Week 6 – mens 1s up to 3rd in Regional 1

Wimborne reached their highest position ever in the hockey pyramid following their 2-1 win over Wanderers at Battersea Park. 3rd in regional 1 was merely a pipedream, probably even at 3pm on Saturday, but that was the reward for beating second placed Basingstoke last week, and third place Wanderers on a long away trip to London this week. Goal difference of +1 in 6 games shows that all the games have been tight, and this was no exception. Todd Clark was first to follow up a Wimborne penalty corner and put the away team ahead about halfway through the first half, but althoughWanderers finished the half the stronger of the teams by winning a number of penalty corners, they were unable to convert their possession into the equalising goal.

The second half saw Wanderers begin to stretch the play and get control of the ball, without really looking too dangerous from open play.  Wimborne went 2-0 ahead after a quick turnover of play saw the ball played into Todd Clark who controlled the ball after a scramble in front of goal to flick it into the net. Wimborne failed to take further chances to put the game out of sight, with Sam Butterfield being really unlucky to lose his footing as he found himself 1v1 with the Wanderers keeper. Wanderers then converted a penalty stroke  to reduce the deficit and the run of play was now firmly with the home team. However some fantastic last ditch defending by the defence and midfield saw out the game to give Wimborne the 3 points to take back to Dorset.  

The mens 2s encounter with Poole at QE was a typical local derby with both teams suffering suspensions at various times. Tom Blake gave Wimborne an early lead from a penalty corner, which was then doubled by Gareth Hardiman. Poole hurtled back into the game with 2 goals in a minute, but another Blake corner gave Wimborne a narrow half time lead. Poole equalised again, but Wimborne hit back immediately through Blake, and then both Blake and Hardiman added late goals to give Wimborne a 6-3 win which sees them 4th in Hampshire Division 3.

The mens 3s and both ladies teams suffered disappointing defeats, with the 3s losing 6-1 at Haslemere (Richard Hough) and the ladies 2s to a single Weymouth goal. The ladies 1s went behind late in the first half to Mendip. Wimborne then lost the second half penalty corner count 2-1, and rued not being able to convert their numerous first half chances.

Week 4 – one to forget!

From riches to rags – after not losing a game last week, all sides lost!

The ladies 1s went behind to a strong Bath Buccs side midway through the first half, but equalised on the stroke of half time, Daisy Lowe putting in the finishing touch after good work by Gemma Newson-Smith. What turned out to be the deciding goal was a deflection at the right hand post from a penalty corner worthy of winning any game. Wimborne were then unable to turn their possession into clear cut goal chances despite a succession of green card suspensions for Buccs. The ladies 2s went down 4-0 at Swanage.

The first East Dorset derby in the league for many years saw the mens 1s take on Bournemouth at Chapel Gate, where the home side finished the victors 3-1. Wimborne’s injury hit midfield finally found their match, and Todd Clark’s penalty corner conversion proved to be just a consolation.

The 2s game against Fareham was played mostly in Wimborne’s attacking half, but a Gareth Hardiman goal after 12 minutes was all that they had to show for their endeavours. Fareham’s equaliser came midway through the second half from their first meaningful penetration into Wimborne territory, and proved the momentum changer in the game as they exerted more pressure and Wimborne’s passing game ebbed. Fareham edged the game 2-1 after a defensive lapse left a loose ball in the circle with the goal at their mercy.

Week 3 unbeaten

3 wins and 2 draws was the successful outcome on 17 October. The men did the double over Hamble, winning the 1st XI game 2-1 at QE, while the 2s won 3-0 at Hamble. Simon Ridley scored both the 1s’ goals on his return to the side from injury, a two goal advantage after 40 minutes being nothing more than Wimborne deserved after dominating both possession and chances. Hamble clawed their way back into the game through second phase possession from a penalty corner, but Wimborne survived a series of penalty corners in the last 5 minutes to record their second win in 3 games in Regional League 1.

The 2s were comfortable winners at Hamble, with goals from Gareth Hardiman, Ed Klaber and Dean Ligat-Jones. But the 3s let slip a comfortable two goal advantage, secured through Richard Hough and Duncan Clarke, against Portsmouth & Southsea and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

The ladies 1s drew 1-1 at Yeovil, while the 2s secured their second win of the season through Yana Williams’ last gasp goal against Bournemouth.

Mens 1s shade 9 goal thriller

After last week’s narrow opening loss, the mens 1s came out on top in their second  Regional 1 encounter, eventually running out 5-4 winners over Havant. Todd Clark’s hattrick sees him as the leading goalscorer in the division at this early stage, while Sam Butterfield opened his account for the season with a brace.

The mens 2s were not so fortunate going down 3-5 to Petersfield at QE in a tussle between the 2 promoted clubs from last season. Petersfield took an early lead with an unstoppable reverse hit strike, and then doubled it on the break while the Wimborne defence were in absentia. The scores were levelled before half time however through Richard Purchase and Tim Jones. Wimborne conceded too many penalty corners after the break and the visitors scored from three of these before Sam Pope got a late consolation goal.

The mens 3s long trip to Woking resulted in an undeserved 2-1 defeat.

The ladies 1s took an early lead when Daisy Lowe took advantage of a loose ball in the Devizes circle and coolly slotted past the keeper. Wimborne’s advantage was doubled in the first minute of the second half through Gemma Newson-Smith. Devizes were let back into the game through a sloppy defensive goal, but Becky Rooney’s deflection from a penalty corner with five minutes left  seemed to have made the game safe. Another goal conceded from a penalty corner led to some anxious moments, but Wimborne held on for a 3-2 win.

The ladies 2s suffered a 3-1 defeat to Salisbury.

Disappointment in Regional 1 league opener

The mens 1s got their life in Hampshire/Surrey Regional 1 up and running with an opening goal inside 6 minutes against Epsom at QE, Todd Clark converting a penalty corner. Despite controlling the game for much of the opening half, no further goals were added, and Epsom made them pay levelling the score with an overtime penalty corner at half time. Epsom settled into the second half the quicker and scored twice before Todd Clark’s opportunistic strike pulled one back from open play. Wimborne could not break Epsom’s resolute defence down again, leaving them still looking for their first points at this level after a 3-2 reverse.

The 2s got their Division 3 campaign off successfully with a 3-2 win at Swanage & Wareham. Gareth Hardiman scored from a good early short corner routine, but against the run of play Swanage scored a soft breakaway goal to equalise. An undercut cross by Swanage was magnificently redirected from above shoulder height into the top right hand corner of his own goal by defender Simon Russell! Surely a contender for own goal of the season already, despite the fact it should have been disallowed! Just before half time a converted rebound by Hardiman made it 2-2 at half time. Wimborne dominated the second half with a great team effort, and after about 15 mins striker Dean Ligat-Jones accurately scored the winner from an acute angle.

The 3s went ahead through Richard Hough against Havant, but 4 goals from the visitors in the last 10 minutes of the first half put Wimborne on the back foot. Hough converted an early penalty corner in the second half and saw an excellent chance to further narrow the deficit go just wide of the post before some excellent finishing by Havant put the game out of Wimborne’s reach. Final score 2-8..

The ladies 1s dominated the first half of their game at Frome but could not get the ball past the home keeper. They paid the price as 2 scruffy second half goals were conceded. However the new look ladies 2s gained a 4-0 win over Swanage, with goals from Leanne Danby (2), Sarah Butt and Sue Close.

The under 12s enjoyed their festival at Blandford on Sunday, winning 3 and drawing 1 of their 5 games.

BACK TO HOCKEY

This July and August Wimborne Wayfarers Hockey Club will be running Back to Hockey sessions for any adults that would like to try a new sport or get back playing hockey.

Back to Hockey sessions are fun, sociable and informal and aimed at people who either haven’t played hockey for a number of years or who are looking to play for the first time. Don’t worry if you’re nervous or don’t remember any rules our Back to Hockey coaches will guide you through this series of fun and friendly sessions. We promise it’s nothing like the schools days of muddy pitches and standing around waiting for a touch of the ball!

 We will be running sessions every Tuesday for six weeks from 21 July to 25 August, 7-8pm at Queen Elizabeth Leisure Centre in Wimborne (BH21 4DT).  The sessions cost £2 each for those attending and we are able to provide a limited number of sticks for those who don’t have them.  Anyone who attends all six sessions and subsequently joins the Club will receive a 25% discount off their first year’s sub.

Come along and give it a go!

Mens 1s review of the season

Following promotion to Regional Hockey for the first time in the club’s history, this season was expected to be one of consolidation in a league containing clubs who have played a higher standard of hockey for a number of years. There were many ‘unknowns’ as we faced new opponents most weeks and also had to contend with many long trips to away matches. A quick review using ‘Google Maps’ revealed that travel to the 11 away matches would involve 1,698 miles with return trips varying from 60 miles to Romsey to 234 miles to Addiscombe who play in Croydon.

 Preseason indicated that the squad had the potential to perform well with creditable draws against Winchester (who subsequently won Regional 1) and Trojans who play in Premier 2. The squad hit the ground running and won their first 5 league matches including away games at Bank of England and Romsey. In hindsight it was actually our first match that set up the season with a last minute goal giving us a 4-3 win at home against a talented London Academicals side. The team were to score a number of very late goals during the season!

The team ‘bounced back’ after away defeats against a strong Fareham side and also at league leaders Reigate Priory The last game before the Christmas break again saw another 4-3 win secured with a last minute goal. The team ended the first half of the season in second place in the league – something way beyond our expectations.

 Christmas gave the team a chance to reflect on what had been achieved and there was a change in attitude. From feeling that ‘survival’ in the new league would be a good result there was a realisation that ‘we could do this!’ Perhaps this change of attitude was the cause of some patchy form as the season restarted. Players may have put too much pressure on themselves and therefore played with less freedom. Only four points were gathered from the first four games of the new year, which also saw the introduction of Bru Baker as our new coach, so there was a period of transition as the team and the coach got used to each other.

Three victories followed before the ‘crunch’ game at home against Addiscombe who had emerged as our main challengers for 2nd place in the league and promotion. What went wrong that day will remain a mystery as the team produced one of their worst displays of the season losing 5-2. Heads did drop after that result which left Addiscombe effectively only needing to win 2 of their last 4 games to finish ahead of us, even assuming that we could get maximum points from a very difficult run in of matches.

The following two weeks saw a remarkable turn-around in fortunes starting with Addiscombe losing to Reigate and our best performance for some weeks resulting in an excellent 4-0 away win at Sunbury. These results boosted Wimborne’s confidence that everything was not lost and a team meeting felt that 3 wins in the final 3 matches might put pressure on Addiscombe. The penultimate weekend of fixtures was decisive. Wimborne played some fantastic hockey to beat league leaders Reigate 5-1 at home. It was a performance of the highest quality that was much appreciated by the home supporters. At the same time Addiscombe lost at home to the improving London Academicals and they then lost their game in hand on the Sunday against Sunbury. 

These results meant that Wimborne needed just a point from the last game away at Camberley to achieve the ‘unthinkable’ of back to back promotions. This was not going to be easy as Camberley were, in spite of their mid table position, a very good side. This turned out to be the case – Camberley were not just ‘good’ but, with one or two additions to their team, they were probably the best side we played against all season. Wimborne never really came to terms with a bouncy pitch and quick, aggressive opponents but the team spirit shone through as they held on for a 0-0 draw to retain second place and promotion to Regional 1. 

So how do you sum up the season? Voting for the ‘player of the year’ probably says it all.  All players said that it was difficult/impossible to choose as this was a real team effort. How do you select from

·       Two forwards in Todd Clark and Sam Butterfield who scored 60 league goals between them

·       Our attacking midfield of Simon Ridley and Luke Smith who set up so many chances and won so many short corners for the forwards to put away

·       Our two ‘youngsters’ in Conor Moors and Connor Gould who made such good impressions

·       Our defensive back 5 who, for the second season running, conceded the fewest goals in the league and this year surpassed themselves with 6 clean sheets. Dan Bartram and Nick Clark played vital roles in front of the back 3 of Chris Ridley, Ross Adams and Todd Straughan

·       Our goal keeper Martin Blake who organised things at the back and made a number of crucial saves during the season

The fact that every player deserved an award resulted in 6 players receiving nominations for ‘player of the year’, the prestigious award eventually going to Luke Smith for his work rate and creativity in midfield.

 So a fantastic year for the 1st XI and, with the 2nd XI also achieving promotion after an unbeaten season, the playing strength of the club has never been higher. What does next season hold for us? Consolidation or, you never know ……………… !!

Slow re-start

Both mens and ladies 1s had a slower start to the second half of the league season than they would have liked, both dropping points on their travels. The ladies were held by Devizes to a 2-2 draw, while the men had a 2-3 reverse at London Academicals.

The mens 2s continued on their unbeaten season with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth at QE, but they had to thank the visiting keeper for their goals, both short corners struck centrally by Richard Purchase in the first 10 minutes. No further goals followed in an increasingly tetchy local derby!.

The mens 3s took the lead against Woking through a rasping drive from Colin Batchelor, and were unfortunate to concede the lead to a penalty stroke with the last play of the first half. Woking took more control after the break scoring twice from close range, but Richard Hough’s penalty corner strike brought Wimborne back into the game. A missed open goal to level the match and another Woking goal following a defensive error (no names, no packdrill) meant no return for Wimborne from an enjoyable but competitive game with the league leaders.

The late show revisited

The mens 1s finished the first half of their first Regional Division 2 campaign just as they started it, with a 4-3 win at QE secured from the last hit of the game!. This time Camberley & Farnborough were the victims of Wimborne’s resilience. Having been behind 3 times in the match they showed great spirit to bounce back and take the lead for the first time right at the death. After a quiet start Camberley took the lead and this led to a flurry of first half goals. Wimborne equalised when Sam Butterfield slotted the ball past the advancing keeper after excellent build up play only for Camberley to break away and take the lead again against the run of play. A stern team talk at half time produced a determined Wimborne effort that was rewarded when Todd Clark scored from a short corner routine. Although Wimborne dominated the second half, Camberley retook the lead 10 minutes from time with their only shot of the period. Wave after wave of home team attacks produced ever more desperate Camberley defending and a string of green cards and eventually Sam Butterfield equalised  with his 17th goal of the league season. It looked as though Wimborne might have to settle for a very frustrating draw, but one final attack resulted in a foul on skipper Simon Ridley and a yellow card for the Camberley defender. The free hit resulted in another Camberley foul and a penalty corner. The final whistle went, but the well oiled routine worked to perfection, Todd Clark scoring the overtime winner (his 19th goal of the season) with a shot deflected in off the keeper’s pads.

The 2s completed an unbeaten first half of the season with a 4-1 win at Chichester. They took the lead after 5 minutes when Jon Bland’s aerial through ball was picked up by Tom Blake who set up Gareth Hardiman to score his first goal for the club. Blake was on hand to score two further goals before half time, but Chichester pulled one back almost immediately from a rare visit to the Wimborne circle. Martin Miah put the game out of reach early in the second half with a rasping drive past the keeper.

The 3s entertained Portsmouth & Southsea at QE and put in a much improved performance without reward. Richard Hough scored from 2 penalty corners to keep the scoreline even, but Wimborne conceded twice late on to suffer a 4-2 reverse.

Week 10 disappointment

The top of the Regional Division 2 table clash at Reigate Priory went in favour of the home side. A first league goal for Santi Ruiz and a well taken strike by Sam Butterfield had the match all square at 2-2, but a disallowed goal from a penalty corner which would have given Wimborne the lead and an injury to Nick Clark put them on the back foot, and Reigate came out 4-2 winners.

The 2s kept their unbeaten run with another 2-1 success, this time against Aldershot & Farnham at QE. Aldershot started well and took the lead after 10 minutes playing some good attacking hockey. Eventually Wimborne’s midfield settled and Tim Jones equalised before half time. Tom Blake sealed the points early in the second half with his first goal for the club.

The 3s gave Poole a number of early Christmas presents by not retaining control of the ball for any length of time and suffered a 3-0 defeat as a result.