All the match reports and results from a full weekend of fixtures at Stortford, with wins for all home games at Beldams Lane, and the Ladies 7’s the first team to have their promotion confirmed following a 7-0 win. Congratulations!

Ladies 1 | Ladies 2 | Ladies 3 | Ladies Archdeaconesses | 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 Dereham 1’s – East Premier League
3 – 2 Win (Home)

Stortford ladies continued their successful campaign with a hard fought victory over struggling Dereham,  with a nailbiting finish to an exciting game that was full of incident.

Stortford were slow to start and Dereham were through on goal in the first minute forcing a short corner that was well defended by ‘keeper Ali Martyn. 

Then Stortford broke away with Molly Brooks and Sally Powell combining well for Abbie Barrett to slice through the Norfolk defence and slide the ball home.

Coach Nick Prowse was unhappy with what followed. ‘Instead of playing at a fast tempo we were sluggish, slow to move the ball and erratic in possession.’ The rest of the first half saw the Norfolk visitors the more dangerous of the two sides, forcing five short corners, two well blocked by Liz Egan and one cleared off the line by Lexi Guthrie. Their endeavours were finally rewarded in the most unlikely of fashion when a penalty stroke was harshly awarded against the Stortford defence.

‘That adversity provoked a positive reaction,’ said Prowse as his side started the second half playing with far greater urgency and creating plenty of chances. 

Kate Robinson had a shot blocked and Abbie Barrett went close. Dereham were defending well but two well worked short corners led to goals by Charlie Leonard and Katie Richards, Stortford’s Player of the Day, securing a two goal lead. 

Ali Martyn made a good diving save as Dereham, facing relegation, now threw caution to the wind leaving themselves exposed at the back, but Stortford missed further opportunities. 

Unhappy with the performance Prowse said, ‘We should have wrapped the game up in that period, but we missed some glaring chances while Dereham scored a late second goal and so we were relieved to hear the final whistle.’

The team now have a crucial match in the promotion race, as they travel to Norwich, who are equal on points with them at the top of the league.

Men’s 1s v Shefford and Sandy 1’s – East Div 1 South
4 – 0 win (Away)

Bishop’s Stortford men’s first team enjoyed a fairly straightforward win over bottom of the table Shefford & Sandy first team on Saturday at Beldams Lane.  Stortford of generally dominated the play with Shefford only able to attack sporadically.

Goals were less easy to come by but Stortford opened the scoring through Andy Round with a smart finish into the bottom corner. After some stern halftime words about not forcing the ball and taking chances in the circle Stortford continued to put the pressure of the Shefford defence and won a few corners with Jack Wheaton converting to make it 2-0. Man of the match Craig Smith continued to cause Shefford problems with his slick skills and pace but the Stortford forwards failed to convert the chances he was creating.  Stortford eventually added to their lead through a superb drag flick into the roof of the net from Jack Wheaton at a penalty corner and then a sharp strike into the corner of the Shefford goal from Dave Roberts after a good passing move from Tom Nash and Adam Farley.

The win keeps them in the second promotion place with only four matches remaining.

View the full photo gallery from the match

Ladies 2’s v Welwyn 1’s – East Division 2 South West
1 –1 (Away)

In the home fixture, Stortford had easily beaten their opposition 5-1, however this one proved more difficult. Stortford were slow to get started, taking time to adapt to the unpredictable bounce of Welwyn’s pitch. The hosts, with a much different forward line from the previous game, enjoyed long spells of possession in the opening minutes, going ahead early when a powerful reverse stick shot on goal took a deflection, to take it agonisingly wide of the keepers outstretched stick.

Fortunately, going ahead so early meant Stortford had time to get themselves back in it. Having got to grip with the surface, they began to dominate possession, testing their keeper and limiting Welwyn to just a single short corner shot on goal in the rest of the half.

The second half saw Stortford piling on the pressure but they were struggling to find a way past the keeper. Wave after wave of attack saw shots saved, or fall just wide. At the other end, Stortford’s defence kept the few Welwyn attacks at bay. With minutes remaining, it was looking like it wouldn’t be Stortford’s day, until up popped Charlotte Range, turning a deflected short corner in from a tight angle to even up the scores. A late scare just seconds from the end, as a speculative Welwyn ball hit the post, but the rebound was cleared and the final whistle went. 1- 1

Men’s 2’s v Southgate Adelaide – East Div 3SW
3 – 2 (Home)

This weeks home tie vs Southgate Adelaide was a chance to redeem ourselves from the disappointment of the away fixture before X-MAS,, It was time to click our heels and take 3 points . From the start there was no monkeying around ,we strung a basket of chances together in a tornado of attacks .on their D, however against the run of play, Adelaide ’s rigid tin man upfront unleashed a random shot that totally surprised goalkeeper Jim Hickman who had been stood unemployed like a lonely scarecrow in between the sticks, the ball happened on a foot near the goal line and a penalty flick was awarded and duly dispatched .

Paul Kerby played this fixture last time with his 25 yr old wooden headed wand but now has a new one in hand and  made some great runs and intelligent leads , but insisted on using both sides of it . On closer inspection it looked similar though to his old Ice Hockey one.

A Harry Mckerell and Tommy both whizzed around in their Half and in their half , our current Wiz in midfield Tommy with some magical stick play , made  opponents almost disappear with a mere brush of his stick .

On  yet another assault down our right Flank Alex Kirton eliminated Adelaide’s slightly immobile left half , making him look as stiff as a Tin Man , Alex pounced on the loose ball like a lion and unleashed a shot that hit the backboards like a brick .

After a quick drink at Half Time,  Stortford just wanted to get back out onto the field and get back to work .Plan was to play the ball round them and try isolate their lone Centre Back standing like a scarecrow deep in their D. The plan paid possessional dividends , the majority of play was in Adelaide’s half
However a random crash ball into our D was deflected into our goal,which Hickman had no chance to save. Not to be undone after some smart trickery from Elliot Copping -Jones he delivered a dangerous crash ball into their D and Jon Taylor seemed to appears from a puff of smoke to deflect the ball unstoppably high into the roof of Adelaide’s net to level the game at 2-2.

Within the last 20 minutes , and under a spell of Stortford pressure ,the courageous Adelaide keeper made several wizard saves to stop the score ballooning  .The goal total could’ve been double figures had it not been for his bravery .
The sands of time were ticking away when Vice Captain Jeff Dummett swept a wickedly accurate push shot that finished in the bottom corner much to our relief and to the delights and whelps from the animated “ well oiled ‘ 1st team in the gallery .
3 minutes to go and it’s was backs to the wall we defended our goal like it was Emerald City . The final whistle blew and and we had doused water on any last glimmers of disaster . A toto success and time to head to the bar to celebrate.
We lost this fixture away before Christmas but it proves ‘ there’s no place like home.

Ladies 3’s v St Alban’s 4’s – East Div 3 South West
1– 5 loss (Home)

The ladies 3’s had a tough fixture this weekend facing a strong St Albans side who are top of the table having only conceded 2 points all season. However Stortford went out hard and were first to score from an excellent shot from Issy Hatfield to put us 1-0 up. St Albans piled on the pressure and by the end of the 1st half they were rewarded with a 2-1 score line. The defence of Issy Good, Thea Came, Helen Perry & Jilly Colbran worked their socks off in the 2nd half but unfortunately 2 identical short corners saw us go down 5-1 in probably the last 10 mins of the game). With minutes to go Stortford looked bright and a drive into the circle by Katy Motson saw an attacking short corner awarded. Unfortunately another goal was not to be but a well fought match with a score line that did not reflect the actual play and the opposition overheard to say ‘that was the hardest game this season’.

Men’s 3’s v Harpenden 2’s – East Div 3SW
2 -1 win (away)

Ladies Archdeaconesses (4’s) v Saffron Walden 3’s – East Div 3SW
2 – 0 win (Away)

The game started with both sides enjoying their share of possession and chances. 20 minutes in Stortford started to take control. Karen Jones breaking the deadlock to give Stortford a narrow 1-0 lead going into the break. Second half saw Stortford play some fantastic hockey topped off by a 2nd goal by Zoe Barford. The win now moves them up to 5th in the league table

Men’s 4’s v St Alban’s 5’s – East Div 4SW
0 -7 loss (Away)

Stortford 4s were well beaten by St Albans 5s.  The game started fairly evenly but Stortford did not take the opportunities they created whereas St Albans did – Stortford went 2-0 down after about 15 minutes and 4-0 down by half time. 

In the early part of the second half Stortford were more solid in defence but had less threat in attack.   However, that coherence was lost in the final quarter of the game and St Albans scored three more times continuing to pass around Stortford keeper Harry Fishpool.  Fishpool was named man of the match with a number of superb saves and very little chance on any of the goals.  There will be easier games to come.

Ladies 5’s v Letchworth – East Division 5 South West
2 – 3 (Loss) Away

Another tough match for the 5s this week- lack of availability made it difficult to make such an early time in Letchworth, however we pulled together and got a team together.

Stortford got off to a brilliant start with multiple chances to take the lead, however, somewhat against the run of play, Letchworth went 2-0 up after a dubious short corner decision. A wonderful second half saw Stortford fight their way back into the match with from Pilar Montu and 5s captain, Hannah Brazil. A draw looked on the cards until unfortunately 2 minutes before the final whistle Letchworth snatched the winner, making the final score 3-2. An unfortunate loss but the team are determined to bounce back next week. Player of the match was Eryn Foote with a brilliant performance in defence.

Men’s 5’s v West Herts – East Division 6SW
0-4 loss (Away)

This week the men’s 5s travelled to table toppers West Herts. The game started with both teams having lots of chances with the possession going back and forth between the sides. However after a lapse in concentration West Herts managed to work the ball into the D and score the first goal of the game. At halftime the score stood 1-0 to West Herts. The second half started and West Herts continued where they finished off scoring 3 more goals leaving the final score 4-0. Despite the defeat the men’s 5s can hold their heads high as they had held their own for most parts of the game, playing some really great hockey. Congratulations to West Herts who have won 12 games on the bounc,  winning the league on Saturday with 4 games to spare. 

Acolytes (6’s) v Old Southendians 3’s– East Div 6 South East
2-0 Win (home)

WOW. What a brilliant match from the invincible Acolytes – a fantastic team effort. We began the first half strongly with the forwards being pushed up and the back lines following meaning that the opposition had no chance of getting past us. With a brilliant first goal happening towards the end of the first half being hit outside the D by Jo Sullivan and then being deflected in by Charlie. This then gave us the drive to do even better in the second half.

After some jelly babies and words of wisdom from Jo Hall “come on you beautiful creatures” gave the team drive to win this very important match. By working as a team and leading down the lines with some helpful hits from Alana and Kess from the centre, the team was a constant threat to the opposition. Our second goal came from a short corner which was passed to Mel who slipped it to Kess and finished it in the bottom left hand corner. The honorary player of the match goes to Alice Taylor who made it possible for us to play this match so thank you to her , and the player of the match goes to Kess Levy, Jo Hall and Kim Foster. Overall we worked incredibly hard as a team and supported each other throughout the match.

Well done everyone, a well-deserved win. Onwards and upwards!!

View the full photo gallery

Men’s 6’s v Bedford 7’s – East Div 8 South West
2 -0 win (home)

Stortford’s Mens 6s took on a challenging Bedford side, aiming to stay top of the East Mens 8SW league.

The Stortford press once again ensured that play was predominantly in the Bedford half but Stortford struggled to create chances and their short corners fell short of their usual penetration. The defence had to manage direct breaks into their half from long balls by passing midfield but did well to stay assured and prevent D entries. Finally a strong cross from Alex Wilde found Haitel Patel at the far post to finish, giving Stortford a 1-0 lead at half time.

The second half continued in the same pattern but a slightly more concerted attacking spell lead to a second Stortford goal from Joe Clune. Stortford held on for the win despite Bedford throwing more players forward, with good saves from Ronnie Stott. Player of the match was David Tilman.

Ladies 7’s v Stevenage 6’s – East Div 7 South West
7 – 0 Win (Home)

The Ladies 7s secured Stortford’s first promotion of the season with an emphatic 7-0 win on Saturday.  

The team started very strongly and Jess Green scored in the 8th minute, closely followed with another by Emma Jaymes in the 9th.  Just before halftime came the third goal from a penalty corner by Kaitlin Range leaving Stortford 3-0 up.  The 7s were on fire and hungry for more goals,  team spirit and teamwork came to the fore as has been the case all season.  The 2nd half left the visitors still unable to score and the 7s forged on, playing some lovely passing hockey, the fourth goal came from Kaitlin Range 4 minutes in from another penalty corner, followed by Kate Barham at 60 minutes, Ali Chadwick at 63 minutes and a stunning goal from Caz Greenall at 68 minutes just before the final whistle.

Later that day came the news that Broxbourne 5s had drawn their game, leaving Stortford 7s not only top of the table, but winning the league on points with no other team able to catch us.  A truly winning season, with all games won, bar one.

Captain Sandra Figg said: “The 7s are having a fantastic season. It’s all been down to amazing teamwork and a great team spirit. We just want to continue with wins now all the way to the end of the season”

Ladies Curates 8’s v Stevenage 4’s – East Div 7 South West
0 – 7 Loss (Away)