Hitchin Blueharts hockey round-up as men’s second team punish Potters Bar 5-1

PUBLISHED: 09:15 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 21 November 2017

Dan Drew on the attack for Blueharts. Picture: Danny Loo

Dan Drew on the attack for Blueharts. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Hitchin’s Blueharts Hockey Club have been busy this week with three wins, two draws and five defeats across the adult sides at the weekend.

The men’s seconds put on a good performance beating Potters Bar, as did the ladies’ seconds against opposition from the same club.

The ladies’ fourths came back from Milton Keynes with three points to put them in second place in their division.

Ben Brind makes a save with his legs for Blueharts. Picture: Danny Loo Ben Brind makes a save with his legs for Blueharts. Picture: Danny Loo

Men’s seconds power five goals past Potters Bar to win 5-1

Sam Rees brings the ball forward. Picture: Danny Loo Sam Rees brings the ball forward. Picture: Danny Loo

The result of the day came from the men’s seconds who pounced on any Potters Bar errors with Mark Flint and Rob Clark both scoring well-taken goals in the early exchanges of the game. Potters Bars replied shortly afterwards.

Mathew Gardener and Devon Woolley patrolled at the back faultlessly and held secure with man of the match Toby MacCormack to their right and powerhouse Rob Macdonald to the left.

Mark Flint protects the ball. Picture: Danny Loo Mark Flint protects the ball. Picture: Danny Loo

Blueharts looked stronger going forward as the first-half progressed and dominated the game as Rob Clark and Mark Flint linked the midfield and forwards together.

Austin Ephgrave, Sam Rees and Ben Phillipson all made some threatening runs at goal but Mark Flint was the one netting again with a powerful drag flick from a penalty corner.

Mark Flint challenges Tom Clarke in the middle of the pitch. Picture: Danny Loo Mark Flint challenges Tom Clarke in the middle of the pitch. Picture: Danny Loo

Blueharts put the game to bed at 4-1 up with what many observers described as the best half of hockey the team has played this season.

The second half saw the Blues ease their way to a 5-1 victory when Rob Clark gifted Ben Guest an open goal late on for Guest’s first second team goal.

Mark Flint shoots from a short corner routine. Picture: Danny Loo Mark Flint shoots from a short corner routine. Picture: Danny Loo

This performance puts the seconds comfortably mid-table in East League, Div 2S. They face Brentwood at home next weekend at 12pm.

Dan Drew looks for a pass in the area. Picture: Danny Loo Dan Drew looks for a pass in the area. Picture: Danny Loo

Ladies second team

George McConachie turns away from a Bluehart. Picture: Danny Loo George McConachie turns away from a Bluehart. Picture: Danny Loo

The ladies’ seconds also had a significant win to remain above Potters Bar in Five Counties Premier Division moving them up to joint third spot.

With some changes in team selection Jess Marsh stepped in to make some fine saves in goal, Evie McGown once more stepped up with a gritty determined performance and Charlotte Lemon’s intelligent play has made her an integral part of the midfield.

Ben Brind kicks the ball away for Blueharts. Picture: Danny Loo Ben Brind kicks the ball away for Blueharts. Picture: Danny Loo

Tenacious runs from player of the match Kate Chappell and the fast Anna Wallace gave Potters Bar no end of problems and it wasn’t long before Zoe Smith got the final touch for the opener.

Blueharts didn’t sit back on their laurels, instead they pushed on looking to extended the lead. Quick hands by Chappell and her change of direction at pace left Bar turned inside out, her individual skills were rewarded with her scoring again.

Ed Whybrow drives forward. Picture: Danny Loo Ed Whybrow drives forward. Picture: Danny Loo

The opposition started the second half with more determination and hit Blues hard.

They defended well but gave away one or two short corners, unfortunately McGown’s clearance off the line rebounded straight off Bar’s attacking stick and snuck in at the post.

Simon Tenwick and Robert MacDonald tussle for the ball. Picture: Danny Loo Simon Tenwick and Robert MacDonald tussle for the ball. Picture: Danny Loo

Undeterred Blueharts strode on, looking to regain the two goal advantage. Blueharts soaked up a short flurry from the reds and went about assuring a third goal.

Attacking short corners went agonisingly close, backed up with some strong long corner routines but to no avail but the third goal finally came about when Wallace and Chappell beat the defence once more and found Nikki Baxter on the goal line for a final touch on a Chappell strike.

Jon Elms looks for a pass. Picture: Danny Loo Jon Elms looks for a pass. Picture: Danny Loo

The ladies’ seconds face top of the table Leighton Buzzard away next week.

Ben Brind makes a save with his legs from Mark Turpin. Picture: Danny Loo Ben Brind makes a save with his legs from Mark Turpin. Picture: Danny Loo

The ladies’ first team drew 0-0 at home versus Harpenden. The ladies’ thirds lost 3-2 away to Bishop Stortford, goals scored by Hannah Mcpherson, Julie Buckland while the ladies’ fourth team won 3-1 away to Milton Keynes.

The men’s first team travelled to Harleston Magpies and lost 5-0. They face St Albans firsts away next weekend.

The men’s thirds travelled to league leaders Royston knowing an away win would see them replace their opponents at the top of the league.

With a recent string of strong performances, the thirds were full of confidence.

A tense first half, saw some excellent defending from the young Blueharts defence of Maylin, Brooks, Pryle and Mackintosh to keep the equally youthful Royston attackers at bay.

Blueharts looked more likely to score on the break and Barry came close with a lob over their onrushing keeper after intercepting a back-pass to their centre back.

0-0 at half time proved why Royston had conceded a meagre five goals in eight games.

The second half started with both teams knowing a single goal could make all the difference.

Watson created a lot of chances from down the left flank and it looked as though Ashley Hammond was through on goal a few times, only to be caught by the rapid Royston defence who worked hard all game to track back and neutralise any Blueharts attacks. T

However Royston could do nothing about the bullet Hammond fired into the bottom corner after a short corner.

With 20 minutes to go, it was going to be a long time to hold onto the lead and, with only 11 players, energy levels were starting to drop.

Royston were growing desperate and during a Blueharts 16, Royston pressed the ball until it was turned over just outside the D. Their first strike was saved well by Buchanan, but the clearance fell to another forward on the edge of the D whose low strike caught the inside of the post and went in to equalise.

Player of the Match: Graham Swinyard.

The men’s fourths lost 2-0 to Harpenden at home while the men’s fifths lost 2-0 away to Bishop Stortford.

The men’s sixth’s lost 3-1 at home to Bedford despite holding them to 1-1 for the majority of the game, goal from Rob Donald.

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