And so it came to the last fixture of the season. Sadly, we were already confirmed to leave Div2 East and return to our ever so slightly more local league, but we still wanted to put on a show and finish as strong as we could.
The opposition was Bedford, a team that had been pushing for promotion all season and who just missed out themselves on promotion to Div1 this season. It was going to be a strong test, every Bedford side is well drilled, organised and moves the ball around very well. Discipline, man marking and fitness would be the key, a difficult combination for the last game of the season when our fate has been sealed. At their place earlier in the season, for the possession they had they only actually penetrated our 'D' on a few occasions. Transferring the ball with ease and making good leads up front is a real strength to have, but you must score goals in hockey...we scored 4 and they scored 0 so we were confident of getting result here as well.
So to the game -
To cut a long story short, Berko were outstanding in the first half. We moved the ball with ease, went forward as a unit and defended in numbers. The movement off the ball from our forwards created plenty of space for others to move into and the midfield were afforded time on the ball to pick their passes. Even with 3 at the back, we transferred the ball with confidence. Oli Bowman got the ball rolling quite literally with the first goal. Then finally, our many hours of short corner practice played out...The deliveries were good, the traps was good, the slaps was good, the deflections were superb, all resulting in a magnificent first half hat of tricks for Jake Alderson. In the first half we rarely took the ball into contact, we tackled fair, played the right passes and really showed how competitive we are in this league.
The second half was not much to talk about rather than good game management from Berko. we slowed the game down where necessary and didn't allow Bedford to get any rhythm going. We defended their short corners well with them only creating a handful of real goal scoring opportunities, none of which they took. They did break the deadlock with the last play of the game, right on the final whistle. 4-1 the final score.
This season has showed how as a team and a club we really have punched above our weight. We can look back at many of the results this season where we have just lost out by a goal, games of which we really should have won, we have learned a lot. We have been very competitive in this league beating many of the teams above us. Quoting a number of teams we have played they also couldn't understand why we were so near the bottom of the table. Unfortunately we just didn't have the consistency throughout the season, this is such a competitive league where a number of teams get relegated, just a few weeks ago we were a few points above relegation, while also been a few points off 4th place to give it context.
We also say farewell to number of players heading to Uni or pastures new next season, all will be big shoes to fill but we will rebuild and make our assault on on the league again next season.