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Archive For 'February, 2013'

Stroud M2 Consolidate their Second Spot

25 February 2013 at 09:52

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, consolidated their second position in the table with a hard-fought 5-2 victory over hard-hitting Gloucester B on Saturday.  They started in a workmanlike fashion and were 2-0 up within 20 minutes, Craig Wathen starting the ball rolling with a classy solo run and finsih.  The visitors clawed a goal back and a nervous few minutes had to be overcome, the previous 7-6 victorious encounter still fresh in the minds.  Ben Orme got on the scoresheet, as did Nick Hitchcroft from a short corner.  Rob Fynn sauntered up from sweeper to force the ball over the line late into the second half.  Stroud needed to keep their wits about them throughout the match.  This they did, and with Lansdown A losing, Stroud are now securely ensconced in second spot, 4 points needed from the last 3 games to guarantee that position.

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Ladies hold their 'Top of League' position

23 February 2013 at 14:34

Stroud took the match by the scruff of the neck and came out determined to maintain their winning form.  There were numerous shots on goal and the visitors were unlucky during the first half not to bag a goal.  Stroud’s defence remained solid and held up the Blockley attack that had only one direct shot on goal, neatly defended by keeper Ali Breddy.  The second half saw the Stroud team apply even more pressure.  Some great work by Candice Johnson & Hannah Scott on the righthand side of the pitch saw the ball moved accurately and swiftly across the D onto the stick of Sandra Glass whose great precision placed the ball in the net.  The Stroud side was relieved to have scored in the last 20 minutes of the game and they remain undefeated at the top of the division.  Players of the match were Kathy Williams and Steph Woodward.

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Stroud M2 Cruise to Victory

18 February 2013 at 09:28

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, produced a calm, collected, yet ebullient performance on Saturday as they demolished Lydney at home.  The die was cast within 4 minutes of the start as they went 2-0 up through Craig Wathen and Ben Orme.  Despite Stroud controlling the game, Lydney got a goal back shortly afterwards with a perfect strike into the far corner, Stroud keeper Craig Breddy getting his only touch of the ball, retrieving it from inside the goal.  Prolonged periods of Stroud possession were delights to see.  Patient build-ups produced some neat attacking moves.  The ball was transferred flank to flank, forwards to backs at times, Lydney simply not getting a sniff of the ball.  Several short corners were won and Stroud benefitted from these.  Wathen completed his hat trick before half time.  Starting the second half the way they finished the first, Stroud pushed forward, right back, Rob Waite, overlapping Tim Norman at right midfield, confident in Ian Gill and Barney Franklin’s ability at the heart of defence.  Scott Patient and Tom Sharpe were assured in the middle, swapping roles as attacking or defending centre mids as required.  Matt Watts fed Tom Freer up the left flank, leaving Wathen and Orme to roam free up front.  As the ball was held up nicely, so the midfield pushed through to support.  Only on the odd occasion was there a disconnect and Stroud’s shape was good.  Norman pounced on a partially-cleared short corner strike to make it 5, before Sharpe scored Stroud’s 6th.  Lydney’s goalkeeper was then yellow-carded for a challenge and red-carded for subsequent foul language ; a disappointing example for the visitors younger players.  With the visitors playing without a keeper, Stroud were on easy street and Orme rounded the last defender to score his second with Sharpe getting another to complete an 8-1 victory.

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Beleagured Stroud M1 Narrowly Beaten

18 February 2013 at 09:26

A depleted Ecotricity-sponsored Men’s 1st XI were narrowly edged out in a close-fought battle against Wotton on Sunday.  Everybody worked really hard and Stroud arguably played the better hockey on the day.  Luck was not on their side, however, Dom Creech breaking a finger after 10 minutes, Matt Pearce hurting his knee after 15 minutes and Rich Fynn up-ended in the second half to stunt his speed to half-pace.  Stroud passed the ball around smartly at times, Nick Batten and Andy Murray creating a sound defensive line with part of the visitors’ carpet of Matts, Mr Watts.  The injury to Pearce meant nigh-50-year-old Tim Norman moving back to left midfield, while Rob Fynn occupied the unusual position of centre forward, offering himself as a virtual bounce-board up front.  Matt Williams and Rich Fynn buzzed around in midfield, Matt Waite and Tom Sharpe providing the pivot at the back of midfield.  Stroud’s keen attitude won them several short corners, but Rich Fynn’s drag flicks were ably dispatched by the defender on Wotton’s right post.  Having gone one down, Stroud equalised when Rich Fynn’s short corner strike was struck low to his left.  It was end-to-end stuff, particularly in the second half, and Kev Sinden did himself proud in the Stroud goal.  As Stroud’s injuries became more of an issue, a re-shuffling saw Rob Fynn move back into defence and Pearce leave the field reducing them to 10.  Still Stroud pushed, even when they went behind again.  Desperate to squeeze at least a point out of the game, Stroud pushed to the last.  The last gasp short corner saw them go close but they just failed to grasp the equalizer in the dying moments.  This was a gutsy display from Stroud, showing they still have the will to stay up.  More of the same is needed next weekend as they once again have 2 matches, this time both at home.

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10-Man Stroud M2 Take the Big Win

11 February 2013 at 09:20

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, travelled to the Herefordshire town of Leominster on Saturday, knowing they had the bare eleven players.  One of those 11 players failed to materialise, however, leaving Stroud the unenviable task of facing an opposition with 5 substitutes.  Pragmatic to the last, the visitors were looking for the win and sorted their formation to suit the predicament.  Benny-no-mates Orme was hung out to dry as lone striker, while Dom Creech relinquished his chance to spearhead the attack, instead taking up residence at left back.  Despite the extra player, the home side found it difficult to make it count.  Stroud’s insistence that Leominster’s wide players not be given room to manoeuvre was a key ploy.  Their shape was held and possession when it came held in high esteem.  An early short corner awarded to Leominster found a defender’s foot and was deemed to stop a certain goal.  Last week’s man-of-the-match, Craig Breddy, set the tone for the rest of the match, going down to his right to save the resultant penalty flick.  Buoyed by this, Nick Hitchcroft, Tom Sharpe, Rob Gleed and Tim Norman relaxed into their midfield roles, passing the ball around in a controlled manner.  Sensibly, Stroud chose not to over-exert themselves with long runs, preferring the passing and support play option.  Orme’s strong running earned a short corner and captain Gleed smashed the ball into the left corner to give the visitors the lead.  Good marking kept the home side at bay and a strong move down the left flank left Gleed to cross the ball for unmarked right back Ben Drury to pick up and plant in Leominster’s goal for a 2-0 lead.  Leominster must have felt this unlikely, whereas Stroud knew they were out to win.  As the home side struggled to string attacks together, Matt Watts and Ian Gill made light work of defending at times, before Hitchcroft tangled with Leominster forward.  Whatever really happened, both players were sin-binned for the rest of the half.  Whether this hindered or helped Stroud’s cause was a matter of debate.  Nevertheless, Orme’s relentless exuberance earned him the man-of-the-match award.  At times he simply needed to hold up the ball, but at others he kept possession by going forward.  Either way, Sharpe was given time to follow up in support.  As the game progressed through its second period, 10-man Stroud actually appeared to have more space available.  Their insistence to build-up their attacks, rather than adopt route-one hockey, paid dividends.  Occasionally, Gill at the back was drawn into shelling the ball to safety, but sensible hockey frustrated Leominster.  Good defending kept them at bay, Breddy dictating the defenders’ positions to ensure nobody left a free man and making several sharp save to boot.  As Gleed channelled, Sharpe and Hitchcroft frustrated.  Norman and Drury marshalled and snuffed out Leominster’s left side of midfield, also giving a potent attacking force when the opportunity arose.  Stroud were on their game and up for the win.  Norman earned a free hit near the 25 and quickly took it to the attentive Orme, whose cross was controlled by Sharpe.  Having taken the ball neatly round the keeper, he flicked the ball home for 3-0.  With less than 15 minutes left on the clock, Stroud were able to relax a little – maybe not so much that you would have noticed, though.  The pressure had eased and everyone pushed up a little more as Leominster battled their own demons as well as the visiting team.  Creech asked to go forward and did so, to be rewarded with Stroud’s 4th goal from all of 12 inches away !  That was the icing on the cake.  Stroud came away with, perhaps, an unlikely 3 points, but they were without a shadow of doubt the better side and thoroughly deserved the win.

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Jubilant Stroud Ladies 1st Team Take 3 Points

10 February 2013 at 21:02

Stroud Ladies 1st XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, managed a 1-0 win against local team, Dursley. In an evenly-matched game, both teams pushed for the first goal from the off.  Stroud were unfortunate not to turn their attacks into goals, whilst their defence was able to keep Dursley at bay with some fantastic work by Becky Stevens, Katherine Stevens, Jade O'Connell and Sarah Tudor.
At half time, Stroud were down to the bare eleven as Debbie Ratcliffe was unfortunate to take a stick to the hand, causing a fractured thumb.  All members of the team kept going, however, for that all important goal.
Multiple attacks were instigated by midfield and forwards - it started to feel like Stroud might just have the edge over Dursley.  With ten minutes to go, a lovely cross into the D by Kyishia Cook was caught on the reverse by Angharad Roberts and slotted neatly into the far right corner of the goal.  After this, Stroud needed some composure and not give away possession.  Some well-defended short corners were followed by some great drives up the pitch and a jubilant Stroud gained three points to stay mid-table.

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Cracking Top of the Table Draw

05 February 2013 at 12:37

Stroud Men’s 2nd XI, sponsored by Ecotricity, had a busy weekend, hosting division leaders, Hereford, on Sunday.  This match was an altogether different affair to Saturday's.  Without doubt, Hereford are the best side Stroud have played this season and the contest was worthy of its top-of-the-table clash billing.  In the early flurries, both sides moved the ball quickly and accurately.  Stroud missed the opportunity to go one up when a penalty stroke went wide, but they were undeterred.  Some sensible midfield play and possession-keeping involving Nick Hitchcroft, Andy Murray and Steve Shipp gave Stroud a slight edge in the highly competitive atmosphere.  Craig Breddy was forced to make many telling saves, his performance deservedly rewarded with the man-of-the-match award for sublimety, or should that be sublimeness or subliminality (ask him).  Captain Rob Gleed felt Hereford’s opening goal was against the run of play, but in such a close encounter, that was a difficult call to make.  Nonetheless, Stroud continued to work really hard, Tom Sharpe, Dom Creech and Tim Norman sharing duties at the front.  Some great movement gave Hereford’s defence problems.  Several short corners were won, Gleed converting one to bring the game back all square.  In the ascendance, Stroud piled on the pressure, Tom Freer making several incisive runs down the right.  A side-line ball from Hitchcroft was well-supported and some interplay in the midfield gave Sharpe an opportunity down the left.  His cracking accurate cross was met by Norman to put the home side ahead.  Rob Waite came on at right wing and his running intensified the Stroud attack.  A long ball left to right corner found him and his cross was deflected dangerously by a defender’s stick.  The tension could be felt all around the pitch as the resultant Gleed short corner strike was rightly judged a few inches too high to count.  With minutes remaining, the visitors were awarded a short corner from which they equalised, setting up a nail-biting finale.  Ian Gill, Matt Watts and Ben Drury held firm at the back, releasing the midfield and forwards in a last ditch effort to keep Stroud’s title hopes alive.  The game was over, however, and Stroud’s valiant display earned them a draw when the win was required to topple the leaders.  Stroud should be very proud, nonetheless, for their part in a cracking game of hockey.

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M2 Take Comfortable 3 Points

04 February 2013 at 09:40

Stroud started Saturday’s match with one eye on Sunday’s top-of-table clash and, despite taking an early lead through a Ben Orme short corner strike, allowed Lansdown back into the game against the run of play, much as they had done against Cleevillians the week beforehand.  Before half time, Stroud’s pressure build-up paid off as they went ahead once more, Tom Sharpe scoring.  A few moments of worry in the second half were enough to keep the home side’s defence occupied, but Stroud were the better side.  Although their passing play has been better, plenty of movement ensure they had control of the match.  Another short corner strike from Orme and an open play goal from Sharpe meant Stroud took the 3 points available

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Badgers Shine Once Again

04 February 2013 at 09:39

Stroud U16 Badgers yet again gave a strong performance in an entertaining match against Cheltenham on Saturday.  Although not quite reaching the heights of recent weeks, their teamwork showed improvement in this end-to-end contest.  Jed Stening and Jack Thompson had fine games, their pace and skills on the flanks working wonders, whilst Ed Golding was solid as a rock in defence.  Team: Hamish Norman (captain), Danny Sopp, Alex Richards, Ed Golding, Bryn Nicol (GK), Zac Knight, James Testar, Jed Stening, Jack Thompson, Elliot Bonham, Andrew Reader, Joe Freer  and Seb Wathen.

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Sun Shines on L2

04 February 2013 at 09:37

What a beautiful day for a hockey match - blue skies, warm sunshine and a slight chill in the air.  The sun was certainly shining on Ecotricity-sponsored Stroud Ladies’ 2nd XI who beat Newent 10-0.  Their dominance of the game was never in doubt. Sandra Glass opened the scoring with a strong goal from open play after a lovely cross by Claire Crosthwaite.  Kathy Williams wasted no time making the most of the first short corner of the match, powering the ball straight in to make it 2-0.  The third goal was from open play, Crosthwaite making it look easy.  Nic Kelly-Davies scored the fourth from open play and followed it up minutes later with a goal from a long corner.  Sian Freer made it 5-0 before half time, with a great strike from the top of the D.
Kelly-Davies got the second half scoring underway.  Well-positioned to receive a long pass, she found the goal for her hat trick.  Stroud’s defence not only protected their goal but also worked hard further up the pitch.  Steph Woodward even had a strike on goal.  It rebounded and was picked up by Victoria Sharpe who deftly deposited it into the goal.  A run of short corners towards the end of the match gave Stroud the chance to practice their routine.  Twice Sandra Glass found the goal, making it a hat trick for Stroud’s most capped forward, and this week’s player of the match.

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