1st Team Match Report v Wednesbury

Stafford Hockey First Xl travelled to Wednsbury, a team that had bested Stafford on three prior occasions. Despite this there was confidence about the team, Ed had constructed a new formation of three in the middle and three up top which going seemed logical as it gave us the ability to stretch the play and attack from all angles.

As the game commenced Stafford took immediate control; the ball barely came out of the Wednsbury half within the first ten minutes and if it did it was only due to a long clearance or a single player trying to break. There was such fluidity and grace in Stafford’s build up play, the ball moved from Piers Wooler on one flank into Ben Hollands and across to Colin Bishop on the other flank with ease. Needless to say but Wednsbury had little option but to park the bus and hope that Stafford’s immense pressure wouldn’t be capitalised upon. Stafford came close to scoring; Andy Peatfield, James Faulconbridge, Charlie Trotter and Daniel Rennie all had the opportunity to get their names onto the score sheet. Unfortunately though due to Wednsbury’s defensive resolve none of these chances were converted. In spite of the early pressure Stafford found themselves 1-0 down at the break following a swift counter-attack from the opposition which resulted in a short corner. After the initial strike was saved the ball fell to an open attacker in front of Gareth Minton who was still on the floor, he had the simplest of jobs of just placing the ball into the net.

Despite the goal deficit going into the second half Stafford were determined that they could still win; given they retained the intensity shown in the first half. This they managed to do however Stafford just couldn’t score. Not because of a lack of possession or because the play was bad, but because Stafford were unable to create enough chances. It seemed like as soon as the ball got to the D all of the play amounted to nothing and Wednsbury were able to defend and clear. The second half played out much like the first did, Stafford played wonderful hockey whilst retaining possession, and however the final product just wasn’t there. The icing on the cake came near the end of the game when Stafford’s opponents got their second goal, killing off the match. Again coming from a short corner, since time though the ball left the D and came to a Wednsbury player who was baking up the play. He smashed it back into Stafford’s defensive zone and was deflected into the goal of a Wednsbury stick.

It was disappointing that Stafford couldn’t follow up on last week’s victory with another victory. It also feels familiar that we dominate a game and don’t get a real result from it. All that Stafford can do is keep their heads up and not lose hope that this great possession hockey can be turned into victories.

2nd Team Match Reports v Bloxwich and Streetly

Stafford HC 2nd team came away with two victories last weekend, cementing 2nd place in West Midlands 1 of the Midlands Regional Hockey League.

 

On Saturday they hosted Bloxwich HC and ran out comfortable 5-1 winners.  Stafford started brightly and got off to a fine start with a drag flick by Nathan Silitto.  Stafford then conceded a bizarre equalizer after Alex Peatfield played the ball into the path of an opposition forward in front of goal!

 

That seemed to get Stafford in the right frame of mind, and they re-took the lead with a fine team goal, great passing from James Gillingham and Silitto saw Mike Wymer finish at the far post.

 

After the break Stafford took control, strong running through the midfield saw James Wild set up Wymer for his second, Dave Anderson then scored a powerful drag flick and the game was finished off in style by Ethan Sweeney.

 

On Sunday, Stafford visited bottom team Streetly HC in a rearranged fixture.  The young side ran Stafford really close, the Riverway team running out 4-3 winners.

 

The first came from a Mike Wymer cross to the far post and Richard Bendall applied the finishing touch.  After that, Stafford got sloppy in defence and conceded a penalty corner, it was emphatically put away by the opposition.

 

Stafford then took some measure of control with a neat finish from Elliot Glennan before Giles Rowden put away a deflection into the roof of the net. Another corner conceded by Stafford, saw Streetly score again to put the score at 3-2 at half time.

 

After the break, Rowden got his second with a short corner strike, Richard Bendall missed two great opportunities and Wymer could not convert a penalty stroke.  Streetly then grabbed a third to make it a nervy last 10 minutes, and indeed could have equalized on the whistle but their forward but the chance wide.

 

Man of the match was 15 year old Will Trotter who literally ran rings round his much older opponents.  Six valuable points for the young Stafford team.

1st Team Match Report v Streetly

Match Report: Streetly

Stafford Hockey clubs first eleven hosted Streetly hoping that their first league game of the New Year would end in a win, and confidence seemed to be high going into the game.

The first half started positive for Stafford who had a large share of possession in the early stages, managing to apply early pressure to Streetly; though they were never going to play dead, battling for early momentum. Charlie Trotter made some good early runs, aided by Ben Hollands and Daniel Rennie. For most of the half both teams couldn’t really penetrate into the oppositions D, or squandering the few chances that they had. However following a miss-timed pass from Simon Parnell Streetly managed to break into the Stafford D, were a penalty flick was awarded against Mike Watley. This unfortunately for Stafford was put away into the bottom right corner.

In the second half things were different, miraculously Stafford looked like a completely different team; probably from the inspired half time team talk and the general reluctance to lose from a dominant position just as we had done so often in 2014. The passing was better, the build-up was better and the defending was better; Daniel Rennie still wouldn’t roll out much to Ed’s frustration, unfortunately Elliot wasn’t here this week to reassuringly calm him down. Mid-way through the half Andy Peatfield drove the ball wide into the D, where he crossed it for an easy tap in for Captain Ben Hollands. Just five minutes later Captain fantastic thought he had gained the lead and bagged himself another goal from a short corner, hitting the ball past the goalkeeper. However the ball hadn’t crossed outside the D so wasn’t counted. Stafford did manage to get the decisive winner late in the second half when Andy Peatfield having an amazing game skilled three players and the keeper to reverse hit the ball from a tight angle into the goal.

Overall Saturdays game not only gave us some early momentum in 2015 but also gave the demoralised Stafford players confidence, that we can win after going down and that we shouldn’t just give up; showing how the win against Streetly was much more than just three points on the board.

Junior Open Session 25th January

Dear all,

The club is holding an open session on the 25th January 10:45am ’til 12 on the astro at Beaconside for anyone interested in trying hockey. It is mainly aimed at juniors but adults are welcome. This is where we need your help! If you have any family friends or relatives who might be interested, let them know about the event and get them to come along. Without a strong junior section, there will be nothing to sustain the club through the next century so please rack your brains!

THE EVENT IS ALSO OPEN TO EXISTING JUNIORS- I ENCOURAGE AS MANY OF THOSE PLAYING ALREADY AS POSSIBLE TO COME ALONG.

This week, a letter has gone out to primary schools, letting them know about the event. Hopefully we will get some attendees from this but the stronger you guys push it, the better the event will be. We will be capturing contact details from parents so will hopefully acquire some new young members.

If you, or anyone else need any more info, email me: richardbuka@googlemail.com

Thanks in advance for your help.

Buka