Junior A Match Reports
City of Bristol Junior A 20 - 5 Exeter.
The Junior A team played the 3rd game of the season on Sunday night, 7th July, away to Exeter. With some of our strongest players missing due to summer holidays, injuries or having a ladies game earlier in the day we welcomed Carl, Jake and Alex for their 1st team debuts. All 3 had played well for the junior B team and deserved their chance to step up a level.
From a coaches point of view it’s fantastic to see the work ethic and culture of this squad of juniors developing, not only did we have 13 players for an away game on a Sunday night but we also had all 13 (plus many junior B players) complete a full training session in the morning.
The game started at a pedestrian pace with Henry marking Exeter’s dangerous shooter and our defensive system leaving us in total control. Unfortunately our shooting was also a little slow to get going and we finished the first quarter 2-0 up having missed several easy chances to score (Jonny and Scott with the goals).
Exeter where still too close for comfort and started the 2nd quarter well. Jonny scored again for a 3-0 lead but Exeter hit back with 2 quick goals to bring the score to 3-2. The COB players woke up and scored 4 goals in the next 2 minutes to restore a comfortable 7-2 lead. The teams then traded goals to end the quarter 8-4. Goals from Henry, Oliver, Joe (2) added to Jonny’s early effort in this quarter.
Attacking the shallow end in the 3rd quarter was once again a bit of struggle, despite Exeter picking up several exclusions we were unable to make the most of the chances but won the quarter 3-1 with goals from Jonny, Scott and Henry. The big positive from the quarter was our defensive organisation only allowing one goal against us. The score at the final break 11-5.
Finally, in the 4th quarter we were able to finish the numerous chances we were creating and dominated the quarter 9-0. Exeter were tiring fast and we were able to steal the ball and counter attack with relative freedom. Goals from Jonathan, Lilymay, Ben, Jonny, Scott, Henry and Joe(2) making sure the score reflected the pattern of play in the final quarter.
There was one more goal in the quarter not mentioned above. It came from an unusual source, Alex our goal keeper who, after making a save, spotted the opposition goal keeper off his line and launched a 25 meter shot into the far goal! A great moment for Alex and all the team to celebrate.
Overall, a strong performance by the entire team. Missing our usual centre forward threats of Matija and Josh meant that we scored more goals from driving and counter attack. We scored some lovely team goals especially in the 4th quarter. It was great to be able to give everyone lots of time in the water especially Jake and Carl who both looked comfortable playing in with the A team.
CoB Junior A 9 v 10 Devonport.
The Junior A team played their second match of the season at Hengrove on the 2nd June against a strong team from Devonport. Devonport were last year’s champions and gave COB juniors the only tough games they experienced during last year’s BWWPL season. Craig picked an unchanged team from last month’s game V Welsh Wanderers despite stiff competition for places amongst the 18-player squad.
The first Quarter was an even affair with Devonport taking the lead through the talented James Coleman before Matija scored 2 quick goals for COB, only for Devonport to equalise late on so the quarter finished 2-2. Bristol didn’t have the fluency in passing or sharpness of decision making that had brought the victory against Welsh Wanderers and several sloppy errors meant they missed chances to finish the quarter a few goals up.
Devonport seem far stronger than the other teams in the BWWPL junior 1st division and some of the mistakes Bristol were making must be accredited to the hard defence and skill of the Devonport players. However, Bristol continued to make some ‘schoolboy’ errors and waste chances to build a lead. The second quarter was another tight one which Bristol won 2-1 with goals from Lilymay and Matija. The half time score 4-3 to Bristol.
Into the 3rd period and Craig asked the players to change from playing with a centre forward to a more driving game as at this stage we had only gained 1 exclusion in our favour. However, this change didn’t work either as we still couldn’t get an offensive exclusion and the major foul count continued to stack up against COB and reached 7-1 early in the 3rd quarter. Devonport equalised with a goal on one of the extra player situations and the COB who felt in control for the first half were suddenly the team struggling to perform.
The next 2 minutes decided the game with Devonport’s James Coleman scoring 3 quick goals. Great individual counter attack skills by the young player from Devonport but very disappointing from a COB defensive perspective with all 3 goals easily avoidable. The young Bristol team rallied and finally drew an offensive exclusion towards the end of the 3rd quarter which Johnny blasted into the net to bring the score to 5-7 at the end of the quarter.
Joe and Wills got the 4th quarter off to a flier both scoring great goals from a drive to bring the score back to 7-7 before Devonport scored to go 7-8 up. The red mist descended over Matija and he got a little too friendly with the Devonport centre defender. The result, a brutality foul and man-down for the remainder of the game. After all the hard work put in to regain the momentum after our crazy 2 minutes in the 3rd period this would have destroyed the confidence of most teams.
However, the City of Bristol team continued to fight and despite Devonport inevitably going 7-9 up the team fought back with another goal from Joe. A cracking left handed cross cage shot showing what a good player he is becoming.
The Bristol juniors worked tirelessly to defend with a player less but Devonport did manage to score again to stretch their lead to 8-10. Suddenly despite having a player less Bristol were gaining exclusions meaning we had even numbers in attack. Lilymay taking advantage to score and bring the score back to 9-10. Sadly, it was too little too late and the game ended without another goal for either team.
A tough loss to strong opponents. Devonport were the better team on the day and deserved the victory but the Bristol juniors were left rueing the chances missed and the sloppy play in the first half, 2 crazy minutes in the 3rd quarter and a brutality foul in the 4th. All of which are rare occurrences for this team and any one of which individually could have cost us the game. So with 3 unusually poor events in the same game we were lucky to remain so close to Devonport.
The team are now looking forward to the return leg in Plymouth and another chance to test themselves against a strong and talented opposition.
CoB Junior A 24 v 3 Welsh Wanderers.
The young city of Bristol junior A team started their campaign in Cardiff against Welsh Wanderers on the 3rd May. Traditionally a tough place to play we arrived expecting a close encounter especially as most of the team had not played a match for several months.
The team started slowly and let the Welsh get a few early shots in on goal but Jackson made some fine saves to keep the score 0-0 in the first couple of minutes. The Bristol team’s nerves were settled when Matija scored from centre forward. Bristol never looked back and eased away from their opponents ending the first quarter 5-1 up with goals from Joe, Wills and 2 from Lilymay.
Growing in confidence, City of Bristol continued to dominate the 2nd period winning it 7-1 for a 12-2 half time lead. The defence was suffocating the Welsh team’s attacks and goals were flowing in our offence. Johnny, Joe, and Lilymay scored 1 each whilst Henry and Josh scored 2 each.
The team was outperforming expectations and this made the coach’s life easy in the 2nd half as Craig changed 6 for 6 outfield players around half way through each quarter. The players in the team being evenly matched so whatever 6 players were in the pool the pace and gameplay continued to be too much for the Welsh team. Another 12 goals were added (3 more for Wills, 2 more for Joe, Johnny, Henry and Josh and 1 more each for Lilymay and Matija) resulting in a very comfortable 24-3 victory.
An excellent start to the season and both the players and the coach were very happy on the drive home. A long gap between matches means the next game is against last year’s winners, Devonport on the 2nd June.