A round-up of all the action from another busy weekend of fixtures. No match for the Ladies Archdeaconesses this week due to the opposition postponing.

Ladies 1 | Ladies 2 | Ladies 3 | Ladies 5 | Ladies Acolytes | Ladies 7 | Ladies Curates
Men’s 1 | Men’s 2 | Men’s 3 | Men’s 4 | Men’s 5 | Men’s 6

Ladies 1’s v Sudbury
2 – 4

Bishop’s Stortford Ladies 1st team suffered defeat on Saturday as they crashed to a 4-2 loss at Sudbury. With second and third placed Norwich City and Harleston Magpies winning, it cuts the Ladies lead to 3 points at the top of the East Premier League.

Stortford suffered injury blows when captain Charlie Leonard (ankle), influential midfielder Katie Richards (finger) and talented youngsters Pearll Mason-Smith (knee) were all ruled out of the clash with Sudbury.

It was always going to be a stern test against a side who had already beaten Norwich twice this season. Stortford struggled to adapt to the slow and sandy nature of the pitch and in truth deserved very little from the game. They took the lead against the run of play when league top goal scorer Abbie Barrett neatly deflected a slick corner routine. However, Sudbury responded with 3 goals before half time after some very poor play from Stortford.

Unfortunately, the half time talk did little to change the momentum of the game as Sudbury added a 4th goal 5 minutes after the break when poor marking in midfield allowed a player to carry unopposed into the D and shoot pass goalkeeper Ali Martyn. Stortford did threaten a comeback when Molly Brooks latched onto a rebound from a penalty corner but this was as good as it got.

Coach Nick Prowse said after the game, “Whilst we are disappointed to lose we must not be too despondent, we have only lost 3 games in the last 3 seasons, so defeats have been rare and sometimes they are harder to take when you are not used to losing. Credit to Sudbury, they know their home pitch well and exploited our deficiencies on the day. They were worthy winners and had it not been for Ali Martyn the score line could have been worse.  All we can do now is reflect and focus on the aim of the season. Sometimes a defeat sharpens that focus. If I know the girls as I do, they will be keen to bounce back next weekend, and what better way than at home against Harleston Magpies”.

Men’s 1’s v Brentwood
4 – 0

An emphatic 4-0 win for the mens 1st team away at Brentwood sees them continue their fine form of 3 wins in a row.

All four goals coming in the first half. Jack Wheaton launched a long aerial ball down the pitch that caused havoc in the Brentwood defence, allowing Tom Frenzel to fire home his finish from the top of the D, caressing the post on the way in. A crunching tackle missed by the umpires allowing Craig Smith to stay on the pitch as he prevented one of very few Brentwood attacks. Jack Wheaton again with the assist as he fired a ball into the back post from a long corner, Ali Charlton getting the deflection to make it 2-0. A quick breakaway saw Paul Round in the D with the ball, who finished with aplomb into the bottom right hand corner to give Stortford a 3-0 lead in under 20 minutes. The 4th goal came from Jack Wheaton on a short corner who slotted the ball away with gusto.

The second half was relatively uneventful as Stortford eased off the pressure and calmly played the ball around. This resulted in a clean sheet and man of the match performance for Ryan Cruwys.

Team manager Sam Ecott said after the game “we started at a high tempo which Brentwood couldn’t deal with but unfortunately we eased off a little more than we liked in the second half. Next week will be a big test for the team with a home game against top of the league Old Loughts.

Ladies 2’s v Harpenden 1’s
1 – 1

An entertaining and closely contested match at Beldams lane as fifth placed Stortford took on fourth placed Harpenden.

With the teams separated by just 3 points, this was always going to be a tight, cagey affair.

Stortford started the game quickly, forcing some early saves from the visiting keeper.T he early breakthrough came for Stortford after some slick passing from a long corner. Defender Grace Grindrod pinged a short pass to Anna Sydes, who then found Suzanne Holmes who set Jen Pearce through to slot home past the keeper.  

The second half saw both teams have spells of dominance,  both keepers kept their teams in the match, thwarting chances at either end. With the clock ticking down, Stortford were holding onto their narrow lead. Then with ten minutes left, a goal mouth scramble saw a Harpenden shot at goal strike a Stortford foot, denying a goal and a penalty stroke was awarded and converted bringing the scores level. Both teams pushed hard in the final minutes, searching for a late winner, but the final whistle went, and the match finished one a piece. On reflection a fair result in a match that could have gone either way.

Men’s 2’s v Broxbourne 3’s
7 – 2

A dominant performance from Bishop’s Stortford Second XI saw a very comfortable 7-2 victory over Broxbourne with goals for Mark Taylor (x2), Tommy Williams (x2), Fred Cooke, Harry McKrell and Dave Roberts. Despite an early slip up to make it 1-1, Stortford asserted themselves on the match to run out easy winners on the day. The win leaves them second in the table, just two points behind Hertford who they take on this Saturday in a top of the table clash.

Ladies 3’s v Bedford 4’s
1 – 1

A really hard fought match away from home, a young Stortford team up against a Bedford side second in the table. Bedford opened the scoring in the first half with a pop in from the far post. Excellent defending from player of the match Ayla Heslop Moore made sure that this was their only goal! Stortford started brightly in the 2nd half winning an early short corner. Lizzie Motson pushed it out to Darcy Edwards who put in a lovely reverse stick strike back to Lizzie to knock it in on the post. A great team performance digging deep in the 2nd half to take home a point.

Men’s 3’s v Bedford 4’s
0 – 2

After a tough start to the second half of the season for the men’s 3rd team, Stortford hosted Bedford who came into the game 3rd in the table.  A young Stortford side made an aggressive start to the first half, which resulted in dominating large parts of the possession. Stortford focused on simple hockey and moved the ball around nicely, however the final ball on a number of occasions lacked the accuracy it needed to capitalise on the great build up play. The closest Stortford came was from a short corner just before half time, with Gregg Pettitt finding Matt Pike at the back post, however this went narrowly wide. A very positive first half and one of the best half performances of the season. 

Stortford continued with their aggressive style of play in the second half, however the Bedford defence stayed strong and made it difficult for the forwards. Unfortunately, Bedford won a short corner with ten minutes remaining, and capitalised on this to take a 1-0 lead. A mistake at the back a few minutes later allowed Bedford to grab a second. Stortford didn’t let their heads go down and continued to press until the final whistle. Despite the result, this was a positive performance from a young side against a strong Bedford team. 

Men’s 4’s v Stevenage 2’s
1 – 5

Stortford started the game well after their win last week, creating some half chances and winning some penalty corners – though Stevenage had several dangerous attackers and made their own chances.  Ollie Foot in the Stortford goal made several superb saves but Stevenage took the lead, mopping up a loose ball from a penalty corner.  Stortford then rather lost their shape and allowed Stevenage two more goals before half time in the key phase of the game.

Stortford were better after the break though never at their best.  They created several chances with David Wilde scoring from a penalty corner.   But Stevenage were still able to make chances at the other end and would have scored more than two but for some more great saves by Foot.  Definitely an under par performance from Stortford but credit to an in form Stevenage team.

Ladies 5’s v Rickmansworth 2’s
4 – 0

After last week’s postponement, Stortford 5’s were back in action, picking up another 3 points with an away win against Rickmansworth. Despite several good chances to take the lead, Stortford were unable to find a breakthrough in the first half and went into the break at 0-0.  The second half saw a dominant Stortford, controlling possession and with the defence keeping Rickmansworth’s attacks to a minimum. The teams desire to win shone through with 2 goals each for Amelia Leach and Alice Lowe securing a 4-0 win.

Men’s 5’s v Shefford and Sandy 3’s
4 – 0

With a 15 man squad the men’s 5s played with a high tempo from the off. Dominating the majority of possession Stortford kept putting Shefford & Sandy under huge amounts of pressure creating lots of chances! Using the width, Stortford played the ball down the left wing and Alex Wilde was found unmarked in the D and was able to sweep the ball home putting them 1-0 up at half-time. 

With the message of keep doing what we’re doing Stortford started the second half like they finished the first, playing with high intensity and having lots of possession! The back 4 limited Sandy to few chances but when called upon keeper Harry Fishpool made some great saves  2 great strikes from short corners from Badger (James Brocks) and Ross Haworth put Stortford 3-0 up.

After a great save from the Shefford and Sandy keeper, Phil Hoult fired home from close range scoring Stortford’s fourth. After a great performance from all involved the game finished 4-0 to the Men’s 5s leaving them second in division 6SW. 

Ladies Acolytes v Chelmsford 7’s
5 – 0

The Acolytes unbeaten season continued with an impressive 5-0 home win over Chemlsford 7’s.

All five goals came in the first half. Stortford were attacking from the whistle, putting the Chelmsford defence under immense pressure, and forcing the keeper into action on numerous occasions. The pressure paid off, with three goals being scored in quick succession. Liv Brierly scoring a cracking goal into the top corner, and then stepping up to convert a penalty stroke for her second goal of the game. Jo Hall (2) and Mel Dummet added to Brierly’s brace to put Dtortford comfortably in control of the game going into half time.

Stortford started the second as they’d ended the first, dominating possession and constantly on the attack, they racked up an impressive 33 entries into the Chelmsford ‘d’. However, they weren’t able to convert the pressure into more goals and the match finished 5-0.  A tiring but very pleasing performance from the team.  

Player of the match: Pilar Montu

Men’s 6’s v Hertford 7’s
6 – 0

Photo | Leonie Smith

Stortford 6s cemented their top of the table league position with a solid 6-0 win against Hertford 7s at Simon Balle School.

Pressing high, Stortford should have been further ahead than two nil at half-time with goals from Luke Beer and Joe Clune from short corners. But then in the second half, Stortford pushed forward and played a more direct game notching up four more goals – one and two respectively for the father and son duo of Martin and Stanley Gay, sandwiching a shot on target from Freddy Petar, with almost all goals coming from short corners.

Ladies 7’s v Welwyn Garden City 4’s
9 – 0

A great performance by the team has strengthened the position at top of the table for the 7s, away against Welwyn today. Early Welwyn pressure was answered by a great counterattacking goal from Caz Greenall in the 4th minute. Stortford soon doubled their lead just minutes later, Freya Tischkowitz finding the back of the net. A quick-fire double followed from Rachel Moore, a timely interception from Kaitlin Range setting up Moore’s second. The counter-attacking strength of Stortford was seen again when Alice Taylor bagged Stortford’s fifth and Caz’s Greenall’s second of the match made it 6-0 by half time.

An early goal in the second half meant a hat trick for Greenall. A relatively quiet period followed, finally interrupted by Rachel Moore’s hat trick goal and a further dogged goal-mouth finish from Jess Ashford-Green to make it 9-0. As the clock counted down, Stortford successfully defended a series of short corners with Lily Shillito bravely keeping the clean sheet but suffering a painful finger injury in the process. A dominant team performance, adding to the goal difference.

Ladies Curates v Blueharts 6’s
1 – 4