Blueharts hockey round-up
PUBLISHED: 12:40 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 10 January 2018
The men's teams at Blueharts Hockey Club got the new year off to a good start with three wins out of four matches after a hard frost saw early fixtures postponed.
When the sun came out and softened the pitch there was no stopping some of the sides.
The men’s fifths struck nine against Luton with the men’s fourths hit six past Rickmansworth while the ladies were handed a defeat and two draws to start the New Year.
However it was the men’s thirds who were pick of the bunch after they routed Vauxhall 5-1 after they travelled seeking redemption for a defeat earlier this term.
After one-way traffic for 15 minutes, Vauxhall were unable to weather the storm and a Harris cross from the defence found Tom Wallis in space who, without breaking stride, fired the ball home on the reverse.
Watson then produced the play of the game, picking up the ball on the half-way line, taking it past five Vauxhall players, slipping the ball to Wallis in the D to score his second.
The odd Vauxhall breakaway reminded the thirds how fragile their lead was, but the defence of Ide, Maylin, Harris and Mackintosh stood firm. On the half-time whistle Vauxhall were awarded a short corner and, with their whole team lining up around the D, the pressure took its toll and the most embarrassing goal of the season was conceded.
Vauxhall shipped the ball to the right and a goal-bound pass from the attacker was left by both defender and keeper in the confusion over ownership as the sides went in 2-1 at the break.
From the restart, Vauxhall put up more of a fight but the thirds game plan was working with Chris Lendrum and Man of the Match Oscar Pryle working hard in midfield.
A short corner was awarded with minutes remaining and the ball was worked to Richard Middleditch on the left, who was able to deliver a powerful cross to Wallis on the back post for him to pick up his hat-trick.
Middleditch had been causing the opposition problems all game and he was finally able to pick up a goal of his own with an excellent strike from the edge of the D into the near post. At 4-1 the game started to get away from Vauxhall with one of their players receiving a card.
This spurred-on the visitors and a fifth was added by Lendrum who received the ball on the edge of the D and rifled it past their keeper for an excellent 5-1 win, as they went two points clear at top of East League Div 4SW.
The men’s fourths played Rickmansworth at home giving a satisfying team performance and a great start to the new year.
Their level of intensity produced results to go 4-0 up by half time.
Rickmansworth rallied at the start of the second half but they were unable to convert any of their opportunities, including sending a penalty flick wide of the goal. Despite losing shape and composure at times during the second half they were able to add two further goals with the visitors only able to respond with one consolation goal towards the end of the game.
Goalscorers: Graham Burr x 3, Misty x 1, Cotter x1, Tim Sporle x 1
The men’s fifth’s were away to Luton.
Having lost the reverse fixture 11-2 to Luton seconds earlier in the season the fifths started 2018 with a superb team performance and a well-deserved 9-2 victory.
An open early phase of the game saw both sides create opportunities but it was a great move with an excellent cross from Simon Bayston being expertly converted by Dave Head to give Blueharts the lead.
Shortly before half time Mark Russell shot past the keeper to give us a 2-0 lead. A nervous start to the second half allowed Luton to pull a goal back before Dave Head got his second only for Luton to pull it back to 3-2. From this point onwards they were totally dominant with the pace and skill of Charlie Macdonald causing havoc for the Luton defence scoring the fourth.
A further five goals followed with Head completing a hat-trick, Macdonald a second and Flynn Krishman, Paul Jordan, Keith Noble and John Russell all scoring.
The men’s first team lost 5-0 away to Letchworth.
The ladies first team however surprised league leaders Sudbury with a dominant 2-2 draw.
The eagerly awaited top of table clash produced a game of high drama with quality end to end hockey in front of a fantastic crowd of home supporters. There may have been a touch of frost in the air but it was Blueharts first touch that made the opposition look a bit under the weather.
Fantastic interceptions from Harriet Marsh, Jay Livermore, Ella Blackmore, Olivia Marsh, Anna Page and Sarah Baxter capitalised on attacking play across the pitch. After several attempts and strikes on goal it was Blueharts who took the lead with Ellie Walton picking up the keepers rebound to deftly put it away into the back of the net.
Sudbury responded putting the Blueharts defence through their paces and had their first chance to equalise when awarded a short corner.
Vicki Bidwell ran out like a rocket to diffuse the striker shot. The smash went towards the roof of the net so disallowed but was cleared in the air on the line by Nicky Sadler. 1-1 it was a fast paced game with both sides dishing the ball around the back, counter-attacking and having attempts on goal. Blueharts were unlucky not to score after shots ricocheted off both goal posts.
More drama occurred with Vicki unfortunately getting a ball in the face which required stiches.
Blueharts then went down to 10 players and Sudbury won another short. This time the visitors equalised with an unstoppable strike on goal.
Sudbury looked dangerous on the counter-attack and given too much space got through the defence to have a shot on goal. Kept out by Jess it was then a goal mouth scramble as to who could get hold of the ball first with Sudbury attackers and Blueharts defence piling in on the ball.
Awarded a penalty flick Sudbury scored putting them 2-1 up at half time. After a positive half-time talk, Blueharts knew they were still in this game looking the quicker and fitter team.
Blueharts were rewarded for their hard work after a fantastic pass from Carly Madders whizzed its way into the D for player of the match Marsh to magically connect with it at pace, cleverly lifting it over the keeper.
Definitely a contender for goal of the season.
With 2-2 and everything to play for Blueharts kept up the attacking drive and had the majority of the possession in the second half, playing on despite Sudbury’s physical challenges often being penalised with green or yellow cards.
Despite the dominance the scoreline stubbornly stayed 2-2 keeping the ladies firsts in the top three of East League Div 2SW.
The ladies second team went to Welwyn and took the lead with a Kate Chappell finish.
Welwyn began to feel an equaliser coming but keeper Louise Pillar was alert to the pacey forwards throwing herself in front of several efforts to keep the Blues in front.
Despite their best efforts the home side equalised before the break. Troubled by injuries Blueharts went down to ten players. The home side took advantage making it 4-1. Player of the match Lizzie Bayley tenacity helped win the ball with Tamzin Wright scoring to narrow the defeat to 4-2.
The ladies third team drew 2-2 with Letchworth. Goals from Sam Vaughan, Julie Buckland with Sophie Featherby voted player of the match.