the positives from the win in week one the Berkswell and Balsall Common First XI went into their first away fixture with confidence sky high. The opponents this week were new comers to the league Market Harborough.

The game suffered a false start when umpire Duncan Greenshields called a halt to proceedings following a dog poo pitch invasion. Once the releated health and safety concerns had been addressed both teams were finally allowed to get the game underway. Berkswell knew very little about their opposition prior to the game, but in the opening seconds it was immediately clear this was going to be the boys in maroon’s toughest challenge so far. Market Harborough’s pace and play caused some real issues for the defence, with some vital last ditch tackling keeping the scores level in the opening minutes. An unfortunate injury caused by a wayward high pass meant Doug Macklam had to leave the pitch, making way for Nick Turner to make his season debut.

As the first half progressed Berkswell found their stride and the tide of the game started to turn. At the mid-point of the first half a well worked series of passes lead to Market Harborough scoring the first goal of the game. Once again Berkswell would have to come from behind. Due to a rare and experimental stomach condition Rich Haines was unable to play the entire game and was replaced by Doug Macklam toward the end of the first half. Just before the break a pass into the shooting circle from Simon Tite allowed Chris Lomas to slot the ball home with a well executed first time touch beating the keeper.

The B’s went into the half time break with renewed vigour and the scores level at one a piece. The second half saw the visiting side continue to press and create several more chances however the break once again came for the home side putting the score to Market Harborough 2 – Berkswell and Balsall Common 1. With work still to do Berkswell moved quickly from the restart putting the pressure on and sustaining it this time. Berkswell effectively and efficiently neutralised any further threat from the home side whilst simultaneously going on the offensive. Chances began to materialise as the B’s began to play to their full potential. In the closing moments of the game Berkswell won a penalty corner and this time Martin Stevens stepped up to strike the ball home once again levelling the game. Once again there were a lot of positives to be taken from the game however there are areas requiring improvement. Discipline was not what it should have been with Doug and Dom both receiving green cards, Doug’s for an intentional back stick infringement and Dom’s for dissent. But overall this was a very good result for the team.

Mens 2nd XI

Game v Whitchurch –walkover to BBCHC as Whitchurch unable to field a team.

Mens 3rd XI

BBCHC 1 (Nick Seagrave) v Loughborough Sharks 1

For this weeks match against Loughborough Sharks the men’s 3rd team had no idea what to expect since the opposition are new to the league. However due to their height, age and our previous encounters with little people we expected a match against “small evil child geniuses”. The majority of the match was 50/50 with possession skill etc however Berkswell were not playing nowhere near as well as they can. There were a few opportunities for both teams to score in the during the first half but due to finishing failure the half time whistle was blown with a score of 0-0. After a half time break Loughborough Sharks came out playing like ‘semi kid geniuses’ playing a much smoother game which resulted in them scoring the first goal of the game, followed by two attempts which were cleared of the goal line by Matt Bates and Matt Wooden. With less than 4 minutes to the final whistle the hard efforts of Berkswell were paid off with Nick Seagrave scoring a goal in the left corner. The remainder of the game was spent trying to score one more to claim victory but every effort was denied by the 4ft tall Loughborough keeper. Overall a match which Berkswell were certainly capable of winning but due to poor communication, lack of coming to the ball and lots of one handed play from captain Shin Rahman resulted in a draw. Let’s hope for a better result next time.

Ladies 1st XI

BBCHC 3 (Liz Ness 2, Annie Hart 1) v Coventry & North Warwicks 1

Berkswell ladies continued their strong start to the season with a win over local rivals Coventry & North Warwickshire. It was a golden start for Liz Ness who, in the first game back from injury, bagged herself a brace of goals and man of the match in central midfield. Striker and captain Annie Hart scored the third to make it a comfortable victory for Berkswell. The goals were assisted twice by midfielder Sarah Augustine and once by striker Jess Ham for the final goal.

Up-coming fixtures

Mens 1st XI –Home v Grantham (12.30 push back at Warwick Uni)

Mens 2nd XI –Away v Stafford (13.00 pushback at Staffordshire Uni)

Mens 3rd XI –Home v Nuneaton (15.30 pushback at Warwick Uni)

Ladies XI –Away v Edgbaston (Edgbaston High School –pushback time TBC)