By Kevin Boniface, Head of Hockey
What an excellent match this was. The mixed age Bedales U16 side came across a talented Churcher’s U15 side and it made for an absolute thriller.
Churcher’s had most of the initial attacking play, but the plan was always to use the Bedales physical strength and speed to play direct and on the counter attack. This worked perfectly for the first goal as the ever present Arthur Lingham won the ball outside the Bedales circle, played a quick ball to Ed Marshall-Smith – who would go on to have one of his best performances in a Bedales shirt – followed by a release pass to Alec Grew, and as both teams thought the ball was going out on the bassline, Alec managed to swoop in and convert it with a superb one handed finish.
Deservedly, Churcher’s equalised soon after, but as half-time was approaching, Marshall-Smith once again influenced the game and neatly converted to make it 2-1.
Having worked incredibly hard with the bare 11, Bedales knew they were going to be up against it in the second half as Churcher’s rotated their squad of 16, keeping fresh legs on the pitch. Despite some solid goalkeeping from Laurence Johari and resolute defending from Charlie Abbott, Churcher’s deservedly drew level and were now having the bulk of the attacking play. The situation worsened for Bedales as they lost Marshall-Smith due to a calf injury with 10 minutes to go.
However, against all the odds, a powerful drive forward from Oscar Amis, followed by a penetrating reverse stick pass caused panic in the Churcher’s circle. Alec Grew positioned himself well and finished calmly to put Bedales 3-2 up and take the victory. A really enjoyable, competitive game that could have gone either way.