Ben Rhydding Men 3 – Wakefield 2
Ben Rhydding kick of their campaign in Men’s Conference North with a hard fought victory against Wakefield
Report by Alfie Yates
Ben Rhydding started on the front foot, building momentum from the off. It took only a matter of minutes for Will Musgrave to open the account for the season, after a deflection to the edge of the D. The strike was hard and precise, giving the keeper no chance. One-nil almost became two moments later, but the ball caught a Ben Rhydding foot just before the goal line. Unfortunately, Wakefield then made it level in a fast move that saw the ball fly into the top left-hand corner. Rhydding were unfazed by this however and managed put themselves back into the lead just over two minutes before quarter-time, as Ross McMillan had a simple tap in past a bamboozled keeper left stranded on the spot.
Wakefield were able to apply pressure through the middle periods of the match, steadily accumulating a penalty corner count. But the best chance came on 22 minutes, when Ben Rhydding worked themselves into a shooting position, just right of center. A goal at this point could have prevented the ensuing pressure, yet it must be said how well the home team worked to keep themselves ahead. The score remained at 2-1 going into the final quarter and with the possession seemingly with the visitors the slender lead seemed vulnerable.
The nerves of the home supporters were settled within the very first minute of the final quarter, when Ben Rhydding’s Charlie Smith wonderfully finished off a 1-on-1 with the Wakefield keeper. The goal and passion in the celebration helped put an attacking confidence back into the team. A Wakefield goal 5 minutes later, after a few solid passes through the centre of the pitch seemed ominous and would have brought down the morale of most teams. But Rhydding again stuck at it and this time maintained more pressure of their own. Despite a lack of short corners Rhydding had more chances, and excluding the very last moments, can be said to have seen the game out in a very professional manner.
For coach, Demy Dowley, “this was a pleasing start to the National League campaign against difficult oposition and local rivals. It was a solid performance with the potential to improve.”
Ben Rhydding Women 1 – Bowdon 2
Report by Jodie Bridger
Ben Rhydding Women’s 1st Team welcomed Bowdon on the opening day of the England Hockey Vitality Women’s Hockey League. The visitors came close to securing promotion to the Premier League last season, so Rhydding were prepared for a tough start to the season.
The game started with Rhydding soaking up some early pressure from Bowdon. Rhydding Goal Keeper Charlotte Smith made several key saves to keep the score 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the 2nd quarter, Rhydding grew in confidence, building several phases of attack which culminated in some close chances that tested the Bowdon defence. The Bowdon opener came against the run of play when Rhydding were down to 10 players; a cool finish from the Bowdon forward put the visitors ahead.
Rhydding’s squad featured four National League debutants, who were fearless in face of experienced opposition. In the 3rd quarter, Rhydding had all the momentum and pushed hard for an equaliser. Defender Millie Jeavons connected well with midfielders Jess Purvis and Poppy Lawson, who exposed spaces in behind the Bowdon defence. It was debutants Marnie Scarchard and Lucy Laycock who connected to create the best chance of the game so far for the home side; Laycock narrowly missing the far post with a skilful reverse hit.
As Rhydding continued to push for an equaliser, Bowdon again caught the Rhydding defence off guard, as they scrambled the ball over the line to make it 2-0. From the re-start and with 10 minutes on the clock remaining, Rhydding were not deterred and were unlucky to not pull a goal back when a goal was disallowed from a short corner.
In the last minute of the game, Rhydding’s persistence was rewarded with a goal. Jess Triffitt (pictured below) hammered the ball home from the top of the D. Despite their determination to the final whistle, there wasn’t enough time for Rhydding to clinch the equaliser.
Coach Matt Birch said, “Against a potential title contending side, the team showed an unbelievable amount of grit and determination, continuing to push and dominate the final quarter, we were unlucky not to come away with points. I’m incredibly proud of the performance and yet we have so much exciting potential in our attack to come.”
Next week the women travel to Sutton Coldfield while the men are at Brooklands, with the next home fixtures form both teams on Saturday 8th October starting at 1.30pm.