Jean Fitch's Bedford Hockey Club round-up

First victory of the season for Men's 5s

By Zoe Ashton
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 8:16 am
Action from the Ladies 1's 5-0 win over Khalsa Leamington
Action from the Ladies 1's 5-0 win over Khalsa Leamington

It was a return to frozen pitches, bringing early morning match postponements for several of Bedford Hockey Club’s senior squads at the weekend before the welcome appearance of the sun enabled play to resume.

First out on pitch at the Chester Road home ground were the Ladies’ 7s, the opening goal of the day falling to their Welwyn opposition, before Bedford levelled the score. End-to-end action ensued, with balls finding the back of both goals, but it was Bedford who took the points with a 4-3 victory. They face a challenging game this weekend away to top of the table, and yet undefeated, Broxbourne.

Less good fortune fell to the Men’s 7s, returning from Bishop’s Stortford after a 2-0 defeat. They will be hoping for the home advantage on Saturday when they take on Cheshunt.

The men's vets game with Welwyn Garden City which ended 4-4

The Men's Vets pushed high in their attack, often leaving themselves exposed in defence. The result was a thrilling goal-fest against higher placed Welwyn Garden City, with the final score a 4-all stalemate. The result has the Vets sitting comfortably in fifth spot, with a game in hand.

It was celebrations for the Men’s 5s, following the outcome of their encounter with local rivals, Luton. The team, who have been struggling this season, will hope the 3-2 win, their first victory so far, marks a turning point. They will have a home advantage at the weekend as they battle it out with Blueharts.

The Ladies’ 4s failed to demonstrate their usual composure, never seeming to find their flow. Despite a 2-0 defeat to Saffron Walden, the Bedford team hold their second spot in the table and will hope to return to full strength this week when they travel away to Royston.

A fourth win on the trot, a 2-0 away triumph over Shefford & Sandy, reflects the growing confidence of the Ladies’ 3s. They have a double-header this coming weekend, to play catch-up on previous weather-struck matches. On Saturday, they host bottom of the table Letchworth whilst, on Sunday, they travel away to Berkhamsted & Hemel. Wins in both fixtures would provide a potential for the team to move higher up the table, where they presently sit third with two games in hand.

Whilst the Ladies’ 2s match was one of the matches succumbing to frost on Saturday, they did step out on pitch on Sunday, for a previously postponed match against Havering. Havering sit top of the table so third in the table Bedford were prepared for a tough battle. After a thrilling match, which had the teams level at 2-all, the clock was ticking down in the final minute of play when the Bedford side were devastated to watch Havering slot the ball into the back of the net and take the win, 3-2. They will hope to return to winning ways when they travel to Blueharts on Saturday.

The Men’s 2s are renowned as a team who play with passion, but always within the spirit of the game. Their 5-3 conquest over their Havering opposition was soured by some questionable on-pitch behaviour, directed toward players and umpires. They will hope for a competitive but less frustrating match at the weekend away to Shefford & Sandy.

There was disparate fortune for the Club’s first team squads. Whilst it took time for the Ladies’ 1s to get into their stride against Khalsa Leamington, failing to convert several early goal-scoring opportunities, once the goals started to flow, they just kept coming. The 5-0-win stretches Bedford’s lead to eight points over third placed St Albans, who suffered a loss at the weekend, with only undefeated Sutton Coldfield ahead of Bedford. The Ladies’ 1s have another home fixture this weekend with a 1.30 push back against University of Birmingham. In contrast, the Men’s 1s were the side suffering the defeat, going 5-0 down away to St Albans. They also face a University of Birmingham home fixture, their match being a 2pm push-back on Sunday.

In preparation for the semi-finals of England Hockey’s Women’s Over 55s Tier 2 Championships, the Bedford O55 squad took the opportunity to play a friendly fixture on Sunday and will hope their 3-1 win over Peterborough will be a good omen for this coming Sunday when they take on Chichester South. The Over 35s Women’s squad meanwhile, who have scored a phenomenal 33 goals over their last 3 matches, will be travelling to Harleston Magpies as they continue their play-offs as defending champions of the O35 Tier 1 Championships.