Bourne Deeping finally secured their first win of the season against local rivals City of Peterborough 2nds after a 3-2 victory in a closely-fought game which came down to a last minute winner.
The game started after the heavy morning rain had cleared, leaving the pitch slick and fast, which meant that the tempo of the game was going to be intense, especially as it was between two local teams who would be keen to prove they were the best on the day.
The Dragons had worked heavily in training, led by player-coach Simon Shorter, on a game plan of playing at an oppressing tempo, their high pressure full court press, high quality passing and work rate off the ball for each other being key elements to this.
They knew that if they played that way for the majority of the game they would be very hard to beat. The issue so far this season though was that they had only managed to string together short spells of good hockey, which at this level isn’t enough. The quality had to be sustained.
Peterborough were Premier B champions last season and due to their first team being in the league above who narrowly missed out on promotion to National League last season, they couldn’t be promoted.
This season they hadn’t started as well as the last, however, they had still notched up more wins than Bourne Deeping and have a very dangerous mixture of youth and experience.
As expected, the game started quickly with both teams looking to exert their dominance upon one another with some physical tackles going in.
Chances were had by both teams and Bourne Deeping were the first to strike, Stuart Biggs putting them 1-0 ahead within the first 15 minutes of the half, despatching a drag flick which the keeper could only manage to parry in to the net.
The Dragons failed to capitalise on this early lead, however, and as so often happened in some of their earlier games this season a lapse in their concentration led to Peterborough equalising to make it 1-1 going in to the half-time break.
The half time team talk was a heated affair, the team being frustrated knowing that they should be leading at this point, rather than sitting at one apiece.
Vice-captain Simon Miles, who had pulled his hamstring in the first half, and captain Ben Slack had some much needed words for the team to get their heads back in to it and focused on the task ahead.
The half began looking fairly equal, but as it progressed Bourne Deeping started to gain the larger share of both possession and territory, frequently pressing Peterborough in to their half.
Eventually they broke through and took the lead, Andy Williams smashing the ball in to goal from the middle of the D to make it 2-1.
However, again, Peterborough showed their quality and scored an equaliser and the game looked like it could go either way.
At this point BDHC could potentially see the game slipping away from them, as it has so often done in the earlier games of the season. Especially as Chris White, a new player who has joined this season, had to depart.
This time Bourne Deeping didn’t fade though and continued to pile on the pressure, their rotations throughout the game and fitness sessions paying dividends at this late stage.
In the closing minutes, a darting run down the left by Williams, who beat a couple of players and then passed the ball across the goal led to a goalmouth scramble, with a push from Chris Clarkson being stopped on the goalline by one of the Peterborough players.
Eventually, after Bourne Deeping had a couple of attempts at putting it in to the goal, Williams ended up pouncing on the ball and flicked it in to the net.
As the play resumed, much to the joy of the Dragons, the umpires immediately blew the whistle for full time.
Man of the match went to Williams, however there were good performances put in by Biggs, who moved back in to right back having played the whole of the season so far up front, Ben Slack and James Sharpe.
The team travel down to Havering on Saturday aiming to build on this performance to get a few more wins in the remaining games before the Christmas break, moving them up from second from bottom of the table to in the middle.
Bourne Deeping 2nds maintained their push for promotion from Division 3NW after a tidy 2-0 away success at Cambridge City Veterans.
They went into Saturday’s game full of confidence following their 4-0 win against Spalding 3s and the return of captain James Tavernor, Tom Pollard and Jonny Allen meant the squad was one of the strongest of the season on paper.
The first half was very much a case of Bourne Deeping being camped out in the Cambridge City half playing patient hockey with some good build up play. All that was missing was the end product.
The front line of Pollard, Robin Edlington, Ollie Vartan and Harry Fountaine had chances but often found the Cambs City Vets keeper in very good form while his opposite number Joe Wray was a spectator in comparison.
The second half started the same as the first had finished with Bourne Deeping pressuring the Cambs City goal.
Eventually from a short corner, Ryan Mountney very calmly eliminated the first runner and then flicked the ball past the keeper.
Five minutes later, following some good build up play, Vartan beat two defenders, rounded the keeper and eventually tapped the ball in.
Cambs City tried to keep forwards high to try and get back into the game but the defence of man of the match Graham Brewer, Ollie Browne, Scott Downie and Matt Clarkson kept them at bay. A good win which moves the side to third in the league.
A tricky next fixture against City of Peterborough 4ths but, with confidence really building, the side will relish the task ahead.
Bourne Deeping 3rds recorded a second successive victory following a 6-2 home success over St Neots 2nds in Division 4NW.
A dominant first half, which should have seen several more goals scored than actually were, led to a halfway lead of 4-2. This included two penalty flicks and a single half hat trick for Andrew Vartan.
The second half was less cohesive but Bourne Deeping still retained the majority of the possession however created fewer chances.
A solid performance moved the team up to the middle of the table as goals from Treve Wagstaff, James Lowson, George Collins added to Vartan’s treble.
An injury-hit Bourne Deeping 4ths fielded six Under 18s in their 4-1 away defeat at Cambridge City 5ths in Division 4NW.
As expected the home side started strong but, apart from some regulation saves, never really created anything dangerous.
The opening goal had a touch of luck as a cross from the City forward was intercepted and finished well by the unfortunate Mike Bradshaw who was tracking back, however under pressure all he could do was nudge into an open goal.
Luck was also with the home side for their second when the Cambridge forward stopped the short corner injection with his foot playing it nicely into the path of his teammate who scored.
The half was nearly over when dodgy home defending gave the ball to Sam Bradshaw who finished with a great first time reverse shot to register his first ever senior goal.
The second half started with more City pressure. The Dragons looked dangerous on the break but could not make a breakthrough.
A harsh yellow also helped the home side take the sting out of the visitors and the third goal came with a smart finish over the advancing keeper.
With decisions not going their way the Dragons knew the game was up. The home side got a fourth with a tame shot the keeper was disappointed not to save.
Bourne Deeping 5ths returned with a point after a 1-1 draw from their notoriously tough trip to Wisbech 4ths in Division 5NW.
They started strongly however and it was not a great surprise when Curtis followed up from an initial shot at a penalty corner to open the scoring.
The Dragons kept up the pressure and, while Wisbech were occasionally dangerous on the break, positive defence allowed them little chance to build.
Captain Foston and the ever-improving Clack created numerous chances down the right but were stunned when the Dragons chairman failed to convert a chance from less than two feet.
With the rain stopping, the match became more frenetic even as both sides seemed to make a number of unforced errors.
A rare penalty corner for Wisbech took a very unlucky deflection off a defender’s foot to score, preventing Ashton in goal earning a deserved clean sheet.
Frustration for both sides continued with a 1-1 draw the final result, the Dragons regretting not capitalising on more of their chances especially in the first half.
Bourne 6ths were handed a 5-0 home walkover after Louth 2nds conceded their Division 6NW(N) clash.
Bourne Deeping Ladies stormed to the top of East League Division 3NW after a 3-1 derby success over City of Peterborough 3rds on Saturday.
The Dragons looked focused and determined at pushback, however, they had to deal with early pressure from City of Peterborough who won a short corner early into the game.
This was dealt with quickly and the Dragons moved on to play their brand of pass and move hockey which resulted in several good opportunities and short corners.
The Peterborough keeper was on form though and the Dragons were unable to break the deadlock. They were very unlucky not to be awarded a penalty flick after a visiting player stopped a shot on the line with her foot.
A rare foray into the Dragons half resulted in Peterborough scoring from a short corner and taking the lead against the run of play.
The Dragons reacted by trying to force play and equalised early in the second half as Sue Oakley danced past several players before teeing up Maisie Brownlow to score.
Bourne Deeping were now in full flow and player of the match Izzie Oakley picked the ball up on the halfway line and went on a solo run that culminated in her slamming home the second goal.
The victory was sealed when Emily Murray, who had terrorised the CoP back line all game, used her fast pace to hit the base line and pull the ball back for the captain to score.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 2nds shared the spoils with unbeaten Division 4NW leaders Leadenham after a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
Despite Kirsty Martin missing an open goal early on, their persistance paid off with Martin scoring after great assistance from Cam Braid.
The fast-paced effective passing continued throughout the first half with a lot of linked up play between the whole team.
Sophie Brittain and Lily Fitch held the midfield well as Leadenham struggled to pass through. However, the hosts quick passing within the D and positioning on the goal paid off with an equaliser.
The Dragons continued the second half as they had finished the first with more threatening runs down the right of the pitch from Helena Darragh, supported by Ella Henson.
Leadenham piled on the pressure and three short corners were conceded on a bounce which were excellently defended by the team, with fantastic keeping and clearance from Tori Wand and Dawn McShane.
With 10 minutes still on the clock, some great play through the middle with support from Fitch enabled Brittain to strike at the top of the D and score for a 2-1 lead.
Dragons had a series of scintillating runs once more, but against the play Leadenham back tracked and amazingly got an equaliser.