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Archive for the 'Mens 3XI' Category


22 October 2017 at 18:59

WSWHL The Marches 1 League (sponsored by Go Cre8 Hockey Camps)

 Brian storm might have been raging strong but Stroud 3XI (sponsored by Connexus) travelled with hopes held high, despite only mustering 9 men. These were quickly dashed in the first 10 minutes when Hereford put 3 past Stroud, however Stroud did manage to pull one back when some slick passing and moving allowed Alex Elder to slam home past the Hereford kicking back. Stroud managed to batten down the hatches and some resolute defending by Chris Bargh and Harvey Freer, and great goal keeping by Reuben Dodd, enabled Stroud to go in at the break with some confidence in knowing that it could be closer than the score line suggested. After a whirlwind first 10 minutes of the second half, Hereford grabbed an early settler but undeterred Stroud managed to grab one back through Dom Creech who poked home a reverse stick sweep into an empty net. Hereford capitalised from a “unique” and controversial short corner routine but Stroud bounced right back, this time, captain Chris Bargh hustled the ball just outside of his own D and went on a rampaging run, giving a 1-2 with Danny Rose-Innes before shuffling the ball to Dom Creech who squared for Tim Norman to reverse sweep through a crowded goal mouth into the back board. Hereford’s final goal should not have stood as the umpire missed a blatant stick tackle in the build-up allowing them to dribble the ball over the line.  At the final whistle the comradery shown by Stroud was commendable in the face of such adversary and next week they play at home (Stratford Park) to Cirencester A in the hope they can grab points that they fully deserve.

 Currently Stroud 3XI sit 5th in the league with 2 wins, 0 draws, 2 loses, 0 goal difference and 6 points, which, after being promoted, is a great testament to the skill, team work and passion shown by all involved.

 MOTM: Reuben Dodd

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M3 Rise from the Depths

08 October 2017 at 20:57

Stroud Men’s 3rd XI, sponsored by Connexus, produced a tremendous mixture of panache and bravado as they almost claimed an unlikely point after trailing 4:0 with 20 minutes to go.  Against one of the stronger sides in Marches Division 1, Stroud were always going to find life difficult.  The visitors’ athleticism and well-drilled formation was evident from the start, and they almost found the net with the first move of the game.  The Stroud forward line barely touched the ball for 10 minutes and, despite weathering a veritable storm, Stroud finally succumbed to the pressure.  Reuben Dodd in goal was understandably busy but made some fantastic saves, his confidence going up game by game.  Wotton’s exuberance got the better of them on several occasions and two goals were disallowed for fouls on the keeper. The home side’s work rate, however, was impeccable and Stroud created several opportunities to pull a goal back.  With Wotton still in the ascendance, half time could not come quick enough and Stroud went into the interval 3:0 down.

Determined to finish the match having competed to the best of their abilities, Stroud’s players buckled down and started to produce some more productive hockey.  They could not stop Wotton from extending their lead to 4:0 before they really came alive.  Perhaps it was the realisation that they had nothing to lose, other than the game, of course, but Stroud’s forwards, Tim Norman and Dom Creech, began to stretch Wotton’s defence with wider and more penetrating runs.  Bruce Rowland and Calum Norman took more control in centre midfield and this spurred on the gradually more invasive wide players, Louis Scott, Ollie Roberts and Dan Rose-Innes.  When Nigel Sherwood arrived at left mid, he found extra space, or so it appeared.  As Stroud began to wrestle the game from Wotton, so their opponents became somewhat rattled.  The first half was physical, but the second became more so, as a concoction of tiredness and semi-panic led to a couple of green cards and then a yellow for Stroud.  Not before Stroud’s persistence led to a penalty stroke, converted by acting captain Tim Norman.  Minutes later, Creech swept the ball home for Stroud’s second goal and now a rampant home side really did believe they could come back, seemingly from the dead. When Stroud were down to 10 men, Norman reverted to a roving role, but even with a man fewer, Stroud still managed to pass the ball – a significant point – even under pressure, passing works.  It was end-to-end stuff as Wotton struggled to regain a semblance of control.  To describe Stroud’s defence as resilient would be to do them a disservice.  Matt Watts, Nigel Williams, Harvey Freer, Huw Widgery and Bob Brewer worked like veritable Trojans to dissipate any potential threat.  Another barnstorming attack led to another penalty stroke for Stroud, this time converted by Creech.  None of the home side really knew how long was left, but the roar from substituted Brewer was almost as deafening as the thundering from Stroud’s feet as they relentlessly tried for an equaliser.

Epic is a good description.  Stroud’s relatively sedate warm-up games did not prepare themselves for the inevitable onslaught, but in true M3 fashion, the team rose to the occasion and did captain Bargh proud.  He was a spectator for the first half, but, sadly, he missed the superb turnaround in the second half.  Well done, lads – all for one, and one for all !

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01 October 2017 at 14:50

Stroud (sponsored by Connexus) continued their unbeaten start to the season with a resolute 2-1 win over a determined Lansdown side. It was shock and awe in the first 10 minutes by Stroud as they played some exquisite hockey to go 1-0 up. Great interchange play by Alex Elder and Tim Norman allowed Nigel Sherwood a shot on goal that Dom Creech helped on in to the corner of the net. And for the rest of the first half Stroud piled on the pressure but could not put the game to bed despite Nigel Williams coming close with a well drilled shot from a short corner that the goalkeeper kicked away and the rebound being cleared off the line by a Lansdown defender. As the 2nd half started Lansdown pressed and levelled the score with a fine move which punished Stroud for not taking their chances. Again,  Stroud piled the pressure on and Chris Bargh came close with a sweet short corner strike well saved by the goalie and Tim Norman being denied with a vollied goal line clearance. Ollie Roberts toiled and tried to turn the skill on by turning the keeper but he was denied, with only minutes left though he managed to lift the ball over the keeper from an acute angle to score the winner and send the team joint 2nd with Stroud 2XI after one game with Newent the only other side to register a win in the league. 

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Stroud Mens 3XI round off Pre Season friendlies with a solid win

24 September 2017 at 09:28

Marlborough B 2 - 4 Stroud B (sponsored by Connexus)

Stroud started the scoring with recent abesentee, Danny Rose Innes receiving a decisive pass from John Osborn to coolly slot a tomahawk shot into the bottom right hand corner. Dom Creech was the next on the score sheet with an excellently dispatched diving deflection. After the break, Marlborough were the first to stike but Stroud replied almost immediately when Captain Chris Bargh's shot was deflected back to him by the Marlborough Keeper and then he slammed the backboard with a finne reverse stick strike fooling the keeper and nutmegging the defending player on the line. Stroud put the game beyond Marlborough when some fine counter attacking play found Stroud with a three on one with the Keeper with Chris Bargh slipping the ball past the on-rushing keeper to Dom Creech to pass the ball into an empty net. Marlborough managed to score late on after via a short corner but it was too little too late and Stroud were comfortable till the final whistle.

MOTM - Dom Creech

Next week, Stroud 3XI start their GoCre8 WSWHL Marches 1 campaign (after being promoted as Champions last season) against Lansdown B

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M3s are Champions

20 March 2017 at 08:24

Stroud M3s are Marches Division 2 Champions

Stroud Hockey Club’s 2016-2017 season end celebrations feature a marvellous performance by the Men’s 3rd XI.  The team secured promotion 2 weekends ago with a nervous 0-0 draw at home, before sealing the Champions’ spot on Saturday, beating a resolute, but destined to be second on the day, Newent B side.

With one game remaining, Stroud can afford to enjoy the game, safe in the knowledge that all their hard work, dedication to the team and a massive desire to play attractive hockey, has paid dividends.  Under the auspices of captain Chris Bargh, to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, the squad’s almost unique blend of youth and experience, pace and cunning, ensured the small but stalwart band of supporters were entertained week after week.  Half-time jelly babies aside, no dubious deliveries of controversial substances were required and once Stroud hit the top in the game before the Christmas break, beating then title contenders Winchcombe 6-0 at home, they never looked back with any conviction.  It was all about the next win.

A magnificent defensive record, and an unbeaten home record to boot, were just two stand-outs from the season.  To concede a more than frugal 5 goals at home all season is fantastic.  The defence, fronted, or perhaps backed, by Bryn Nicol in goal, was the foundation of the season-long performance.  Sol Bowen, one of several youngsters who grew in stature throughout the season, cemented his position at left-back and deservedly won the award for most improved player.

Centre midfield maestros – maybe that is an overused term these days – Alex Elder and Steve Batt provided the pivoting power, distributing the ball with aplomb and displaying more than a pinch of tenacity and steel when the chips were down.  They were also gracious enough to allow part-time midfielders, namely the strikers, to take their places when required.  In all honesty, the squad had the ability and confidence to play in almost any position on the pitch, without detriment to the result.

A goal difference of 71 is something at which nobody should sniff.  The potent strike force of Chris Bargh, voted player of the year by our readers (sorry, players) and Tim Norman, 28 goals and counting, was pretty deadly, complemented the frugality of the defence.

Before giving a mention to all regular and semi-regular squaddies, mention must be made of Bob Brewer and Nigel Sherwood’s appearances for Gloucestershire Over-60s.  Sherwood reached the semi-finals and attended England O60s trials at the illustrious Olympic Park.  Brewer was unfortunate to miss several matches in the latter half of the season, but was named the club’s Umpire of the Year at the annual Dinner and Dance, as he switched his efforts.

Yes, perhaps it is all about the statistics, but, in truth, all we need to say is “We are the Champions” and give a shout-out to the valiant buccaneers who have made those such an enjoyable and successful season.

The regulars … Chris Bargh, Tim Norman, Matt Watts, Dom Creech, James Testar, Sol Bowen, Nigel Williams, Huw Widgery, Bryn Nicol, Ollie Roberts, Alex Elder, Steve Batt, Harvey Freer, Dan Rose-Innes, Bob Brewer

The slightly irregular (no offence intended) … Stuart Holt, Hamish Norman, Calum Norman

The odd appearances … Nick Hitchcroft, Dan Richards, Henry Bonham, Elliott Bonham

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M3 back to winning ways

01 November 2015 at 21:14

After losing the unbeaten streak last week away at Wotton, Stroud Mens 3s battled hard against a physical Winchcombe side to win 7-0. A well fought game with some good movement of the ball from Stroud in the middle of the pitch and some well worked team goals and great individual finishes.

4 goals from courageous captain Chris Bargh, 2 from tenacious Tim Norman and another from audacious Andy Reader put the final result beyond a doubt. Dispite a very physical game, marred by an opposition red card for unsuitible language and some minor injuries, Stroud should be proud of a good result and three more points in the bag.

If Stroud can keep up the ball pace, team work and clinical finishing displayed this week they will be looking to pick up more points, a fight for second place in the league beckons next week away at Lansdown.

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M3 Make it 3 from 3

12 October 2015 at 10:40

Stroud men's 3rd XI gave captain Chris Bargh the perfect present for his recent fatherhood with a comprehensive 4:0 victory over visitors Lansdown C. To be honest, it was Lansdown who looked slightly sharper out of the blocks, but Stroud never really looked in danger. A mixture of ages yet again proved a useful combination. Zak Knight and James Testar were the youngest guns and again proved themselves, Testar's pace and Knight's growing confidence showing. There were a couple of interesting moments during the first half, Tim Norman having to rescue things from centre mid with a 3-on-1 nightmare scenario. Some fine passing from Stroud and a confident gait gave them the breakthrough. The goal of the game epitomised Stroud's team ethic. A superb cross field pass to Nigel Sherwood gave the veteran left winger the chance to drive down the line before he crossed to the far post where the athletic Steve Batt was on hand to semi-dive and 2-touch the ball into the goal. With Alex Elder and Norman finding plenty of space in centre midfield, the surrounding players' movement made it easy for them to find passes. Everybody did their bit and Stroud came away with a 3rd League win from 3.

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Bob Brewer keeps clean sheet as 16 Man Stroud capitulate to strong Bourton

25 October 2014 at 23:28

Bob Brewer keeps clean sheet as 16 Man (and 1 manager!) Stroud capitulate to strong Bourton (2nds with bits of 1sts because they didn't want to travel to Cardiff)

A bumper weekend for players and an administrative error from usually well organised captain and talisman Chris Bargh saw Stroud (sponsored by Ecotricity) travel with 17 players AND keeper Mike Hallett arriving late, just after the pushback. Someone had to take the managerial role and the ever-reliable Nigel Sherwood donned the flat cap and Primark suit and gave encouragement and critical feedback throughout the match. Bob Brewer stepped up as kicking back for the absent keeper for the first 5 minutes, in which time he did not let a single goal in. Needless to say the umpires could have been happy for Stroud to play with 12 but since we are no cheats, a legitimate sub for James Tester did occur to leave Stroud with 11 on the pitch. For the first 20 minutes Stroud turned the screw on Bourton and were camped on the 22 metre line with Nick Hitchcroft, Alex Elder and Tim Norman battling hard in midfield to make a break through, with some good interplay with Ben Evans. Dom Creech made an impact by trying to go around the back and a series of short corners came to nothing. Wingers, John Osborn , Joe and Josh Baum all tried to do the same with the same outcome. Lots of guile but not enough penetration on a very slow pitch which suited the home side. When Bourton did break, Stroud were left bare at the back, although some very good work from Matt Watts, Stuart Holt, James Tester, Harvey and Joe Freer may well have saved more embarrassment for Stroud. Ultimately, sloppy passing let Stroud down and were dominated throughout the rest of the match, and once they were 3-0 down never looked like turning it around. Next weekend they have a double header with Cheltenham on Saturday and the possibility of Newent on Sunday to turn their fortunes around.

MOTM: James Tester


6 short corners, 0 goals.

Sitting 6th with 7 points from 4 games (with a game in hand)

+20 Goal Difference

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If a tree falls and there is no one there to hear it. It definitely makes a sound!

12 October 2014 at 17:49

Ross on Wye B 1 - 10 Stroud 3rd XI

If a tree falls and there is no one there to hear it. It definitely makes a sound!

Stroud 3rd XI (sponsored by Ecotricity) travelled over land and mountain to reach Ross-on-Wye 2nds on what seemed to be a nice day to play in their third match of The Davis Wood Hockey League Marches 2 division...until the storm came and felled a tree, blocking the path for most of the team to arrive on time. However, after the late start and Harvey Freer still not being able to reach the start of the match due to said obstruction AND a land-slide. Stroud 3rds set about their business where they left off against Cleevillians two weeks ago. The first ten minutes where cagey but once the goals started coming they didn't stop with prodigal son, talisman and captain Chris Bargh grabbing a unique hat-trick within the preceding 5 minutes.  The cream of the trio being a sublime reverse stick deflection lob off a driving Nick Hitchcroft pass into the 'D'. Ben Evans scored his first of two with a deft deflection in front of goal. Alex Elder grabbed his first of the season with a scrappy well-fought close range effort to slot past the goalkeeper to make it 5-0 at half-time and Stroud were cruising. Nick Hitchcroft opened up the scoring in the second half with great link up play with Chris Bargh yet again, as Bargh surged into the 'D' dodged past the keeper and set Hitchcroft up for an easy reverse stick sweep into the backboards. Not to be out-done Ben Evans, score his second from a great pass from Matt Watts to reverse sweep into the bottom corner. It seemed like a 4 man show, but the back line defended well, with Stuart Holt and Ben Strawbridge standing tall when Ross did have the ball. By this time, Hitchcroft was tamping after some rather agricultural defending from Ross and after taking a quick free hit to himself, drove into the area and scored a much debated 8th goal for Stroud. Ross did have one glimmer of hope as Stroud were left bare at the back and managed to slot home past keeper Mike Hallett, who again, had nothing much to do throughout the match. With a reputation to keep up, Bargh scored another two in the dying moments, with Josh Baum feeding from the right for him to sweep home first time and Nigel Sherwood's cross deflecting up onto his outstretched stick for the 10th and final goal. Overall, a great way to celebrate Bob Brewer 60-something birthday, to which he deservedly received many renditions of the famous song and his unnerving short corner routines and presence at the heart of defence earned him honorary man of the match. Overall, an outstanding match and with Newent B to come next week spirits are high. Although there will probably be more stern tests ahead.


Chris Bargh now averaging just over 3.5 goals a game.

Stroud 3rd XI top three top goal scorer s in the club.

Stroud 3rd XI now have a goal difference of +24. (26 scored, 2 conceded)

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Stroud Mens 3 XI vs Cirencester B

05 October 2014 at 16:59


On the 4th October 2014, the weather told a tale of two stories. In the morning it was drab and drizzly but then the sun broke through in the afternoon for the perfect conditions for two mighty goliaths of The Davis Wood Hockey League, Marches 2 division to clash. Stroud's match (sponsored by Ecotricity) was very much like the weather average in the first half and glorious in the second. Wearing their new home kit they set about the early pace sucking up Cirencester's pressure well with vital interceptions in front of goal by Matt Watts, Harvey Freer and Bob Brewer. Returning squaddy Stuart Holt also made his presence known with some good interception work down the left hand-side. On occasions when the ball was spread wide to Josh Baum and John Osborn it looked like Stroud could take the lead however quality in the final third was lacking. Right the way through the first half Stroud managed to keep Cirencester's midfield relatively quiet with battling tackles and passes from Tim Norman and Alex Elder however Cirencester managed to crack this 5 mins before half time when they squeezed a short corner routine into the bottom corner past flailing keeper Mike Hallett. After the break, Stroud were energised.  Not just with captain, Chris Bargh's team talk, but also with his presence as he managed to earn a short corner off an opposing players foot and convert it with a slide rule push through the keeper to level the scores. As the match progressed through the second half it was more of a stalemate, with Stroud having more shots on target and hitting the post twice. Through the late stages, the youthfulness of Joe Baum, Joe Freer and Chad Trainor all played a part in keeping the attack alive although could not convert the possession gained into a vital winning goal. Still undefeated, with an average 8 goals a game scored, the future looks bright!

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Fifteen fantastic finishes sweep Stroud to stunning season start

27 September 2014 at 20:10

Stroud B (sponsored by ecotricity) travelled to Cleevillians keen for a strong start to the season.
A new captain, new season, some new players and some older ones lined up and started strongly. Andy Reader opened the scoring and I'm not quite sure in what order the goals came in but the final tally was Reader 3, Osborn 2, Evans 3, Bargh 5, Freer 1 and Norman 1.
Stroud moved the ball around well and dominated the middle of the pitch, winning the ball back and keeping the pressure on the opposition. Some of the goals were better than others with a few goal mouth scrambles resulting in desperate saves but the ball just about making it over the line.
Stroud should be happy with a good opening game, a good team attitude and useful mix of players. They will face stronger sides but the start to the season couldn't be better. Well done lads.

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3s create 3 in keeperless clean sheet

01 February 2014 at 21:05

After a good performance two weeks ago and a disappointing game last week, Stroud M3, sponsored by Ecotricity, took white shirts and no keeper to Monmouth to face the bottom of the League side. Stroud started well and took command of the midfield, moving the ball around calmly. With Ross defending the D with a lot of players Stroud had a few chances to take the lead but had little time and space to convert them.
The first half finished 0-0 with Stroud playing well but aware of how vulnerable they might be to an attacking break without a keeper. Starting the second half, Stroud continued to control the middle of the pitch and Chris Bargh was able to score a much needed goal. Ross continued to attack and forced Stroud to defend several short corner, a block by the runner Matt Watts and a ball saved on the line from Bob Brewer kept Stroud ahead. The continued pressure at the other end of the pitch gave way when a great team transfer moved the ball wide from the back, up to hard working Nigel Sherwood on the left and into the D where a looping ball from a deflected Alex Elder shot dropped under the bar and over the keeper's shoulder to strengthen Stroud’s position.
Great work from MOTM Jed Stening,  covering the centre back position and moving up into the middle of the pitch as Stroud pushed forwards, making several key challenges when needed to and moving the ball well. A possible goal of the season contender and second goal for Chris Bargh left Stroud winning the match 3-0 with only the second clean sheet of the season.This was a great team performance and continuing good individual performances from all members of the team.
Next week they face Winchcombe at home, a fairly even looking match up with Stroud looking to win a clean sweep after an away win in the first part of the season. They need to build on the good performances from the last few games, keep up their work rate, ball pace and shape. If they can continue to defend the oppositions 16s from the front, and give themselves more options from their own 16s they will make things life easier by keeping hold of the ball and being able to build more of the great team goals which have helped them win matches. If the results go their way against the teams around them, Stroud could be pushing for a third place finish in the division but would be more than happy in the top half.

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M3 in Quintessential Comeback

19 January 2014 at 19:04

Stroud M3, sponsored by Ecotricity, started the second half of the season with a score to settle against a side who had beaten them in the opening game.  Stroud started slowly and took a while to get settled.  During a fairly even first half, neither team took command of the game until the opposition scored the opener.  Stroud were unable to settle after making several changes and went into the half time break 2.1 behind.
Resetting to the original lineup for the start of the second half and adjusting the marking gave them more control in the middle of the pitch.  Stroud stepped up the pace and drew level.  Once Stroud gained momentum they became a potent force, a hat trick from MOTM Chris Bargh completed with a skilful turn and reverse stick finish.  Good goals from Nigel Sherwood and John Osborne turned a shaky first half performance into a convincing 5-2 win.  Stroud sit mid-table and face a good side next week, but if they can play as they did in the second half of this match, rather than the first half the game, they will make things a lot easier for themselves.

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Stroud Lose Out in Severnside Salvo

03 December 2013 at 11:31

Stroud M3, sponsored by Ecotricity, faced division leaders Lydney A away on a sunny Saturday. Starting the day with a bare 11, they were rescued by late recruit Joe Freer, giving them an extra man. Stroud knew they would face strong physical opposition but went into the match with a strong spirit and the drive to make a game of it. They lined up with Bryn Nicol in the goal, Joe and Harvey Freer defending wide and Bob Brewer and Matt Watts in central defence. Jed Stening, Alex Elder, John Osborn and Nigel Slater played midfield with Dom Creech, Ben Evans and Chris Bargh taking the forward roles.
The game started with both teams moving the ball well, but Stroud came off second best in the run of play. Lydney pushed hard and Stroud conceded goals from short corners and open play. Stroud were a little uncomfortable when they had the ball and were quickly closed down until they started to use the space and keep the ball away from the opposition.
At the break, Stroud were several goals down but still had fight left in them. They moved the ball well with a spell of dominant play in the second half but couldn't find a goal. As Stroud pushed forward to try and get a consolation goal the opposition defended strongly and broke back to increase the lead. The final score was 7-0 but against a strong side who have not lost a match this season, Stroud should be proud of their performance.
Great work from Alex Elder, man-marking in the middle of the pitch and making things difficult for the opposition midfield. Solid defending and great work rate from both Freers at the back, covering a lot of ground the entire match. The forwards had a difficult job against a strong midfield and defence who kept on the pressure, but there was good movement on the flanks and when the forwards created space running wide they would have scored against any other side.
Stroud B sit mid table with one more game to play this half of the season. They have played all the strongest sides away from home and are eager to win points from the return fixtures at home next year. The younger players have grown into solid team players and have learned much from the older players who have passed on their passion and commitment to the game and the club.

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When it rains

04 November 2013 at 19:01

Stroud B, sponsored by Ecotricity traveled to the new pitch at KLB to face a Wotton side who had had a slow start in the league but were keen to get some points.
The game got off to a good start with two fairly young sides playing some good hockey, Wotton looked slightly stronger but some keen defending and goal keeping on short corners kept the scores level until a break allowed the home side to score the first goal. The match then followed the same course as the weather and dispite Stroud's best efforts up front they were repeatedly denied and strong counter attacks by Wotton put them comfortably ahead at the break.
Debuts from Jed Stenning and Danny Sopp gave Stroud plenty of enthusiasm going forward, building on solid games from Ed Paddock, Alex Elder, John Osborn and Nigel Slater in the midfield. Several good attacks from Dom Creech, Hamish Norman, Ben Evans and Chris Bargh were unlucky not to find the net. Solid keeping from Bryn Nicol between the posts, and hardworking defending from a recovered Harvey Freer, Chris Haywood and Matt Watts tried to keep the match on an even keel but when Wotton attacked in numbers, or broke a Stroud attack they were quickly overwhelmed. After some clinical finishing at the wrong end of the pitch and a refreshing hail shower the match ended 5-0 to the home side.
Although the result somewhat flattered the opposition, Stroud played well with a less experienced team and played some good team hockey. Building on this match, Stroud can take the positive performances of the younger players with the experience of the older players to grow the side into a potent force. Sitting mid table with some tough games ahead, Stroud need to keep playing and enjoying the game, clearer skys are on the horizon.

Captains Comment: Unflattering score as they had a couple of awesome strikes. Danny Sopp and Jed Stenning had excellent debut games. Well done all but especially these two.

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M3 Alive with Five

20 October 2013 at 15:08

After a fine result last week and great availability for this match, Stroud, sponsored by Ecotricity, took a fairly young side over to face Winchcombe.
Stroud had the lion's share of ball in the first half, moving the ball well and winning the 50/50 chances and interceptions in the middle of the pitch. Keeping the pressure on led to a couple of well-worked goals with the ball being moved wide and brought into the D along the base line and cut back for deflections and tap ins at the far post - almost as if it had been a training exercise. Although sometimes struggling to find passes and make the best use of the spaces available on the wings of the pitch at times, Stroud kept the pressure on and despite conceding to a breakaway, they scored more goals before the break to lead 4-1. At half time, Stroud tried to gather themselves and focus on how they wanted to play in the second half.
The home side started the second half strongly and Stroud conceded two goals in a short space of time, an unfortunate deflection from a runner on a short corner (great finish though) and getting caught with too many men going forward put Stroud under a great deal of pressure and the enjoyment of the first half was starting to wear thin.
Stroud settled down and began to play like they had in the first half - not pretty at times, but effective enough to secure a 5th goal and leave a valuable two goal cushion for the final part of the game.
Stroud need to focus on dead-ball plays, defend from the front and look for the space in the opposition's half. When the opposition's 16s were ringed, and on our 16s when the ball was moved wide out of defence and up the wing and injected from the baseline to be deflected at the near post, Stroud looked like a strong side. When they got caught out of position when defending in the middle of the pitch or took the ball into contact in the final third of the pitch they looked like a different side. Taking the positives from the last two games into next weekend, they look for three wins in a row when the face Cheltenham D at home.
Comment from the captain: Not the tidiest performance we've put in and it got a bit close for comfort near the end until we got the 5th goal but ... a Win is a Win!
At least there was a good deal of spirit and effort and great availability.

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