Verde Recreo Men’s League
Central 1
Bridgwater 1, Mendip 3

THE belated return of competitive league hockey for the 2020/21 season pitted Bridgwater men’s 1st XI against a well-drilled Mendip side on Saturday, and it was the newly-promoted visitors who came away with the points.

In blustery conditions, both sides struggled to get an early foothold in the game, with no clear chances in the first 10 minutes.

Mendip started to dictate the tempo, however, forcing 1st XI debutant (and normal 2nd XI) goalkeeper Brad Palmer to pull off a string of good saves.

The last 10 minutes of the first half saw a good Bridgwater fightback, and despite not being at their best, they went into half time at 0-0 with a real sense that they could take the points.

The second half painted a picture similar to the first, but after 15 minutes the deadlock was broken and Mendip went 1-0 up.

Shortly afterwards, they scored their second goal from a short corner.

The hosts took the fight back to Mendip, but couldn’t quite forge any chances of their own, and against the run of play conceded their third.

The last 10 minutes saw a burst from Bridgwater, and Jordan Rawles bagged an impressive volley to snatch a goal back for his side, but there wasn’t enough time in the game for them to mount a comeback.

Player of the match: Brad Palmer

Central 2
Keynsham 11, Bridgwater A 1

THE newly promoted Bridgwater 2nd XI travelled away to face Keynsham, but due to major traffic, the side arrived a few minutes late.

The home side took full advantage of Bridgwater’s lack of a warm-up to pressure hard and take an early lead in the game.

Bridgwater fought back valiantly and winger Paul Bond managed to deflect a ball into the goal from the edge of the D to get his team back in it... but unfortunately for them, the first half ended with Keynsham ahead 7-1.

After a quick half-time talk from Rich Payne, Bridgwater attacked the second half with more conviction, holding their own with great defending from their back line and midfielder Dominic Court.

Unfortunately, it was too little, too late as Keynsham demonstrated just how strong they were as a team.

The final whistle came not soon enough for Bridgwater, with Keynsham 11-1 winners.

Bridgwater B made a flying start to their West Central 2 campaign, as they thrashed Firebrands E 11-2 on Saturday.

The hosts soon led, through Simon Burland, and he went on to complete his first hat-trick.

The message at half-time was simple: don’t change a thing, but put the chances away and get the game finished.

Soon the goals were flying in from all angles, with Burland finishing with six to his name, Conor Neal adding two and James Kettlewell, Ben Sims and Will Marchant Saunders getting one apiece.

Player of the match: Toby Knight

Bridgwater C have moved into a much tougher division this year, and they opened with a 6-0 defeat at Weston-super-Mare.

The defence of Alex McNeil, Dan Buller, Luke Otley and stand-in goalkeeper Graham Miller held firm for a while, as it remained 0-0 for a large portion of the game.

Much of this was down to Miller, who was making save after save, but once Weston got one from a short corner, they went on to rack up six.

Player of the match: Kristian West


West Club’s Women’s League
Central Division
Bridgwater 4, Taw Valley 0

BRIDGWATER women’s 1st XI made a gritty and determined start to their 2020 league campaign.

After a tight start, the hosts opened the scoring with an exceptional debut strike from Cheryl Notaro-Livingstone.

The Bridgwater defence consistently cleaned up any threats at the back with some solid work from keeper Amy Burridge and defenders Abbie Lewis, Laura Coles, Beth Cross and Charlie Lewis, allowing the home side to finish the first half 1-0 up.

In the second half, Bridgwater came out all guns blazing, but Taw Valley were defending well.

It took a short corner masterclass with some textbook work between Lucy Burridge, Sapphy Reed-Yang and Donna Cooper to seal the deal.

Cooper slotted the ball in for the second goal, and skipper Reed-Yang casually found the gap between the keeper and the defender to make it 3-0.

The final goal came from player of the match Lauren Morrish, assisted by Willow Hobbs, who launched the ball into the air allowing Morrish to expertly volley it home.

Bridgwater 2nds were beaten 8-0 away to Isca & Exeter University 5ths in Sedgemoor Division 1.

The visitors started strongly, passing the ball around well, and forwards Jess Shobbrook and Amber Ticthener tested the Isca keeper.

Some miscommunication saw Isca score their first, and Bridgwater switching off allowed the hosts to score two more.

The second half saw Bridgwater come out stronger, but they just couldn’t get the ball past the Isca keeper, while the home side counter-attacked well and put their chances away.

Player of the match: Abbie Stevens

The 3rd XI lost 5-0 at home to Gillingham 3rds in Wessex Division 2, as their opponents proved to be an experienced and skilled side.

Despite excellent defending from Lydia Helmsley, Linda Hay, Kashi Morrish and debutant Lucy Derrick, Bridgwater were 4-0 down at half-time, but they only conceded a fifth in the last 10 minutes of the game, having given a much improved display in the second half.