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Weekend Round Up - 13th & 14th January 2024

Weekend Round Up - 13th & 14th January 2024

Victoria Boulton16 Jan - 08:24
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Two must-win games for the Ladies 2s results in +6 points

Saturday 13th January

Home Fixtures

Mens 2s vs Letchworth 3 - 5-0 win

Kav hattrick secures revenge against letchworth ‘3’s

Broxbourne 2’s set out with one objective on saturday, secure a win against the only team to have beaten us, with their only win, so far this season.

Expecting a tough game from the exact same team we played earlier in the season, an inspiring team talk from kav should have set us off on the right foot. However within 30 seconds we lost possesion and conceded a shot on goal. This was an early wake up call for broxbourne. The intensity was upped collectively and paid dividends soon after, via a resverse stick rocket from Kav into the top right of the goal. Of which any of the youngesters would have been proud of. A slick passing, counter attacking move from our sixteen to theirs ended with a baller strike in off the post. Smelling blood the badgers were relentless in their press and soon found a third, again by a rocket of a reverse stick strike from lance! A series of well won short corners eventually ended up in a goal, as the initial shot rebounded straight to Kav, who made no hesitation in unleasing into the backboard.

4-0 at the break and Broxbourne couldnt believe it, as it should have been more. The game continued in much the same way, however lacking the quality decision making apparent in the first half. Fortunately, Kav had been putting in the extra hours on the training ground following last weeks open goal miss. The only goal in this half fell to him for an easy tap in on, you guessed it, the goal line, to secure the hattrick and all three points for the badgers. Full time and Broxbourne had beaten the exact same Letchworth team 5-0, a score had been settled.

Onwards to next week where the mighty two’s travel to Vauxhall.

Mens 4s vs St Albans 8 - 2-1 loss

The mens 4s returned to Badger field and put on a superb display against the team 2nd in the table.
The passing around the back line from Fin, Andy H, Luke, Tom and into the midfield was fluid, but they were unable to find the centre forward on a regular basis.
New guest player, Nick Anstead fitted into centre midfield, pulling the strings and distributing, allowing the younger players to play their game.
Unfortunately a rare misplaced pass let St Albans take the lead, and a few minutes later another home error let them double their lead.
M4 rallied, and with Tom supporting Kieron down the right of the pitch, they worked the ball to Louis, who fired his cross to the top of the D where Nick A fired home into the bottom corner.
Down the left side, Fin and Ethan were combining well with Elliot and James, allowing play down both flanks.
HT 1-2
The second half was end to end hockey, Simon making a few good saves to keep the 4s within touching distance, but the majority of the good passing game came from the hosts.
Noah was seeing more of the ball up top, and direct runs from Fin and Luke were proving difficult for the older opponents to deal with.
Pressure mounted and several short and long corners were won, but they just couldn’t get the goal the team deserved.
Another impressive display at Badger field, where they have only lost to the top 2 in the division 0-1 and 1-2.

Ladies 1s vs Chelmsford 1 - 3-2 win

After a long awaited return to the Badgerden, the ladies 1s looked to kick off the second half of the season with a win and firmly cement them in ‘middle of the table’ territory.

With the team having attended a pre-match performance of Six to harness their theatrical flair, Dr Wilsy led the warm up with a series of choreographed drills prompting young talent Lara Luka to switch her Crocs into sport mode to keep up with the dynamic routine. The Broxbourne fan club arrived in full force waving their posters and banners much to the amusement of the team, although there was speculation that Nads Wheadon had in fact paid these people to attend after recently racking up large fines for her lack of supporters at recent matches. Suspicion grew further when it appeared these supporters did not know her name or her shirt number and decided to opt for ‘3 is the magic number’ chant to confuse both home and away teams.

With a full squad and an almost complete management team in attendance, the game got underway with Broxbourne putting Chelmsford under pressure from the very start of the match. The home team created some chances finding their forward line fairly comfortably, but some narrowly missed opportunities led to a turnover for the away team, who were able to counterattack and put away the first goal of the match. Undeterred, the badgers adopted the Six mentality of ‘we are taking control’ and started to build pressure back onto the Chelmsford defence. A flying ball from midfielder Alice Brown found Gemma Wilkinson in plenty of space to strike the ball across the D for Captain Ellie Welsh to score the equaliser.

After an inspiring half-time team talk from the management team and the badgers fan club bringing their own rendition of ‘Welcome to the show, to the Histo-remix’ to the stands, this gave the badgers a much needed boost to get the second half underway. The forward line pressed hard from the push back, applying pressure to Chelmsford’s midfield and defence, creating some unforced errors from the away team. The badgers found Meg S who made a sensational run down the right hand side of the pitch and into Chelmsford’s D, nearly being taken out by the keeper, but somehow finding the ball into Nads Wheadon who converted the goal to the delight of her travelling supporters.

Shortly after the re-start, the youngest badgers in the team showed their athleticism with Lara Luka (still engaged in sport mode) dribbling past Chelmsford’s defence down the left hand side of the pitch and found Meg S on the back post who tapped the ball in to give the badgers a two goal lead. However, this seemed to spur on the away team who started to attack broxbourne’s defence line and found themselves 1 goal behind the home team. As tensions escalated, Alice Brown surprised everyone by donning green sunglasses and breaking out into the ‘Haus of Holbein’ dance moves in an attempt to distract the opposition. This unexpected action led to her receiving a green card and the management team imposing a necessary ban on her sunglasses (and dance moves).

In the final stages of the match, the tension was palpable with Chelmsford winning a short corner as the final whistle blew. After their third short corner, the away team failed to score and the ball was swept out of play by Claire Cat resulting in a 3-2 win for the home team.

Player of the Match was awarded to Kim for her incredible saves to fend off the Chelmsford attack.

Donkey of the Day goes to Nads for doubts about the authenticity of her travelling supporters.

Ladies 4s vs Berkhamsted & Hemel 3 - 4-1 loss

Ladies 4s were the final fixture of the day at the badgerfield against top of the league Berkhamsted. A detailed pre-game talk (including new positions for some) was followed by a modest warm up and the 4s were ready for the starting whistle. Sadly, all seemed forgotten within minutes and although there were some fantastic saves by stand-in keeper Lily, it wasn’t long before the 4s found themselves 3-0 down due to the opposition’s basic but practiced movement of the ball into space. The chaotic nature of some of the penalty calls did not help the 4s to build any kind of momentum either, and half time was welcomed with open arms.

Short of pressing the panic button, the team did their best to reset their mindsets and stick to the game plan as it was clear that the second half had to be different. A few minutes in and Broxbourne’s patience paid dividends with some excellent and relatively simple passing leading to Jo slotting a no-nonsense shot into the goal. 3-1.

The rest of the game was much more evenly matched with the 4s clearly frustrating the opposition who started to concede more and more wreckless fouls, and Brox finding more ways into Berko’s circle. Unfortunately for the home side, a lucky break through the defence led to a final goal for the opposition. The game finished 4-1 shortly after. Sadly, it wasn’t to be for the 4s on this occasion but a promotion spot is still on the cards should the Ls change into Ws for the rest of the season.

Player of the match was awarded to Lily for keeping the score competitive! With only a single vote, Donkey was awarded to Frankie for being injured during the game.

Away Fixtures

Ladies 2s vs Harpenden 1 - 1-0 win

The ladies 2s kicked off their two game weekend strongly with a visit to a random field somewhere near harpenden. After a wardrobe change for Jess- who turned up in the wrong colour kit-, a late start for Lydia- assuming the cold weather would mean the game was off- and quick skin care routine for Kelly, the team was assembled. Having decided we were playing hockey, despite the freshly painted lacrosse and tennis court lines suggesting otherwise, the 2s got ready to play with the run to the local park to use the toilets acting as an excellent warm up.

After a collection of rousing team talks, the game began with Broxbourne on the front foot, with the forwards and midfielders pressing hard and making it difficult for Harpenden to get the ball out of their own half. Despite the Brox chances on goal, the combination of very slow pitch and excellent goalkeeping from the opposition kept the ball out the net with a stream of attacking short corners unconverted. As the half came to a close Harpenden pushed on but a collection of solid defending and goalkeeping kept the score at 0-0 going into half time.

Going into the second half Broxbourne looked to continue where they’d left off, pressing for the opening goal with Harpenden looking to break on the counter. While defending these, Grace had some issues with the wet paint from the excess markings and found herself on the floor on numerous occasions while Ella looked to even the score in this regard taking out one of the Harpenden players. Finally, after a defence opening through ball from Vic, Lydia found herself free on the edge of the D and calmly slotted the ball past the oncoming keeper and into the bottom corner to keep her 2024 goal scoring run alive and Broxbourne 1-0 up. A final push from Harpenden saw a nervy few minutes with some excellent play from Emily cutting out promising Harpenden attacks and moving the ball forward. As the final whistle blew Harpenden got a rare short corner and despite keeping this out, the Brox defence had another few to deal with as a high ball, a foot and another fall resulted in re-awards. After some negotiating on the rules the final whistle eventually blew leaving the 2s with a second win of 2024 and able to go and reheat and recover in time for a home game the following day.

Player of the match went to Emily for her great defensive work, lovely work down the middle and always stepping in front and while donkey was more closely contested, ultimately went to Grace "for falling over about 10 times and attempting to play hockey from the floor".

Ladies 5s vs Harpenden 3 - 2-1 loss

Thursday and all is sorted, 13 players looking forward to our match and hoping the frost would not materialise.

Saturday morning 7.30 am and 4 hours until our game – our keeper had had to pull out due to an unexpected event. We were playing the top of the league team! Don’t panic!!!! 2 hours later and after frantic efforts by Daniela who contacted all potential keepers and anyone else we thought could help, she managed to arrange for Alisha to help us out. Hooray ?

So, all is good again. We arrive at the pitch knowing that there were no changing rooms but quite a few of us over a certain age needed the loo so the search was on to find one. Luckily, we did, after a trek around the park.

And so, to the match. Unfortunately, Harpenden started quickly (1 minute to be precise) and the ball was soon in our defensive D and past the goal line. We held our heads high and, after more pressure from Harpenden, we began to work the ball out of defence with Mumma B, Teagan, Daniela (yep you read that correctly) and Katie working well together to find our midfield. A Harpenden player couldn’t get out of the way of a hard hit from Daniela and was carried off the pitch. Unfortunate for them (and her) as this left them with 10. With a player advantage we began to press and worked our way up the pitch resulting with some goalmouth action but with no goal to show for it.  

Into the 2nd half and Harpenden were back to 11. Not deterred, Broxbourne really played well with fantastic runs and distribution from the midfielders Amy, Jess, Rachel, and Amber and more determined work from our defence and Alisha in goal. Harpenden started to make mistakes and we piled on the pressure. Just before the hour mark we had a lot of shots in quick succession from Amber, but their GK kept them all out, a scramble followed, and a loose ball came Milly who took advantage and popped it in the goal. Excitement built on the sidelines with our supporters and on the pitch with the team. 10 minutes to hang on to a draw. Unfortunately, Harpenden re found their mojo and the pressure resulted in a goal 4 minutes for the end. We all dug in and there were some lovely runs from Isla, Elinor, and Charlotte to get into our attacking D put we could not get that elusive goal.

Final whistle but heads held high, and a team hug was in order. As everyone played well and contributed to a great team performance, player was given to the whole team with no one deserving donkey.  

Mens 1s vs St Albans 2 - 2-1 win

Following the shenanigans of last weeks minibus, the men’s 1st team travelled away to St Albans with a thinner squad hoping to keep their unbeaten streak going. The return of fire blanket Josh Chapman from warm weather training in Tenerife was a straight swap for Matt Menear who was unavailable due to injury and also created a centre back partnership with the newly dubbed baby blanket Stan Mason. Broxbourne started strongly with constant pressure being applied to the St Albans defence and multiple short corners being won. The pressure eventually resulted in a goal from one of those short corner with the ball being fired back to injector ‘Gorgeous’ George Blemkin for a close range finish to give Broxbourne the lead. The game then started to get a bit cagey with a few loose touches and poor tackles from both sides which ended up with a short corner for St Albans that ended up being deflected in past Ryan Thomas to level the scores.

At half time coach Panners reassured the team that the hockey being played was some of the best of the season so far, which was partly due to the teams fitness levels with all but 1 member of the match day squad completing a 5k run during the week. It was also discussed that the next bad tackle will result in a card and the badgers had to remain disciplined.

The second half was just as competitive as the first half, although both Henry House and Reggie Hopson were maybe too competitive with each of them receiving a green card for poor challenges at different points of the game. Chances continued to fall for both sides, but some important saves from Thomas and some brave running out from short corners from Phil Bryans kept the score level. The game was crying out for a moment of magic and fresh off of completing a 5k that surprised the whole team, Henry picked the ball up in defence and ran the length of the pitch passing numerous St Albans players and drawing all of their defence to him before playing a through ball to Reggie, which allowed space for Reggie to then slip the ball to Toby House who completed the move with a trademark reverse stick shot that gave the keeper no chance. A goal worthy of winning any game that can only be described as ‘majestic’, Broxbourne held firm for the final 10 minutes to secure the 3 points and get back to winning ways.

With a double header next weekend, both captain Phil and coach Panners have stressed the importance of keeping fitness levels up, something that I’m sure Toby took onboard as the rest of the team still eagerly await his first 5k run of the season.

Mens 3s vs West Herts 5 - 3-0 loss

Match report pending.

Ladies 3s vs Luton Town 1 - 4-2 loss

The ladies 3s travelled to Luton this week, hoping to build on the 4-4 draw from earlier in the season.

The first half didn’t get off to the positive start we’d hoped for, with Luton scoring 4 goals early on. However despite this, and facing the additional obstacle of the sun, Broxbourne continued to battle hard, and with some solid defending (including a save off the line from Lauren, who had that morning made the bold claim that she was going to have a good game) managed to hold Luton off for the remainder of the half. Some lovely passing up the pitch from the midfield meant that Broxbourne had several chances in the D but unfortunately just couldn’t get them in the goal.

After a motivational half-time team talk from Tara, Broxbourne came out feeling positive about the second half. Luton managed to win several short corners but thanks to Tara and our defensive short corner practice at training on Tuesday, we managed to hold them off and stop Luton from getting another goal. Some time into the second half, some lovely teamwork and excellent passing allowed Broxbourne to work their way into the attacking D where we were awarded a short corner. After some interesting injections in the first half, Hannah had finally got the hang of it and a shot from left slip allowed Kirsty to run in on the rebound and slot the ball past the keeper to finally give Broxbourne a well-deserved goal. Both teams continued to battle for another goal (with Fixy even trying to gain us the advantage by attempting to take the Luton team down to 10), but to no avail. Fortunately in the dying moments of the game however, Kirsty managed to make a run through the Luton defence where Hannah was waiting on the left post for a slap into the goal, taking the score to 4-2 on the final whistle.

Despite the loss, the ladies 3s came away feeling positive about the game and the second half victory.

Donkey this week went to Kirsty for forgetting she had to restart the match in our own half after scoring her goal and to Hannah for returning to her start of season antics of having a mid-game sit down.

Player also went to Kirsty for some great passing in the midfield and for being everywhere on the pitch.

Sunday 14th January

Home Fixtures

Ladies 2s vs St Albans 4 - 4-1 win

What a 6 point weekend!

The morning started clear and bright, with only a few aches and pains, and heavy legs following the well fought defeat of Harpenden the day before.

It was great to play our second game of the double header at the Badger Den (with facilities including on site flushing toilets, heated changing facilities, teas if requested and a clean pitch clear from detritus). Fortunately super striker Jess and dynamic keeper Kate were early arrivals to the (warm, well lit, carpeted) changing rooms, as it gave them the opportunity to indulge in a nostalgic review of Haileybury staff past and present...soon the rest of the team arrived including versatile Gemma with her no1 fan.

The warm up (on the modern, clean, well marked, free from unnecessary layers of paint) pitch, was adjusted to compensate for the battle weary Badgerettes, who soon became ready to face the St Albans 4s team. The warm up gave the opportunity to develop the science based strategy for choosing which end of the (modern, clean, well marked, free from unnecessary layers of paint) pitch we would choose to take advantage of the trajectory of the sun as the match was promptly covered by cloud but did work to our advantage in the second half - great decision illustrious captain Vic.

St Albans had first push back, and although the Badgerettes had plenty of pressure on them, a few balls through the middle tested the redoubtable defensive unit comprising Grace, Meg, Emily, Sue, Gemma, Baz and Kate, but with a little settling in the defence clicked into their usual solid game supported by great coms from Grace 'The Boss' and neutralised a lot of the St Albans play making.

The Badgerettes then started to pile on the pressure, coming up against the talented young St Albans GK, but our forward line were determined and Vic, Kelly, Beth and Jess worked hard to keep taking every opportunity, until a crack appeared and Beth neatly tidied the ball over the line beyond the keeper's reach.

So... 1-0 at half time, St Albans were battered (and grumbling :-D), the Badgerettes knew it was winnable but not yet in the bag...

Then the Badgerettes started to grab the opportunities, with strong play from Darcy, Ella, and Olivia who worked relentlessly to keep the ball in the opposition half, until a short corner was won, and as it broke down super striker Jess took advantage of a space and put the ball away. This penalty corner representing a change in the Badgerette's fortunes and (I'm confident we'll see the evidence of it in future games) PC conversion rate.

After some further good pressure starting the in the midfield and into the opponents D, Olivia (fresh back from injury and reminding us how much we'd missed her) played a blinder and scored.

Being 3-0 up, and being bathed in blinding sunlight, allowed an against the run of play breakaway by St Albans, who were thwarted in their attempts to have a clean strike on goal by our nimble GK Kate, resulting in a ball looping over her and miraculously dropping outside the goal, frustratingly to be tapped in by their forward on the back post.

However, the Badgerettes then took the game by the scruff of the neck and continued to 'attack from in front behind' thanks Kelly our motivational pre match speaker, and gave Vic the opportunity to put the final nail in the coffin by grabbing an opportunity and decisively securing the 4th goal.

It seems that no match would be complete without a flurry of defensive short corners in the dying moments of the game, but Kate and the defensive stalwarts were unfazed and would not allow any further St Albans success.

Shout outs to the Umpires, Tara and Michelle who calmly and clearly managed the game and thank you for the offline support from absent players Mille, Lils, Ali, Alisha, Lyds, it was greatly appreciated by the Badgerettes, in their pre-game mindset preparation and in celebrating their second 3 points of the weekend.

Player of the match votes were spread amongst several players, many great performances seen on the pitch today, with Beth B coming out ahead, having demonstrated a great work rate, a lot of tenacity and staying in tackles all through the game.

Baz is reportedly disappointed for not being recognised for stopping a goal, delivering great aerials ably collected by Emily B and a strategic clearing of the ball up the pitch when there was a high risk of a counterattack (and it wasn't very near her head...).

Away Fixtures

Ladies 1s vs Cambridge City 3 -2-2 draw

Following a home victory on Saturday, the Badgers were back in action again on Sunday travelling to Cambridge to replay the fixture frozen off before Christmas. A 14 player squad travelled to the fixture, including coach Harry Cakelinehan and the embarrassingly matching management team of Hoskins and Scarrott. The Badgers welcomed back ex-captain Pip Evans to the squad from her brief stint in the West End production of Fiddler on the Roof, playing the role of Golde.
Hannah Baker was ruled out of both games this weekend following an unprovoked attack on her green wheelie bin, alleged to have occurred post collection on Wednesday. Em Wilkins was also unavailable for the fixture, as she travels to the US to launch Nike’s latest turtleneck playing shirt. Other Nike signature brands endorsed by Wilkins include upturned collar polo shirts, polo neck base layers, and snood neck warmers.
The game started well for the Badgers, who looked in control with Cat Cattermole and the returning Pip Evans dominating the transfer and making use of wing backs Tor Stacey and Charlotte Skipp. Stacey and Skipp were on form, with Stacey celebrating her successful completion of Dry January (12th) and Skipp celebrating the purchase of some knitted trousers tax-free from the kids section in Zara. Both connected well with youngsters Lara Luka and Meg Saywell to put the Cambridge defence under pressure. The badgers went 1-0 up courtesy of a Laura Wills cross, guided into the corner by Saywell. Cambridge then piled the pressure back on the visitors, with some quick transfer leading to a short corner being awarded following a rare stick tackle in the defensive 25 by ex player of the season Lisa Banahan. The home side converted with a straight strike that bobbled awkwardly, hit the back board.
The second half saw the Broxbourne midfield of Kay Finch, Laura Wills and Alice Brown putting in a sterling shift to keep the badgers in touch. Nads Wheadon and Ellie Welsh used their pace and caused problems for the home side, resulting in a number of short corners. Cat Cattermole almost put the ball in the net from a beautiful slide to the far post but an outstanding save by the Cambridge goal line defender kept the score level. However, it was the tenacious run from Meg Saywell releasing Gemma Wilkinson into the D that resulted in the Badgers taking the lead once again. Fox in the box Wilkinson sent a blistering shoulder height shot through and Captain Ellie Welsh showed great skill to deflect it in. 2-1 Broxbourne. Cambridge struck back with a goal from open play to level the scores once again. Both sides won short corners in the dying minutes but some excellent saves from Kim Hellery and Cat Cattermole on the line saved the Badgers from losing a valuable point.
In a surprisjng move, Lara Luka used the post match press conference to launch an attack on striker Gemma Wilkinson’s dog Freya, accusing the thoroughbred Italian Bolognese of being in fact a cross between a cat and a dog. Wilkinson hit back at Luka, accusing her of attempting to sabotage the Crufts Toy Dog Best in Breed winner from 2019 ahead of the upcoming Broxbourne Dog Show. Freya is the reigning champion of “Best Trick” at the Badgers’ annual dog festival where she held off strong competition from Gimli Scarrott in a nail-biting tie-breaker to claim the win. Luka’s motivation is unclear, but the RSPCA has responded stating that it is unlikely for the alleged breeding allegation to hold any truth. Club Captain Josh Chapman, who acts as the official bookmaker for the highly anticipated show, has suggested that Luka is attempting to lengthen Freya’s odds as he has noticed suspicious volume traded since Luka’s breeding accusations were made public. Wilkinson has uploaded Freya’s breeding certificates to the Sport’s Club Instagram page and has filed for a gagging order on Luka ahead of the competition.
The Badgers now commence their Winter break lasting one weekend and return to action at Badgerfield on the 27th January against Blueharts.

Coming up next weekend...

Saturday 20th January
Home Fixtures
10am - Mens 3s vs Welwyn Garden City 2
11.30am - Ladies 5s vs Saffron Walden 5
1pm - Mens 1s vs Old Loughtonians 3
2.30pm - Ladies 2s vs Saffron Walden 1
4pm - Ladies 3s vs Saffron Walden 3

Away Fixtures
12pm - Ladies 4s vs Saffron Walden 4
12.30pm - Mens 2s vs Vauxhall 1
1pm - Mens 4s vs Rickmansworth 3

Sunday 21st January

Home Fixtures
1.30pm - Mens 1s vs Havering 1
3pm - Mens 3s vs Potters Bar 3

Further reading