All the news as we bring the curtain down on a historic season in the clubs 74 year history

Ladies 1’s v Old Loughtonians – East Premier League
2 – 1 W (Home)

The ladies’ first team celebrate at the end of their title-winning campaign. Pic: Vikki Lince | Stortford Independent

Crowned Champions the week before Stortford Ladies could enjoy a stress free afternoon in the Spring sunshine and duly obliged with some exhibition hockey despatching  Old Loughtonians with some ease, although the score line at the end of a joyful afternoon did not flatter them. 

In the opening exchanges Stortford’s midfield dominated possession with player of the day, Imogen Basavaraj, impressing in both attack and defence, ably supported by a dominant display from veteran Lexi Guthrie playing at sweeper. Old Loughtonians out up some dogged resistance and last ditch defending and it wasn’t until the second half that Stortford broke the deadlock with their sixth penalty corner. Livvy Smerdon was on hand at the near post to tap home after Abbie Barrett and Rowena Ricketts combined to create the opening. 

Barrett was in the thick of the action leading to the second goal midway through the half combining well on a quick break away with Sally Powell and Charlie Leonard creating an opening for Kate Robinson to apply an emphatic finish. 

Old Loughtonians scored a consolation goal with the last hit of the match, as Stortford prepared for a night of celebrations.

Hockey Coach Nick Prowse praised the dedication of the squad and their achievements over the past three seasons gaining promotion to the East Premier League and then winning the title this year. ‘We were in a very strong position when Covid ended our chances but we picked up where we left off last September and have played 49 matches losing only 4 games. In so doing we have scored over 170 goals, a quite staggering achievement. 

Manager Mark Surridge said, ‘the team has bought into Nick’s attacking philosophy playing hockey fast on the counter attack and after every turnover, with an aggressive press which has paid dividends. It’s a high risk, high reward strategy that his team has executed superbly well.’  

Ladies 2’s v Letchworth 2’s – East Division 2 South West
7 – 3 W (Away)

Stortford finished the season on a high with their biggest win of their campaign against already relegated Letchworth.

With several players missing due to Covid and illness and a stand in goalie with captain Emma Hynds taking one for the team and putting on the goalie pads, it was Letchworth who scored first, taking advantage of some early defensive frailties to go ahead.

From then it was all Stortford, Nicky Bareham and Suzanne Holmes with a lovely one-two in the D that Bareham reverse swept home to equalise. She was on target again, smashing in from the top of the D. Michelle Titcombe-Rogers scored for the third game in a row before some great work from Charlotte Range, drawing the keeper before unselfishly passing for Bareham to complete a first half hat trick.

Natasha Reid got the second half off to a great start, scoring from a well drilled short corner routine. Letchworth tried to mount a spirited come back, scoring two goals to put some pressure on to Stortford. However two goals from Charlotte Range, one a lifted shot from a rebound and the other, combining well with Bareham to put the game out of reach.

A great way to finish the season, only four losses all season and a fourth place finish for the twos.

Ladies 3’s v Hertford 2’s – East Div 3 South West
4 – 1 W (Home)

The ladies 3xi started brightly and dominated the first 20 minutes of their match against Hertford 2xi.  Finally Jemma Pettit hit the back board to give them the goal they deserved. Stortford continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded with a penalty flick. Captain Katy Motson stepped up and deftly put it away in the bottom left hand corner to take the lead to 2-0. Shortly before half time Lizzie Roberts expertly dribbled round 2 players took the keeper on 1v1 and calmly slotted it away. 3-0 going in at half time. In a mirror image of the 1st round match against Hertford the visitors came out with all guns blazing. Taken a bit by surprise the Stortford defence were completely overloaded and Hertford put themselves on the scoreboard. The heat was beginning to show and Stortford’s intensity started to drop. However just before the final whistle the Stortford attack put a ball through to Vicky Cox who fired it towards goal. A poor Hertford defender took a hit on the line and the 2nd flick of the match was awarded. This time, goal hungry Vicky Cox stepped up to calmly put the ball away for Stortford 4th goal of the match. A fantastic end to an amazing season just narrowly missing out on promotion by 2 points.

Ladies Archdeaconesses (4’s) v Stevenage 2’s – East Div 3 South West
1– 1 (Away)

A great result for the Archdeaconesses to draw with the team above us in the league.

The last game of the season was in the heat and due to illness and injury the ever-changing team saw some guest appearances from the junior section.

Stevenage took the lead in the first half however Stortford pressed hard in the second half, earning a penalty flick. This was expertly converted by Lori McLeish to equalise and ensure a top half finish.

The juniors in the team were outstanding and their talent added value to the team.

A great way to end the season.

Ladies Acolytes (6’s) v Upminster
5 – 0 Win (Home)

This week saw the Acolytes playing their final league season match at Hockerill against Upminster 6’s. 14 players turned out for the final game in the sunshine whilst the opposition battled the M11 closures.

After a delayed start the match got off to a slow start with Upminster keeping the Stortford side goalless. The breakthrough came at 26 minutes when Kim Foster found the back of the net. Within minutes another midfielder Beth Metson did the same, coming back to make it a brace from a short corner right on the half time whistle.

Easter Percy Pigs and the usual Jelly Babies at half time and back out went the team. Upminster worked hard in their D and the goalie was kept busy successfully keeping the goals out despite some fantastic cross goal mouth passes.

Eventually with about 7 minutes to go Jo Hall scored to bring her season total within 1 goal of the top goal scorer. Having none of it Mel Dummett then found the goal in the very final minute securing a 5-0 win and 3 points.

Ladies 7’s v Stevenage – East Div 7 South West
2 -0 (Home)

Bishops Stortford Ladies 7s started the game against Saffron Walden Ladies with a good deal of early pressure.  There was a great amount of possession and controlling of territory without troubling the opposition keeper in the first quarter.  Shortly after a great effort from Pilar Montu the 7s missed out on their first goal.  Two more close attempts on goal were followed by a superb pass in from the baseline by Pilar Montu, finished by Alice Taylor for the 7s opening score. The only other action in the first half was a well-defended short corner.

The second half opened brightly with Wanatsa Dunbar and Pilar Montu making the most of the space available, while the defence was solid with Charlie Simmonds and Catherine Clune blocking the advancing Walden midfield as well as distributing the ball accurately.

With 10 minutes to go a strong 7s attack resulted in shots from Léa Gillespie and Alice Taylor with a great follow-up from Wanatsa Dunbar resulting in the second goal. The match was closed out well and the team really deserved the 2-0 win in the very warm conditions to complete a fantastic season where they have won all but one of their games, getting stronger in each and every game.

Men’s 1’s OPPOSITION CONCEDED. Finish second in East Div 1S

Men’s 2’s – 11 – 0 win against Vauxhall 1’s. Already promoted

Men’s 3’s v Shefford and Sandy – 6 – 0 

Stortford 3s travelled to Shefford and Sandy with safety still not guaranteed in the East Men’s Div 3 South West league, against an opponent who had beaten Stortford 2-0 in December. A young Stortford side started brightly, controlling possession for large parts of the first 20 minutes. After a number of missed opportunities, the deadlock was broken with Nash firing a ball into the D, which Tomlin perfectly deflected into the top right-hand corner to make it 1-0. Apart from 1 short corner for the opposition, the defence stayed solid and Martyn had a very quiet first half.  

The second half started quickly, and it was obvious Shefford and Sandy could not maintain the pace, and gaps began to open. Brooks controlled the midfield well, and within 10 minutes Nash had made it 2-0, calmly flicking the ball into the net past the keepers near side. The 3rd came soon after, with Bareham driving down the left-hand side to find Nash at the top of the D, who buried it in the bottom corner. Nash soon had his hat-trick 5 minutes later to make it 4-0. Stortford didn’t let up however, and continued pressing hard on a tired defence. Some good skill from Tanner found Warnes who had positioned himself well at the back post to make it 5-0, and then shortly after Watts added a sixth for his first goal for the 3s since joining the club. A great performance from a young team, which has secured our safety in the league. 4 wins from the last 5 has meant Stortford will finish 8th in the league out of 12, a great achievement given at the end of January Stortford sat in 11th and faced relegation.

Men’s 4’s v Luton Town – POSTPONED

Men’s 5’s v St Albans

2-1 Loss  (away)

The men’s 5s knew that only a win would keep them in the hunt for promotion. After only narrowly beating St Albans 2-1 before Christmas the 5s knew it would be a tough match! 

St Albans came out fighting having lots of possession and after lots of early chances they managed to go 1-0 up. However, knowing that winning was a needs must Stortford upped the tempo creating many chances forcing the St Albans keeper into making some great saves. However after a lapse in concentration from the opposition keeper, James Nash managed to pass the ball into the goal making the score 1-1 just before halftime. 

As the second half began Stortford continued to play some great hockey but just couldn’t get the ball over the line and unfortunately St Albans managed to regain the lead with less than 15 minutes to go. The men’s 5s threw everything at the opposition and gave there all till the very end. The final whistle blew and the 2-1 defeat meant the men’s 5s promotion chase was over. Special mentions go to Chris Bromham and Collin Sharp for excellent performances! 

Let’s hope the men’s 5s can end the season on a high next week when they play Letchworth at home in the final game of the season! 

Men’s 6’s v Cambridge South – 8-1 Win