Half way through the season BDHC’s men’s first team would have seen this game against St Neots as one of the more straight forward fixtures on their search for promotion. However, due to the February snow this rearranged fixture suddenly became a season defining match with the Dragon’s knowing only victory would see them go up. Not helping matters BDHC were missing their central midfield captain, goal keeper vice captain and both usual starting forwards due to other commitments, as well as a St Neots side that were playing for more than pride with relegation still a possibility.
Having arrived in plenty of time and being subjected to a Tommy Stopper
warm up BDHC started reasonably well but struggled to penetrate the opposition D, and when they did manage to get into more promising area’s no clear cut chances were being created. Despite a couple of short corners coming close the game started to open up with St Neots growing in confidence having repelled the early pressure, and frustration soon began to creep into the away team despite stand in captain Andy Briault
’s calls for patience in the pre-match team talk. Luckily, with half time getting closer BDHC’s men’s first team player of the season Chris Clarkson
lived up to his title and created a goal from a neat turn and confident strike past the opposition keeper, relief for BDHC and suddenly it was the home team being frustrated and losing some of the initiative they had managed to gain in what was an overall low quality first half.
With the job far from complete BDHC started the second half under instructions to play hockey and keep the ball moving with passing rather than dribbling, these basics which had seen the best of BDHC’s hockey all season soon came to fruition once again with good work from Andy Kind
and Chris Clarkson
passing the ball all the way to the goal line where the latter grabbed his second of the game, soon after Josh Oakley
was rewarded for his hard work and constant movement off the ball with a deserved chance which was calmly placed past the keeper. Things were looking much improved for BDHC now and credit to the team for keeping to the game plan which allowed more chances to be created, an unfortunate St Neots defender conceded a penalty flick after deflecting the ball onto his leg whilst stranded on the line, Chris Clarkson
stepping up to complete a deserved hat trick with a quality flick from the spot. A fifth goal then came with right back Phil Arnold being allowed into the top of the D, no further encouragement was needed with a controlled strike into the bottom corner.
5-0 up with the game and promotion all but secured BDHC’s defence were still keen to keep a clean sheet but with two minutes to go a still spirited St Neots attack won a short corner which was comprehensively finished into the bottom corner, although it wasn’t going to change the result it had put a bit of a dampener on a defence that has ended up boasting the best record in the league. Credit to the opposition for the tireless efforts that saw them earn a consolation goal, and to the sensible umpiring given the circumstances for both teams involved.
Other mentions go to the tireless Tommy Stopper
in midfield and an encouraging debut for Shane Carlton
who even bought his one trick to the party! Also stand in Captain Andy Briault
for his important leadership on a day that saw BDHC clinch promotion and the top spot in their first season together having played 22, won 18, drew 3 and lost 1.