Saturday 13th Oct – Watford 1st Team & 2nd team the Saxons were in BWPL action at Ponds Forge Sheffield..
25 players across two teams, one coach, one team manager and eight travelling fans braved Storm Callum and the north of England in general to make the trip to Sheffield. The first team would kick off their campaign today against Welsh Wanderers, while the Saxons would aim to continue their winning ways against the whole of the British Army!
First up was the first team in their opening Div Two taking on the Nation of Wales.
Peter Pickford (GK), Jack Pickford, John Pickford, Cameron Baker, Jared Baker, Nandi Cseh, David K, Petar Djordjic, Will Eggleton, Adam Page, Andy Holt, Danny Davis.
An early Wales lead was quickly cancelled out by a typical Nandi long range effort. But Watford soon let the Welsh run away to a 4-1 lead, as they made good use of every counter opportunity. But a counter from Danny narrowed the gap to 4-2 by the end of the first quarter.
Watford had a much more encouraging second quarter, with another Nandi long range shot, a cheeky flick from Adam and a 5m foul conversion by David giving us a 5-4 lead. But Wales brought it to 5-5 by the close after converting one of many man-ups.
Wales restored their lead at the start of Q3, only for another long range Nandi effort to restore parity. In a quarter of few goals, Wales went into the final session with a slim 7-6 lead, after finishing with another goal.
Wales seemed the more determined team, scoring three times in the final quarter, while Watford could manage only one goal in reply – yet another Nandi special.
Final score 7-10.
So our hopes for a victory on Day One in Sheffield rested with the Saxons as they faced The British Army.
Saxons team v British Army: Chris Jones (GK), Luke Sherry, Zac Corcoran, Ben Simkins, Matt Smith, Max Cohen, Matt Irish, Craig Nicholls, Steve Brasso, Alun Dorrington, Richard Hime, George Sadler, Matys Molnar.
With five RAF players in the Saxons ranks, a match against their Forces’ rivals was always going to be an entertaining affair for the spectators. And so it proved.
George opened the Watford account with a brace from close in, both converting Watford man-ups. The Army got a goal back, but a great 6m shot from Zac Corcoran opened up a 3-1 lead. A penalty save by Chris Jones joined a great first quarter performance by the RAF player to prevent what could have been a much closer score line in Q1.
The RAF boys were enjoying putting one over the Army, with Craig Nicholls assisting Zak for his second goal of the match. And then Squadron Leader Brasso put one past the Army, courtesy of Matt Irish turning the defender with nonchalant ease, before setting up the goal. The Army got one back on man-up. Then Richard Hime flicked to Matt Irish to make it 6-2.
George secured his hat trick at the start of Q3 from a well-executed man-up. Sensing the game was running away from them, the Army deployed reinforcements, and the game started to turn in their favour. The Saxons found themselves under siege, conceding three goals to the Army, as the score narrowed to 7-5. Then a great steal from Alun set up Ben Simkins to score, settling Watford nerves, and opening up a three goal gap. Ben scored again, before the Army got their 4th of the quarter. 9-6 going into the final quarter.
Luke Sperry finally broke the Army spirit with two goals at the start of Q4, with George making the coup de grace with his fourth. But there was no surrender from the squaddies, ending the match with a final goal, but unable to avoid a Saxons’ 12-7 win.
A third straight win in Div Five means the Saxons will qualify as a top Five team & progress into Championship Four.