Round-up of the action from Bourne Deeping Hockey Club
Bourne Deeping Hockey Club’s season-long struggle to avoid relegation from Premier B of the East Region League appears to have finally ended in failure.
A 1-0 home loss to fellow strugglers Upminster last weekend looks to have put survival out of the reach of the Dragons.
They visit 10th-placed Waltham Forest on Saturday knowing that they have a significant points gap to make up having already played more games than rival teams.
The second-from-bottom Dragons started Saturday’s game positively and were by far the better team in the first half.
Most of their control stemmed from their ability to create and exploit space down the right-hand side but, as has so often been the case this season, they failed to convert any chances and the game was goalless at the halfway point.
Upminster regrouped well and began the second half aggressively, pressing the home team high up the pitch and preventing the ball reaching the dangerous right hand side.
Their change of approach paid off when, with 20 minutes remaining, their most influential midfielder received the ball with his back to goal before turning well and firing a shot into the backboard.
The Dragons tried to chase the game but found any momentum spoiled by persistent cynical fouls which went unpunished and therefore continued unabated to the final whistle.
Unable to sustain any pressure, the Dragons slipped to a costly defeat. The only silver lining to a dark cloud is that Upminster will, despite this victory, in all likelihood find themselves relegated alongside their unfortunate hosts.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Bourne Deeping 2nds are officially off the bottom of the Division 3NW table after a 4-1 victory against Ely City on Saturday.
The game was preceded by a minute silence to honour the memory of Chris Purllant, an Ely stalwart who had also represented Market Deeping.
A tough and skilful competitor who played the game in the right spirit, Chris was well respected and admired by team-mates and opponents alike.
The two clubs have always enjoyed a mutual camaraderie and respect and this game was played true to form, hard fought but full of respect between the players of both sides.
Ely took the lead with a penalty corner, slipped right and lifted over the onrushing Portlock high into the side netting as Bourne Deeping struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Despite the poor start by the away side, Hugo Brill was outstanding on the left, likewise Alex Hutton on the right, but the equaliser when it came had more than a fair slice of fortune.
Graham Brewer drove into the Ely D and his cut back from the baseline was deflected past the goalkeeper by a defender’s stick to put the sides back on level terms.
Both teams had chances to take the lead with goalkeepers at each end being called upon to make key saves to keep the scores level.
It was youngster Connor Gosnell, in only his second start for the Bourne Deeping 2nds, who broke the deadlock just before half time, somehow latching onto a fantastic through ball from the quick thinking Treve Wagstaff before weaving his way along the baseline and jamming the ball into the goal between post and goalkeeper.
A rare half-time lead saw the Dragons determined to hold onto their spoils and Callum Howitt in the midfield set about increasing their advantage.
He was heavily involved in the build up as Gosnell grabbed another from close range after more great work from Howitt and Hutton.
As the second half wore on it was Ely who bossed the possession stats, but in front of Portlock, the ever-reliable Andy Briault and his new apprentice Joe Garner made sure they mopped up whatever came their way.
They certainly got their share of defensive penalty corner practice as they put their bodies in the way to keep the Ely shots out.
With Howitt launching counter attacks from the midfield, Bourne Deeping extended their lead with a great counter attack from Brill and Moisey which was finished off by Max Etherington scoring his first goal in only his third game for the club following his January transfer.
Bourne Deeping 4ths felt the final margin of a 6-2 defeat against March 2nds on Saturday was harsh on the Division 5NW side.
After absorbing a strong opening spell from the visitors, where a lead was established after converting a drag flick from a penalty corner, Bourne Deeping got a foothold in the match.
Chorlton led the line up front, ably supported by Waters and Gatward-Clarke, as they excerpted waves of pressure which was ultimately rewarded with several short corners.
Richard Baker got his name on the scoresheet for the first time this season having sweetly struck a direct shot from the top of the D from one of those short corners.
Other chances came and went from open play and on balance a 1-1 half-time scoreline was a fair reflection of play.
Knowing that avoiding giving away short corners was the key to staying in the match, Bourne Deeping failed to apply the game plan and the visiting team converted another three from short corners, including another drag flick.
Notable stints at the back from Will Armitage and Baker, pushing ever forward in pursuit of trying to re-balance the score, couldn’t stop further goals from open play from March who ran out worthy winners.
There were plenty of quality moments from Bourne Deeping though and opportunities on goal that could have been taken.
Bourne Deeping Ladies produced a spirited display to draw 2-2 with Pelicans.
Having been narrowly tamed 1-0 by the visitors when the two teams met in November in King’s Lynn, the Dragons looked to even the scores as the team began an early dominant spell of possession.
Their doggedness was rewarded early on in the first half thanks to a brilliant initial display of passing on the left side from Alice Brooks, Helena Darragh and Sophie Brittan.
After advancing the ball deep into opposition territory, Brittan eased her way around two defenders before executing a near-perfect pass across the goal to the waiting stick of Sara Walters-Morgan who eased the ball past the keeper.
The match continued in that vein for the next 10 minutes until a slight lapse in communication left an unmarked Pelicans player able to get away their first shot of the afternoon with the strike good enough to get by goalkeeper Laura Kemp.
Undeterred, Bourne Deeping continued to pile on pressure but were unable to convert from two short corner opportunities as the Pelicans held firm against shots from Brittan, Walters-Morgan and Naomi Smith, who made her long-awaited return from injury with a player of the match performance in midfield.
The final piece of action came after a few brilliant tackles from captain Kerry Fisher, when a quick-thinking interception from Lucy Norman led to a breakaway chance and left the Pelicans scrambling to get back in to position.
It would have undoubtedly been a contender for goal of the season if she had managed to put it away, but the opposition goalkeeper held firm, stopping the Dragons from moving in front for a second time before the end of the first half.
Buoyed up by that late run and a motivating half-time team talk, it didn’t take long for Bourne Deeping to regain control of the match and earn their first chance.
After a well-worked piece of play from Rachel Gale and Emily Murray, they earned another long-corner where Smith crossed the ball to Brittan, who lifted her arms triumphantly in celebration, convinced the Dragons had earned their second goal.
A moment of confusion followed as play was allowed to carry on and the umpire quickly concluded he had been unable to see a definitive goal.
It was a disheartening moment, but the Dragons remained determined and less than five minutes later Sue Oakley found the stick of Smith who collected the ball on her reverse and reflexively pushed it in to the goal before the keeper even saw it coming.
Unfortunately, the lead wasn’t to last as, with just over 10 minutes left in the second half, the Pelicans were awarded a penalty corner for a foot and they seized their opportunity to equalise as the home team let their lead slip for a second time.
The injector found her mark at the top of the D, but so did Dragons defender Camilla Tait who stopped the initial strike at target before losing her stick to the impact and the resulting rebound shot found its way under the foot of Kemp.
With the scores at 2-2, the Dragons reasserted their control over the game for the final minutes, but two penalty corner attempts went by without reward nd late bursts from Carol Murray and Fisher earned more chances in the Pelicans half until they suffered the same fate.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 3rds were faced with blustery winds and sleet pelting into their faces as they went down to a 3-1 loss against their Spalding counterparts.
Spalding came out strongly and after several attempts managed to roll the ball to a player on the back post who knocked it in for a 1-0 lead.
Riding on the back of the first goal, Spalding bobbed and weaved through the Dragons and managed to double their lead.
Refusing to be defeated, the Dragons shrugged off these constant attacks and, working from the back, Jo Morgan-Walters, Nancy Simmons and Bobby Brooks passed the ball to Zosia Jasinska, Vicky Edwards and Lucy Cowell.
The Dragons then pushed the ball up to Kiera Maxey, Amy Webster, Christi King and Emma Cowell with Kat Kennedy, Sharon Cowell and Katie Anderson hoping to get something from all the hard work.
A glimmer of opportunity was seized as a ball was crossed into the Spalding D and Emma Cowell collected it and put it into the backboard.
Despite conceding, Spalding wanted more goals and managed to slip one through the defence to lead 3-1 at the break.
With a change in the line-up, the Dragons were not going to go down without a fight and solid defending and fine save from goalkeeper Eliana Russo provented Spalding from increasing their advantage.
More by this authorJames Bedford