Match Report ~ BAC 2nds 3 – 2 Westberries 4ths

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It was early morning, the pitch was quiet, calm and dimly lit as the sun struggled to push through the thick, slow clouds. The morning dew barely able to glisten.  In the car park 3 figures stood patiently, hands in pockets, shuffling from side to side in an attempt to evade the cold air which surrounded them.

The peace was broken by a car slowly entering the car park.  It pulled into a bay and stopped, it’s driver was reluctant to emerge into the grayness.   She meekly opened the door, turned side on and whilst still seated placed her feet on the ground. This solitary figure clung to her hot takeaway drink seeking some comfort from the early chill and an inner pain.  The weary maiden’s sigh was the only sound and attracted the 3 figures yards away. They approached the lonely girl and uttered the gentle words….

“Ceri, you look rough!”

Well it wouldn’t be a BAC2 match if we weren’t nursing at least one hangover.  From that point a steady stream of players arrived and at 10am, a half hour before the starting whistle, the whole team started their warm-ups.  There were a couple of supporters left confused by this as the “30 minutes to go” point has typically been characterised this season by chatting.  The mood among the team was calm, thoughtful and of quiet confidence.

During our stretches the opposition, the Westberries 4, turned up.  Last week we tied against their 3rd team and perhaps this was the source of our confidence.  The Westberries 4 warm-ups were something so far unseen by this hockey fan, it was choreographed.   They split into 2 lines and skipped towards and through each other before turning and doing the same again, with hankies they’d have resembled Morris Dancers.  Next came lunges similar to an All Blacks haka.  I was mesmerised, Len Goodman would have scored them well but the BAC2 players didn’t seem to notice or care for the teamwork and coordination of their opponents.

The prematch chats, warm-ups and theatrics over, there was time for a quick downpour to make everything and everyone quite wet and then it was onto the field for the starting whistle.

The match started with a quick pace and lots of end to end play.  Hammy demonstrated great skills with a half pitch run taking the ball around three Westberries 4 players.  Unfortunately Westberries 4 were the first to cheer as they took the ball into the BAC2 D and scored an early goal.  BAC2 0 – Westberries4 1.

Westberries 4 were now looking upbeat and confident and were quickly dominating BAC2 in the D.  A short was awarded to Westberries 4 and had to be retaken after Carrie flew out of the goal too early.  The retake was wasted by Westberries 4 but they kept piling on the pressure.

BAC2 finally managed to compose themselves and took the ball up the field winning a short, then a 2nd and a 3rd, all wasted.  A long period of end to end play followed.  Westberries 4 kept pushing BAC2 back with a series of long balls, BAC2 would respond with Hammy and Ali working a series of runs on goal flicking the ball back and forth to each other to avoid the defenders.  Their great efforts each time thwarted by a greater Westberries 4 goalie.

Eventually BAC2 efforts were rewarded when Ned equalised from a short.  2 of the BAC2 supporters immediately celebrated with a Mexican wave which resembled children trying to defend themselves from a wasp.  BAC2 1 – Westberries4 1.

BAC2 now looked the side full of confidence and started to hammer the ball up the field but more often into the shins and thighs of the Westberries 4 players.  As we learnt from last weeks match, you can hit and hit a Westberries player but they just won’t go down.

The half time whistle blew with the score at 1 all.

Back on the pitch for the second half and Westberries 4 seemed hyped up.  They were playing like a team who were possessed.  Thanks to a quick interception and fast break, BAC2 got up into the Westberries 4 D and an own goal put BAC2 in the lead.  BAC2 2 – Westberries4 1.

Using the momentum BAC2 were quickly back in the Westberries 4 D and a series of shots were well saved by the Westberries 4 defense, the ball went skyward and landed on top of the net.

 

More action in the Westberries 4 D followed during which Ali slipped and hit the deck, she limped off.  BAC2 continued to drive into the Westberries 4 end and earned a short, it was cleared by the defense   A second short was given to BAC2 and Carrie slammed it home to make the score BAC2 3 – Westberries4 1.  The supporters were more organised now and 4 of them managed a half decent Mexican wave in celebration.

Westberries 4 were looking tired and Hammy found loads of space to receive a long ball and take a shot at an open Westberries 4 goal.  The angle was tight and the ball went wide.  With 10 minutes to go BAC2 eased off the gas a little and Westberries 4 took the initiative, a quick run and faster shot saw the score change to BAC2 3 – Westberries4 2. </p>

A serious fightback from Westberries 4 followed and they spent an uncomfortable amount of time in the BAC2 D.  Great work from the BAC2 defense kept the ball out and with 2 minutes to go a hard ball to the ribs of a Westberries 4 player knocked the wind out of them literally and metaphorically.

The final whistle signaled a 3 – 2 win for BAC2 and also another downpour to finish how we started, wet.

Back at the Parkway the teas were sausages, beans and chips.  A Westberries 4 player approached the BAC2 table and commented that in her teams opinion, it was a close call between BAC and Lydney, but BAC had the best teas in the league.  As I tweeted the comment, we all knew deep down that somewhere in Wootten Basset, Andrew was shedding a tear of pride.

The final act of the match was to nominate and name the player of the match, those nominated were Ali, Jackie, Carrie, Ceri, Lou, Ned and Trixi.  It was a 3 way tie and the winners were Trixi, Lou and Ceri.  The spread of nominations highlighted the great team effort.

Next match Lydney, let’s see how good their teas really are.

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