Say It Loud.... BEDFORD GRIFFINS
Everyone was buzzing with anticipation, hearts were pounding with a mix of nerves and excitement ...and this was just the Club Officials! As we all approached the arena, despite hours of training and months of planning, some players became a little unsure of what to expect and a surge of hesitation set in; but this was it, our inaugural tournament! Despite the tension we crossed the threshold, our time was now, Lights, Camera, Action - it was time for the Bedford Griffins RHC to make their mark.
14th October 2023: 12noon - 8pm
Burwell Sports Centre, Camb
Players: Jack, Kaylen, Farris, Rylee, PollyAnna, Tyler, Will, Gennaro, Joseph (GK)
KING’S LYNN v BEDFORD GRIFFINS
First game up was with King's Lynn; …and we descended on the ball like a swarm of bees which allowed a disciplined KLRHC squad to take advantage of our eagerness to chase the ball, inevitably this left us vulnerable to set pieces and long sweeping attacks with little to no defence, stretching our keeper from early on who was made to go high & low as well as reach for the corners as he defended some long range slapshots into the back of our net. We pressed on.
Making substitutes and rotating positions made little difference to a dominant performance by KLRHC, nerves were still very much present as when we attempted to attack, we ceded possession too easily via our long and short passes. With fresh players rotated on the rink, we had two spurts where we advanced but this was short lived due to timely interceptions and with KLRHC’s dynamic team passing, the ball was back in our half leaving our keeper with a hard task to fend off attacks with too many options to anticipate and alas, this resulted in a few more into the back of our net . We pressed on.
The second half allowed us to make more changes in attempts to settle the jitters but it was clear that our defence was lacking and with finding it difficult to maintain a solid line of defence for our exhausted keeper, we struggled to hold off KLRHC’s attacks with more goals in the back of our net as we again often found ourselves scrambling at the ball. Nevertheless we still pressed on. It was a valuable learning experience that taught us the importance of having a strong and organised defence in order to feed any attacks.
FULL TIME: 18 – 0 KING’S LYNN
BEDFORD GRIFFINS v LETCHWORTH
Undeterred, we came into the game with the same vigour as the first, BUT this time, evident in the way we initially held our form, with a little more structure & discipline. For this match I decided to change the format slightly, which helped us settle into a more comfortable rhythm and helped us stay organised for extended periods of time and while doing so, we displayed better communication and coordination when moving around the rink. That said however, we fell back into the tendency to chase the ball, which led to us conceding some simple goals after a few attacking bursts.
We utilised a timeout to re-focus our strategy and to emphasise proper positioning while at the same time change out positions allowing us to rest the legs of some players, making adjustments in both defence and attack. We were back to holding our form much better, but there were too many instances where we released the ball too quickly, leaving ourselves vulnerable to counter-attacks.
As the game progressed into the second half, it became evident that our goalie was growing exhausted. His once athletic movement clearly had waned, due to the immense pressure placed upon him by our open defence; leaving him with far too much to do, forcing him to make save after save with little respite. In response, our forward players; feeling anxious, pulled back too far on the rink and this shift in their positioning made it difficult for us to effectively counterattack in order to regain any control of the game. We found ourselves constantly pressed, unable to mount a strong offensive presence, we made a change on the right back position and this alongside another spurt of good form seemed to have a positive impact subduing the attacking flow towards the tail end of the match.
In this match, keeping formation was key to our team's performance and by not releasing the ball too early created more opportunities for us to build a stronger attacking game.
FULL TIME: 0 – 18 LETCHWORTH
SOHAM v BEDFORD GRIFFINS
In our third match of the tournament, our team came out with the same determination as before. However, this time, we displayed an added focus on maintaining our form and playing with more discipline. We successfully held off Soham's initial attacks and executed some impressive counter-attacks. The match quickly became incredibly exciting, with numerous ebbs and flows in the gameplay. It was truly a thrilling experience for both players and spectators alike to see how our Bedford Griffins were evolving in real time!
We showed great restraint in maintaining our form throughout the intense beginning of the first half. The game remained action-packed, with both teams showcasing impressive gameplay, Soham however, managed to take advantage of momentary lapses in concentration and as a result, we conceded a few goals in exactly the same manner to the nearside post of the goalkeeper. Despite this setback, we remained positive and determined, not allowing ourselves to be disheartened.
In the second half, we came out even more settled and focused. Our improved positioning on the rink allowed us to fend off attacks more effectively and allowed us to counter with more definiteness and after taking advantage of an interception, Gennaro received a long ball and swiftly played it to Kaylen. Despite being tackled, Kaylen showed great determination and won the ball back to then make a play around the back of the goal to score into the nearside post. Come on!
The griffins had stepped up a gear, our gameplay was finally falling into a rhythm. The nail-biting action in both halves had spectators on the edge of their seats, hearts pounding with anticipation as it was clear that every player was giving it their all. Soham came at us in waves making good use of the entire rink, slotting in a couple more goals in the process, but our bursts of pressure eventually resulted in another goal from ourselves. We pressed hard towards the end with the team bouncing off each other still amped, still pumped until the final whistle.
FULL TIME SCORE: 5 – 2 SOHAM
The coaching team is so extremely proud of the brilliant effort displayed by all our players. Their dedication and hard work are truly commendable and we couldn't have asked for anything more from the team. It was a remarkable performance that exceeded all expectations and we couldn't be more stoked and happy with the outcome.