Hockey: Berkswell stuff 23 goals past hapless Grantham

Doug Macklam reports on the round of matches played on Saturday 16th October, where Berkswell’s three representative sides combined to score 35 goals whilst conceding only one in reply:

1st XI: BBCHC 23 – Grantham 0
(Scorers: Oliver Stuart-Smith 8, Martin Stevens 5, Rob Whisson 3, Simon Tite 3, Chris Lomas, Nick Herring, Nick Turner, Robby Wells)

The problems with the Midlands league structure were evident for all to see as a young Grantham team travelled to Westwood Astros to meet red hot Berkswell & Balsall Common in this East Midlands 2 clash.

It was immediately obvious that there was a gulf between the teams as fluent passing moves down the right saw Rob Whisson set up Oliver Stuart-Smith begin the scoring. The lead was soon extended through some clean short corner strikes from captain Martin Stevens. The defence of Nick Turner, Rich Haines, Doug Macklam, Dom Herring and Martin Cross all spent the majority of their game supporting their attacking colleagues. As the half progressed Berkswell continued to press forward whilst trying to maintain the shape and discipline that will be needed against the stronger teams in the league. A particular highlight of the half came as Stuart-Smith drove into the Grantham D and shocked his teammates and the home support by giving an out of character pass to allow Robby Wells to tap home.

The half time whistle blew with the tally at 13 and both teams took a short break before trying to motivate themselves again for the second half. It was much the same after the break with the Berkswell offence proving too strong for the visitors. With minutes left in the game Rob Whisson volleyed home a fourth from a well angled cross by Andy Livingstone and Nick Turner stormed out of defence to drill in a second lifetime goal for the club, arguably even better than his first!

Just when Neil Palframan in the Berkswell goal thought he wasn’t going to be required, Dom Herring opened his legs wide and showed Grantham a way through the Berkswell defence but Palframan was alert to the danger. Despite a very creditable performance from the young Grantham keeper the game was drawn to a close with a score line of 23-0 to the hosts, leaving Andy Livingstone with the dubious of honour of being the striker that hadn’t found his way onto the lengthy score sheet.

In the end it was left to Oliver Stuart-Smith (8), Martin Stevens (5), Simon Tite (3), Rob Whisson (3), Nick Turner, Nick Herring, Robby Wells and Chris Lomas to complete the scorers list. Both teams will be hoping for more evenly contested games in the coming weeks as Berkswell look to continue to improve in their quest to return to the higher league at the first time of asking.

2nd XI: Stafford 1 – BBCHC 6

(Berkswell scorers: Tom Ranner 2, Ben Cross 2, Michael Lister, Rob Dowse)

An early top of the table clash saw Berkswell defeat Stafford in style with 6 – 1 victory and take the top spot.

Tom Ranner converted two penalty corners early in the first half with a couple of powerful strikes, one slipping underneath the diving keeper and the other taking a defection off a defender’s stick. Berkswell kept possession for much of the half and some slick passing resulted in Michael Lister claiming a goal from open play. In the second half, Ben Cross, still wearing his trademark tea cosy, showed great composure in the circle and managed to find the back board twice. Ben also provided the assist for captain Rob Dowse’s sweep into the top left corner of the net.

Duncan Greenshields (man on the match) was rock solid in centre of defence, Steve Graham made some brilliant runs from right back and Matthew Pattison quickly cleared up any lose balls in our 23 in his role of sweeper. Steve Cross made some spectacular saves which even got praised by the opposition. However, late in the second half Berkswell 2s conceded their first goal of the season as Stafford made a last minute push for goal.

A fantastic result against one of the stronger sides in the league, Berkswell remain undefeated and the future of the season seems bright.

Ladies: Edgbaston 0 – BBCHC 6

(Scorers: Annie Hart 3, Liz Ness, Jess Ham, Katie Coulle)

The pressure was on this week for the Berkswell ladies as they took on Edgbaston 5s. With no goalie and a bare 11 outfield our task would not be easy. Luckily, with captain Annie Hart’s motivational pre-match pep talk our spirits were sky high as we took to the field. Stand-in kicking back Kim Reason was put under immediate pressure as the B’s conceded a short corner in the first 30 seconds. However, this was the last time the Berkswell goal was threatened due to the good work of the man of the match Tori Garbutt alongside solid defenders Charlotte Billyeald and Maddy Hodgson.

The beginning of the Berkswell domination then began with a cracking goal by Annie Hart, with Liz Ness, Jess Ham and Kate Couelle following her lead, strongly assisted by midfielders Hayley Wintermantle and Sarah Augustin to make the score 4-0 by half time. The B’s were keen to achieve a double figure score line but a much improved second half performance from Edgbaston brought the final score to 6-0, despite many shots aimed at the top corner by Donna “the chopper” Carroll. Berkswell were really pleased with their performance and hope to continue this high standard throughout the rest of the season.