|Date||15 April 2016|
|Opposition||Prior Park College|
|Venue||Sports Training Village (Sitec)|
|Result||W 4 - 0|
|Time played||Normal time|
Well that’s it for another excellent season and to finish it off with a handsome 4-0 win last Friday evening was all the more satisfying. Admittedly it was only a friendly, a match specially arranged to help Prior Park College play one of several warm-up matches before their trip to London to play in the EH U18 School Finals, but it was a game we needed to win and, above all, to play well following our defeat to Surbiton in the QF of the EH Clubs Cup no less than seven weeks ago.
Even without the availability of Mike Stride, Chris White and Matt Simonds, plus Billy Braithwaite and James Burwell who were, of course, playing for Prior Park, it was a mightily impressive turn out of no less than 16 players. That showed a great commitment to the cause which made your outgoing U18 Team Manager very proud. It was just a shame that your coach Josh Mardell couldn’t attend due to a prior engagement while for no less than 12 of you who played l – Nick Easterbrook, Paddy Gompels, Josh Keaveney, Hector Lyons, Calum Montgomery, Harry Potter, Tom Salmon, Jonathan Shirley, Tom Silcox, Paddy Walsh, Callum White and Alex Witty – it was also your last game as an U18 player for Team Bath Buccaneers.
Since that opening warm-up fixture against our U16s back on September 19 we’ve gone on and played 10 more matches including four in another excellent EH Cup run to the QFs that ended at the hands of Surbiton, acknowledged as the largest Hockey Club in the country with arguably the best youth set up so no disgrace there. We are and still remain the best U18 Club set up in the SW of England.
For a team that hadn’t played together since Feb 28, our standard of play on Friday night was excellent throughout the first half. Our movement was slick and quick and how we didn’t score more than one goal before HT after hitting the bar and post several times will remain a talking point. The fact that Prior Park could have taken a shock lead only to be thwarted by Witty’s acrobatics on his goal line shows that vital saves can change the outcome of matches.
Although we scored a further three goals in the second half from a forward line led superbly by Hector Lyons giving us the final margin we deserved, our lack of fitness started to show but then so did the opposition. It was, however, an impressive way to bring down the curtain on the season.