At a glance

L1s  4-1 (3rd) East Prem
L2s 4-2 (8th) 1S
L3s 1-2 (8th) 2SW
L4s 2-3 (12th) 2SW
L5s 2-0  (Champions in 4SW)
L6s 3-1 (Champions in 4SE)
L7s 5-2 (8th) 5SW
L8s 3-1 (4th) 6SW
L9s Development team in 7SW

1’s v Harleston Magpies 2’s

End of an Era

After six years at Bishop’s Stortford Hockey Club as Ladies Head Coach Nick Prowse is stepping down. 

‘He will be a very difficult actor to follow that’s for sure,’ Mark Surridge the Ladies Manager suggested, ‘Finding elite coaches isn’t easy and Nick has delivered on his aims which were to raise the profile of the Ladies Section. He has had three excellent Captains in Charlie Leonard, Katie Richards and Kate Robinson, and under his guidance both First & Second teams have benefitted hugely from his tailored training sessions.

‘We were on target to win the East Premiership when Covid struck but deservedly won it the year afterwards and enjoyed a season in the National League. This season we have finished strongly, and third place for our young squad is a creditable achievement.’

A feature of Nick’s coaching has been the careful nurturing of young talent and there were six players under seventeen years of age in Saturday’s squad that beat Harleston Magpies. One of them, Lucia Catley, named Player of the Day was instrumental in creating early opportunities for Liz Egan and Katherine Langridge giving Stortford a two goal half time lead. 

‘It was fitting that Nick’s tenure as Coach should finish on a day where we played some of our best hockey of the season, looking secure in possession and fast fluent and purposeful on the break, and lethal in the circle,’ Surridge said. 

Kate Robinson added the third at a well worked short corner and Daisy Fox added the fourth with an audacious strike. 

Prowse will continue his involvement with the club coaching in the Junior Section where his two children play every Sunday through the season. 

2’s v Sudbury 1


Stortford ended the season on a high with a 4-2 win over Sudbury that sees them finish comfortably mid table.

Stortford got off to the perfect start, Lucy Robinson with a reverse strike from the top of the d in the opening minutes. Robinson added a second, a slapped shot from a short corner that evaded everyone to nestle in the bottom corner. Stortfords third saw a brilliant move that started out of defence, Molly Brooks finding Nicky Bareham who played a perfect pass to Millie Andrews, Andrews then found Fiona Mulder who slipped to Sally Powell at the top of the d, who finished off the move with a ferocious lifted strike to put Stortford 3 goals ahead. Sudbury managed to pull one back before the break, a quick turn and shot from their forward to make it 3-1 at half time.

The second half saw Sudbury have more of the game, creating more opportunities and a succession of short corners. They reduced the deficit again, a thunderbolt from the top of the d into the roof of the net. A nervy few minutes followed as they almost equalised when a ball was intercepted in from of goal, but quick reactions from keeper Lianne Warnell kept the ball out, with Stortfords defence tidying up and clearing the danger.  Minutes later Stortford put the game to bed, Mulders short corner strike finding the corner to make it 4-2 and secure all three points. 

3’s v Blueharts 2’s


Blueharts started incredibly brightly piling the pressure on the visitors but a break in the first half saw Charlotte Range get a foot in the D. Grace Grindrod made no mistake and drilled it home giving Stortford tthe lead. In the 2nd half the home side continued to apply a very high press with all players bar the keeper in Stortfords half. This gave the away side lots of problems trying to work it out from the back. Ali Martyn was forced to make plenty of saves and defensively Stortford absorbed the pressure. Unfortunately 2 goals in a short space of time put Blueharts ahead. This geed the visitors into action with player of the match Jen Pearce weaved her way through the defence. Several squandered opportunities at the home sides goal in a dominant 10 minutes towards the end of the 2nd half but the score remained 1-2. 

The L3s finished a very respectable 8th in division 2SW in their first season having been promoted last year. 33 players have contributed to the team over the season and 10 have played in excess of 20 matches (Catters, Ali M, Jemma, Lydia, Eryn, Katy, Ali C, Jen, Charlotte & Issy G). Jen Pearce finished as the teams highest goal scorer on 9 goals.

4’s v Welwyn Garden City 1’s


PoM: Evie Chidgey

The ladies 4s had a disappointing end to their season losing 3-2 to Welwyn Garden City 1s on Saturday. The Stortford team needed at least a draw to avoid relegation but it was not to be. Despite their best efforts and valiant performances from many on the team they couldn’t capitalise on their half time lead with goals from Zoe Barford and Pippa Bull. POM went to Evie Chidgey,  whose confidence has grown throughout the season, for her tenacious display of skill fighting to the bitter end. Now for a well deserved rest before the start of next seasons campaign to be promoted again.

Player of the match – Evie Chidgey

5’s v Cheshunt 1’s

2-0 (Stortford win league and promotion to div 3SW)

PoM: Hannah Reynolds

The ladies 5s went into a top of the table clash in 4SW with only a point in hand. Knowing The third placed Luton could, with a win, leap frog on goal difference if Stortford didn’t win set the challenge. 

A 16 squad of players turned out against a 10 player Cheshunt 1s. Despite overloading in midfield Stortford struggle to turn attacks into goals with the Cheshunt defence working hard, saving and clearing scoring attempts. 

The teams went into half time 0-0 with everything still to play for. 

Soon after half time Charlotte Turner took a shot which deflected off the Cheshunt defender and crossed the line giving 1-0 lead to Stortford. 

The depleted Cheshunt side didn’t really cause Stortford defence great problems with keeper Hannah Reynolds not touching the ball. Meanwhile the Cheshunt defensive line continued to keep Stortford at bay until a short corner gave Charlie her chance of a brace. A straight strike conversion leading to a 2-0 score. 

The win gave the ladies 5s the championship whilst a winning Luton (9-2) leapt over Cheshunt to finish 2nd.

6’s v Colne 1’s


PoM Grace McKelvey

The rain hammered down for the Bishops Stortford Ladies 6s who travelled to the University of Essex for their last match against Colne 1s. Unusually, Bishops Stortford Ladies 6s got off to a rather sluggish start and this allowed Colne to apply early pressure onto our defensive D. Colne liked to play a heavy hitting form of hockey which meant that our press had to be spotless every time they had a free hit. Fortunately, we had strong guidance from our defenders Jo Newman and Claire Holmes to allow us to plug the gaps and prevent any balls from going straight into our defensive D. Our first attacking opportunity came in the first 5 minutes from an elegant run by Amelia Leach down the right wing, who found Lois Wright waiting patiently by the post. However, a Colne player stepped in the way at a crucial time, preventing Bishops Stortford from scoring. Colne were making some dangerous breaks and this meant that the Bishops Stortford defenders, Kaitlin Range, Claire Holmes and Jo Newman utilised the transfer system in order to successfully clear the ball out from pressurised situations.

Some fantastic saves from young goalkeeper Izzy Jones prevented Colne from scoring early on. The ball was back in possession with Bishops Stortford and many attacks were being made on the right hand side of the pitch with Claire Holmes, Amelia Leach and Grace McKelvey linking up nicely to get the ball into the D. At that point, a Colne player hit the ball straight off the back to give us our first short corner of the match. Léa Gillespie injected the ball with pace and power to Grace, who took a straight strike so that our observing defenders could see where the Colne defenders would run towards. Sadly, the Colne goalkeeper made a save and stopped us from scoring. Despite this, Bishops Stortford were determined to find the backboard and Lois Wright, Mary Sanders and Hannah Wynne used rebounds off the goalkeeper to try and score.

Later on, Léa made another attack towards Lois who took a shot which fell just wide of the goal. Numerous attacks from Colne meant they scored their first goal in the 13th minute and very unusually, the 6s found themselves losing 1-0, unlike their previous performances. However, with a sudden burst of determination from a free hit, defender Jo, pummled the ball with accuracy to Mary, who was waiting patiently and with so much space around her that she was able to make a straight drive towards the D, cutting out the Colne defender chasing her. Mary was able to find a foot in the D and this meant that Bishops Stortford had won their second short corner. Following useful information about the Colne defensive short corner procedure, captain Claire Smith advised the team to use the left slip this time and play around the goalkeeper.

The Colne defensive structure managed to clear the ball out but captain Claire was almost waiting for this to happen and picked up the ball on the right hand side. Claire then made a wonderful pass to Jess Ashford-Green who slotted the ball into the goal with precision, making the score 1-1. Another short corner soon after this found Hannah Wynne taking a deflection towards the Colne goal and found the back of the net. Stortford now led 2-1 at the end of the first half. After a comprehensive team talk at half time, the 6s were ready and raring to go in their last half of hockey of the season. Izzy Lawrence made some effective runs towards goal, constantly linking up with Amelia Leach to create some wonderful attacks for Bishops Stortford.

The 6s suddenly had a surge in motivation and wanted to leave everything on the pitch before the season ended. The energy infected the whole team and Bishops Stortford had much more possession in the second half. Now player of the season, Claire Holmes, made some marvellous passes down the line on the right hand side finding Jess multiple times. Jess carried the ball towards the D and found Grace at the top of the D. Grace then slapped the ball which went straight through the goalkeeper giving Stortford a 3-1 lead. Another spur of determination and this time Kaitlin played the ball from the back to Izzy and Mary who wanted to use the left side of the pitch more to create attacks towards goal. The ball continuously made its way into the D from these runs, but unfortunately it could not be put into the goal.

Nevertheless, this did not stop the 6s who were midway through a short corner when painful hailstones began to fall! Due to this, the game was abandoned for a short while but we did not want to have to reschedule the game and so it was decided that we would wait for the hailstones to pass and then resume. Once playing again, Hannah Wynne made some dangerous shots towards goal and Lois Wright, using her skills, managed to get round multiple players in the D and indeed created short corner opportunities. The series of short corners were unfortunately unconverted but then our defensive lineup had to defend one against Colne. A shot by Colne was superbly defended by Jo and then impeccably cleared out by Izzy who found Amelia on the left who dribbled up the pitch just as the game ended. The final whistle blew and with a score of 3-1, the ladies 6s won their last game of a particularly successful season. POM was awarded to Grace McKelvey

One of the combinations of players that contributed to the ladies 6s in 2024

7’s v Broxbourne 4’s


PoM: Marie Surujabally

Stortford Ladies 7s went into the final match in 8th place in 5 South West. On 25 points they couldn’t catch 7th place Saffron Walden 4s or be caught by 9th place St Albans 6s so it was a stress free and relaxed match against 5th placed Broxbourne. 

A 13 player team included Marie Surujabally with her 3rd call up to the 7s and debutante Nula Boston coming into the defensive line up from the ladies 8s.  A Stortford short corner in the 1st minute  followed by a first goal at 11 minutes finished by Savannah Taylor after successive pressure in the D gave Stortford a sense that this was a match that could go our way. 

The forward line of Emma Cox, Emily Wood and Charlie Woodrow worked tirelessly despite having no sub, with the latter making characteristic sideline and J runs time and time again. Effort was rewarded with a second goal, the first in the match for Emma Cox, at 23 minutes, and a second for Emma after a swift restart taking the scoreline to 3-0 at 25 minutes. 

Not taking their foot off the gas Broxbourne came back to win three successive short corners, Keeper Lis Foote clearing the first, Nula the second despite only three defenders being in place (line broken early by the 4th), with the third and final attempt leading to Broxbourne success taking the scoreline to 3-1 as the half time whistle blew. 

Broxbourne started the second half an attacking team, catching the defence on the hop and grabbing a second goal at 38 minutes. At 3-2 Stortford were keen not to lose the advantage and great midfield work from Marie overturned numerous Broxbourne players and the combination of Savannah, Marie, Beth Metson, Kim Foster and Sarah Tough (playing out of position as defensive mid) kept feeding the ball back into the Broxbourne 23 until a deflection from Emily gave Emma her third goal at 41 minutes. Followed by a fourth for Emma at 48 minutes. 

Broxbourne continued to fight and created dangerous D entries and whilst Denise Clark, Naomi Holloway, Mel Dummet, Nula and Lis defended hard the backboard was eventually found at 51 minutes to take the closing score to 5-3.

PoM Marie Surujabally

8’s v Blueharts


PoM: Hannah Withcalls/Adria Davies

Recent high-scoring victories gave Stortford Ladies 8s some confidence going into their last match of the season.  

However, the team sheet was looking somewhat different, and lean, this week with players called up to play for higher teams. Despite 9s answering the call for some support with players, the Ladies 8s were out of regular positions across the pitch and this showed early on in play with defence having to play high to support and midfielders plugging the gaps in the forward line up.  

For the first ten minutes both sides battled it out to take an early lead. The Stortford keeper, Zara A, denied numerous opportunities in the circle and an excellent switch over in play meant the ball was passed high and converted quickly by Megan L to bring the score 1-0 to Stortford in the first 10 minutes.

Rising to the challenge, Blueharts turned play around and equalised within 3 minutes with a scrappy goal taken from a rebound amidst a confused tumult of sticks.

Time dragged on and the prospect of a draw in the first half became increasingly likely when a second goal from Megan L was not allowed, as the umpire blew for a short corner after the strike was taken.

Coming into the second half, Blueharts stepped up the pressure, and went into the lead with a 2nd goal, despite it appearing to come from outside the D in the 40th minute. Cementing the win 10 minutes with a 3rd.

It was impossible not to feel downhearted after this match, despite Blueharts being welcoming & fair hosts, as hopes of a 3rd finish in the league were diminished for Stortford.

Player of the match was awarded jointly; to Hannah Withcalls for her ability to read play and intercept quickly. And to Adria Davies in recognition of her flexibility on the pitch this week, playing on a different side and in a different position, plus for her commitment to the team this season, in what is her last game for Bishop Stortford. 

Hannah Witchalls