Hockey: “Defensive Hero” lives up to his name and helps BBCHC’s Mens 1st keep a clean sheet

Doug Macklam reports on last weekend’s matches. Tomorrow, the Mens 2nd XI are home to Bloxwich (12.30 pushback) and the Ladies are home to Warwick (15.30 pushback). The Ladies match is a promotion decider against the league leaders. Games are played at the the Westwood Astros, University of Warwick.

Berkswell's 1st XI - picked up from where they left off

Mens 1st XI

BBCHC 2 (Oliver Stuart-Smith 2) – Buxton 0

The game started off with Berkswell on the back-foot and the majority of play in our half, but after a short time the team settled and a quick counterattack signalled to Buxton that we meant business. After that, excellent pressure from Berkswell forced Buxton into making mistakes – unwilling to make the easy passes wide they consistently passed the ball into the danger of Martin Stevens’ waiting stick. The middle pairing of Martin Stevens and Simon Tite scythed their way through the opposite midfield, passing the ball into space on the wings for Rob Whisson and Martin Cross to run at the defence. Rob Whisson consistently beat his opposite man and fired several crosses across the goal, one of which Robby Wells narrowly knocked wide of the post. Oliver Stuart-Smith eventually broke the dead-lock with a well earned goal from the top of the D.

Every now and then Buxton managed to sneak a ball through the midfield, normally dribbled by their number 20, but a strong defence of Rich Haines, Doug Macklam, Dom Herring and Nick Turner constantly won the ball back and distributed the ball up the pitch again. Time and time again Rich stepped in front of his man to intercept the predictable through ball, with Dom proving to be a wall to any attacker whilst Doug cleaned up any stray balls. Eventually one of these attacks manage to break through, forcing Neil Palframan to charge out to meet the oncoming attacker and deflect the shot wide, guided outside the post by the stick of Nick Turner. The Buxton attacks were against the run of play and once again Berkswell reasserted their control with fancy stick work, short sharp passes and some strong attacking play but were again unlucky with the ball always just missing the goal. Oliver Stuart-Smith had even upped his own game by balancing some skilful dribbling with some daring penetrating balls through to Andy Livingstone or Robby Wells.

The second half restarted strongly with Berkswell once again pressed the attack strongly but were unable to put the three points beyond doubt. Against the run of play again, a Buxton attack managed to get through the rock hard defensive. Once again Palf ran out to meet the attacker but this time the cunning devil pulled the ball back and chipped it over him. All looked lost until Nick Turner found himself on the goal-line in front of the oncoming goal-bound chip. Acting with a cool head and half an eye on the time, he cleanly knocked the ball away from the goal. It was at this point that Nick ‘Defensive Hero’ Turner deemed he had done enough to earn the title he wore and so strode off the pitch, collected his kit and drove home. Despite the loss of the Defensive Hero, the post Turner Time match continued with some strong Berkswell attacks. Oliver Stuart-Smith, scored an eloquent reverse stick strike settling the game and putting it out of reach for Buxton.

Mens 2nd XI

Kynoch 1 – BBCHC 10 (Dave Perry 3, Matthew Pattison 2, Rob Dowse, Chris Gallon, Ben Cross, James Boreham, Tom Ranner)

BBCHC 2nd XI grabbed a hatful against lowly Kynoch, confirming their strength and underlining why they were crowned division champions with three games left to play.

 

Mens 3rd XI

BBCHC 0 – Derwent 2

Despite playing some good hockey and sharing the majority of possession Berkswell were unable to breakdown a resolute Derwent defence.  Despite being hit by two breakaway goals in the second half Berkswell continued to play flowing hockey looking for the goals it richly deserved. Sadly it wasn’t to be and another loss showed the tale of Berkswell topsy-turvy season

Ladies

BBCHC 6 (Annie Hart 5, Liz Ness) v Birmingham Wasps

Despite Berkswell lacking a goal-keeper for this game they started the more sprightly of the teams and pushed forward with some strong attacking play, using the wings to great effect.  It wasn’t long before Annie Hart opened here scoring account round the ‘keeper in the first 10 minutes. It wasn’t long before Hart was on the scoreline once again, hammering home a cross from Sarah Augustin.  Unfortunately, shortly after, Hayley Wintermantle received a ball to the temple that required hospital treatment to glue the widening gash.  Down to 10 players Berkswell refused to pack the defence and continued to attack flowing through the Wasp’s midfield creating numerous chances.  With numerical advantage and playing against no ‘keeper it was a matter of time before Wasps found the goal and did so before halftime.

In the second half Berkswell continued as before and, despite beginning to tire, Annie Hart found the back of the net another 2 times before a top corner wonder goal from Liz Ness put the tie well out of Wasp’s reach.  The story wasn’t quite over yet as industrious striker Jess Ham, who had been unlucky not to grab a couple of goals herself, was stretchered off with a recurring knee injury.  Reduced to 9 players Berkswell refused to lie down and grabbed a sixth before the final whistle in a comprehensive victory that underlined their promotion credentials.

Next weeks fixtures

Mens 1st –no game

Mens 2nd XI –home v Bloxwich (12.30 pushback)

Mens 3rd XI –away v Redditch

Ladies –home v Warwick (15.30 pushback –promotion decider against the league leaders)