Round-up of all the action from Bourne Deeping Hockey Club
A new-look Bourne Deeping first and second team squad ran out 2-1 winners in their first friendly of the season at Long Sutton on Saturday.
Despite an understandably nervy opening which saw Long Sutton squander a glorious opportunity when clean through on Langley, the defence soon settled under the calm, assured presence of new boy Neil Baldwin at centre back.
Scott Downie and Andrew Kind soon asserted their dominance in the centre of the pitch, providing a platform for the rest of the team.
The returning Matty Clarkson was up to his wily old tricks down the left and Callum Howitt was providing the attacking drive through the middle.
Long Sutton just about edged the first of three 20-minute periods, creating a couple of great opportunities, and the Dragons were indebted to Langley for his superb right pad save to keep the scores level before Bourne Deeping snatched the lead with their first penalty corner of the game with just moments remaining in the period.
Downie deliberately bobbled his slap out to Ryan Mason who used the bouncing bomb perfectly to baffle the number one runner and jink the ball onto his reverse for the first goal.
Long Sutton tried to step it up a gear in response but just couldn’t find a way past the central wedge of Howitt, Downie and Kind.
Oscar Morely, Roddy Mountain and Joe Garner were defending with great composure while the second period saw the younger players really come into their own.
Hugo Brill ran his socks off down the left in both attack and defence, in true D-to-D hockey, one minute flashing a reverse stick shot into the side netting, the next making a key interception in his own area.
Charlie Riddington and Alex Hutton provided the same energy down the right hand side, linking well with Ben Brittain and Tom Everton up front while also chasing and harrying the opposition, not allowing them to settle for a moment.
Long Sutton did pull a goal back when a penalty corner of their own was well saved by Adi Portlock, (taking over from Langley in goal), with the rebound hammered high past Baldwin and Downie on the line.
But this new team showed they have character and resolve to regain the lead through Tom Everton, latching on to a great through ball and simply smashing the ball past the onrushing keeper.
The second interval saw a call to keep the shape and discipline as fatigue saw gaps beginning to appear, but a combination of composure on the ball, solid decision making, and excellent work rate gave Long Sutton no way back into this contest as Bourne Deeping took the win.
It was a positive start for the Dragons and creates and a great platform to build on this season.
With a broad depth of ability through the squad ageing from 13 to 48-years-old, the Dragons third team started strongly by matching hosts Long Sutton with attacking intent.
Warning signs were apparent though and Joe Ashby kept the scores level with some good early saves.
The defensive line was marshalled by Briault with Jackson, Purlant and Foston resilient which enabled Bourne Deeping to attack using both widths through Ethan Edwards and Mike Allam giving Mac Gatward-Clarke and Joseph Moisey the chance to create chances at the other end and keep the defence under pressure.
Unfortunately they could not convert the chances with Pete Moisey and Mike Allam going close from both open play and penalty corners.
As often happens the failure to convert was punished as Long Sutton opened their account albeit through an attempted cross finding its way into the net.
The changes were going to be vital as the midfield attempted to stem the tide.
The dependable Paul Blackler took over in both defence and midfield while the return of Ryan Bennett showed hustle and pace and Edward Moisey showed his promise both in linking up, defending and also with the pass of the match which was almost converted.
If there is one thing to take away, other than fitness in the latter stages where two more goals were conceded, it is retaining possession and decision-making when trying to force forward play.
Joe Ashby was close to making a save from a penalty flick and made a number of fine stops and it was pleasing to see the team give everything to the cause until the final whistle.
After a long lay-off, a combination of fourth and fifth team players shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw with Long Sutton.
Aaron Waters, preparing to depart for university, showed his tenacity and desire and was rewarded with his parting gift to the club of the opening goal.
Richard Gray then stole the show when his trademark reverse stick paid off for the first time in two seasons as he rocked the goal with Bourne Deeping's second of the afternoon.
After being pegged back from the 2-0 lead, the Dragons dug in and Stewart Dacre added an attacking instinct from a penalty corner to edge the visitors ahead again.
It looked as though they might hang on, but a penalty corner on the final whistle was to spoil the party temporarily as the team reflected on what had been a very promising performance.
The experience in the club is vital to enable the emerging talent to develop and Phipps, Wilmot, Knipe, Taylor, Hotchkin, Dacre and Matthews were the perfect platform for Ethan Foster, Charlie Butler, Harry Wakeham (also departing for university) and Lewis Gray.
Bourne Deeping Ladies' mixed squad of second and third team players were edged out by a solitary strike for the second successive week on Saturday.
The Dragons had been defeated by a one-goal in their friendly against Kettering last weekend and Saturday's home clash with Huntingdon had a similar outcome.
They started on the offensive with Sara Morgan-Walters, Josie Criddle, Penny Linsdell, Daisy Moon and Christi King working to put the Dragons on the scoreboard, but Huntingdon's defence and keeper worked feverishly to stop that from coming to fruition.
Turning the tables, Huntingdon raced to the Dragons goal but keeper Alex Parker kept them at bay.
The defensive line-up of Jo Morgan-Walters, Rachel Portlock, Ellie Langman, Isia Jasińska and Kay Greenaway worked tirelessly to hold off the Huntingdon attacks and passed the ball up the pitch.
Vicky Edwards, Alessia Russo, Keira Maxey, Libby Moore and Katie Anderson were strong in midfield, but the Dragons just couldn't get the ball past the Huntingdon keeper.
And, on a break, Huntingdon managed to slip a ball past the Dragons and into the goal to take the lead before half-time.
Huntingdon came out in the second half eager for another goal but Elizabeth Nunn, Lauren Edwards, Emma Cowell and Sian Manzur stopped their advances.
The Dragons also went on the offensive with some great runs up the sides by Libby Moore and Penny Linsdell.
Despite their thirst for a goal and close calls, the Dragons were unable to seal the deal as Huntingdon held on for victory.
The Dragons are back in friendly action this weekend with the home matches seeing the ladies firsts host Horncastle, the men's first team tackle Shefford and Sandy while the men's third team entertain Kettering.
The men's fourth team are making the trip to Horncastle while the ladies thirds visit Newark.
All new members are welcome at the Bourne Deeping Hockey Club. Please visit the website for further information www.pitchero.com/clubs/bdhc or the club's Facebook page.
Training nights for the ladies are at Arthur Mellows Village College in Glinton on Monday evenings from 7-9pm. Men’s training is on Wednesday nights from 7.15-8.45pm at Stamford Junior School in Kettering Road. Mixed sessions are on Thursday at AMVC from 7-9pm.
Senior sessions are for ages 13 and above. All Covid measures are being enforced by England Hockey and track and trace are in place.
Bourne Deeping juniors start from the age of five-years-old at AMVC on Saturdays from 9-10.20am. Email email@example.com for further information or to book.