All the results and match reports from the weekends matches as league hockey returned following the Christmas break.
Ladies 1’s v St Alban’s 2’s
Since the Christmas break Stortford Ladies have hit the ground running and made an impressive start to their title bid. First an emphatic 7-1 victory against Bury St Edmunds in a warm up game, and then a 4-0 victory against a well drilled St Albans possibly their most convincing victory of the season so far.
Coach Nick Prowse has been delighted with the effort and application shown by his table topping team.
‘We have been working hard in training on aggressive pressing, and we are beginning to show in games that we can both retain possession and execute turn overs seeking the ball, then keeping our shape, moving the ball early, and creating opportunities in the final third of the pitch.’
‘Pressing is a high risk strategy in some respects but it also has high rewards, and we currently head the table with an impressive goal difference having scored 52 goals in our 13 matches.
St Albans presented a tough examination of their title aspirations and credential, and it was not until the 23rd minute that Abbi Barrett made the breakthrough with an opportunist strike. Barrett then followed up soon after with her second goal, a slick finish from close quarters, goal number 21 of this league campaign.
The second half was one-way traffic with Stortford piling on the pressure and the forward line of Sally Powell, Livvy Smerdon and Barrett were combining well and causing havoc in the opposition circle. Two players off the bench got on the score sheet Ro Ricketts adding the third and Maddie Anthony crashing home an unstoppable short corner for the fourth as Stortford cruised to their 11th victory.
Prowse was thrilled by the result and the manner of the performance,
‘While Imogen Basavaraj might have been awarded Player of the Day to be honest it could have gone to any number of players, all turning in really good performances. The team is moving in the right direction, playing with assurance and growing self confidence. The defence deserves to be congratulated for keeping a clean sheet and Ali Martin in goal and Lexi Guthrie at sweeper both excelled again.’
A tough test awaits on Saturday as the Ladies have a late start at Cambridge City.
Men’s 1’s v Blueharts 2’s
After a long Christmas break, Bishop’s Stortford Men’s 1st XI were back in action, taking on Blueharts at the Herts and Essex Sports Centre.
A focused warm up ensured that Stortford started the game on the front foot, and found an early goal from an “amazing” through pass from Adam Farley that found Tom Frenzel at the top of the penalty spot, who looped it over a stranded keeper to find the back of the net!
Stortford didn’t drop the intensity, and soon found themselves again in Blueharts half, with Tom Frenzel driving along the base line to find an unmarked Ali Charlton who guided it past the keeper making it 2-0 to Stortford.
Blueharts grew into the game, and controlled the play for the remaining 15 minutes of the first half, but despite enjoying the majority of the ball, they were unable to create any meaningful chances.
After half time Stortford wrested back control of the match. A great interception from the captain Harry Carpenter created an opportunity to release Ross Butler who went weak and with a reverse shot hit the top net making it 3-0 to Stortford.
Despite it being 3-0, Blueharts were still in the game, and when their opportunity presented itself, they put it away to bring the score back to 3-1.
After conceding, it was clear that Stortford needed to keep it simple and not let their heads drop.
Stortford kept focused and wanting to show their determination, Keir Ansell drove hard into the Blueharts half pushing towards the D, with a hard hit he found Adam Farley’s stick, who deflected the ball into the goal.
With the last 10 minutes to go Stortford won a short corner, resulting in a drag flick from Jack Wheaton which found the net after a touch from the keeper.
The final whistle blew and the game ended 5-1 to Stortford with another 3 points on the table.
The Nags Head Man of The Match: Tom Frenzel
Ladies 2’s v Stevenage 1’s
The Ladies 2’s kept themselves in the promotion race with a hard-earned point at league leaders Stevenage on Saturday. With six points between the two teams, Stortford knew they couldn’t afford to lose if they had hopes of being promoted.
Having had to travel with only eleven players due to late injuries, Stortford were behind in the opening minutes, as a bright start from the hosts saw them take an early lead. Undeterred, Stortford began to work their way back into the match. A shot from Natasha Reid at a penalty corner hit a foot on the line and Stortford were awarded a penalty stroke. Captain Emma Hynds stepped up to fire home the equaliser, sending it high to the diving keepers right.
The second half saw both teams producing some lovely play and good chances in search of a winner. Both defences and keepers were kept busy as the play moved from end to end. Stortford almost nicked it in the closing moments with a quick break away that saw Stevenage outnumbered, however they couldn’t capitalise on the advantage and the match ended in a draw.
Next up for Stortford are fellow promotion chasers Bedford at Beldams Lane on Saturday.
Player(s) of the match: Minky Carr and Lianne Warnell
Men’s 2’s v Men’s 3’s
Saturday saw the return mens fixtureof Stortford 2s vs 3s .
This match has always been a close fought affair but the 2s scored 2 quick goals inside the 1st 10 mins and took a 5-1 lead into half time.
A glimmer of a fight back from the 3’s at 6-3 halfway through the second period with goals from Mike Landolt, Bruce Rodda and a penalty stroke from Mike Taylor, was extinguished with a well-deserved and nicely crafted interplay between the 2s midfield and forwards to score a 7th goal and secure 3 points and a ‘ home ‘ win for the 2’s .
The second team goal scorers were: four from Jon Taylor one each from debutant Tommy Williams , Paul Kerby and Ahmed Elwis.
Ladies 3’s v Ladies Archdeaconesses
With both teams neck and neck in the league, Bishop’s Stortford 3’s vs 4’s was always going to be a hard fought inter-club battle. The 3’s took the advantage into half time with a two goal lead, both short-corner strikes from Lizzie Roberts and Vicky Cox. After a rousing team talk, the Archdeaconesses came out determined to get something from this game were soon back in it, with well executed short-corner routines seeing Suzy Fletcher and Paula Frenzel on the scoresheet. Final score 2-2.
Ladies Masters (Over 45’s Tier 1) Third Round
2-2 (3-1 Loss shootout)
A fast-paced start to the ladies over 45’s cup game vs Kettering saw Stortford race into a 2 goal lead in the first 15 minutes. Unfortunately the team couldn’t hold onto the lead, Kettering played their way back into the match with some skillful hockey to pull 2 goals back before half time. Both teams had their chances to win the tie in normal time, but it remained 2-2 and went to a penalty shootout that saw Stortford knocked out 3-1.
Men’s 4’s v Blueharts 5’s
Bishop’s Stortford 4s made a slow start to post-Christmas hockey when they were second best to Blueharts in the first half to end 2-0 down. Despite creating and failing to convert a couple of good chances Stortford looked rusty and were second to many balls.
A half time reorganisation to add the ballast of David Wilde into midfield allowed Stortford to run the second half in a much improved performance. Stortford equalised with goals from Tim Lucas and Chris Slack. Either side could have taken the game in the last few minutes when each side had suspensions but in the end a draw was a fair result.
Ladies 5’s v Saffron Walden 4’s
A superb 7-1 victory away to Saffron Walden 4s in the 5’s first league game of 2022. Great communication and teamwork across the pitch saw Stortford piling on the pressure and posing a constant attacking threat. Goals from Hannah Brazil, Alice Lowe, Darcy Edwards, Alex Edwards and Emily Wood.
Stortford were unlucky not to keep a clean sheet, conceding late in the second half however a fabulous start to the second half of the season.
Men’s 5’s v MBDA 1’s
Stortford started off slowly and were on the back foot for most of the first half. After a few errors they went into the half time break 1-0 down.
However, After a half time formation change they began to play much better hockey passing it around MBDA and having the majority of possession in the attacking half. After some great counter attacking play from Richard Temple and Matt Sharman Stortford managed to draw the keeper off of his line and James Nash was able to tap the ball into an empty goal making it 1-1. With 2 minutes to go Stortford came agonisingly close to taking three points, hitting the inside of the post, but couldn’t get to the rebound. MBDA won a penalty corner as the final whistle blew. They unfortunately scored from the penalty corner and the match finished 2-1.
Ladies Acolytes v Southend 4’s
Travelling away in foggy and cold conditions, the Acolytes (Ladies 6’s) put on an excellent performance for the first league match back after the Christmas break against Southend 4’s. There was a lot of attacking play by the Acolytes (L6’s) in both halves of the game, forcing the Southend goalkeeper into making numerous saves. They went into half time with a two goal lead. The second half saw them add another three to their tally to come away with a 5-0 win.
Goals scorers; Mel Dummet (2) , Charlie Woodrow, Emma Cox and Beth Metson
Player of the match went to Clare Smith.
Men’s 6’s v Southgate Adelaide
Ladies 7’s v Ladies Curates
4-0 (W to 7’s)
The Ladies 7s maintained their lead at the top of the league with a 4 – 0 win over Stortford 8s. The goals, all in the first half, came from Emma (Edge)James, Jo Sullivan, Jess Ashford and Alice Taylor. Further goals were prevented with some good goalkeeping from Lis Foote in the 8’s goal. Fine defending, from Player of the Match ,Lily Shillito and Charlie Simmonds in particular, kept the clean sheet.