Young Leighton Buzzard hockey teams delighted to be back in competitive action
Youngsters play first games for more than 18 months due to the pandemic
Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club were back in action at the weekend after the long break for the pandemic.
The U14 Boys embarked on the season with their first competitive fixture as part of the England Hockey East Region Junior League.
This was the first time they’d played together as a team and for some this was the first foray into an 11-a-side game on a full-sized pitch.
The Leighton Buzzard boys came out hard and fast against Blueharts with an early goal from Charlie Thomas , but their opponents soon replied.
David Galloway regained the lead as the action on the pitch was relentless.
The pressure continued into the second half and after some fine hockey on the right flank a deflection from the goal keeper’s pads was neatly picked up by Lewis Barlow for 3-1.
With plenty of pitch time remaining and an opposition team having not turned up, Leighton Buzzard and Blueharts played a further friendly game, with an early goal for captain George Hull in a 1-1 draw.
A great start to the season and the league from the U14 Boys who now look forward to some friendly fixtures in the coming weeks and more league games prior to Christmas.
Under 12 Girls: The current crop of Leighton Buzzard U12 girls played their first ever inter-club fixtures on Sunday after a gap of two years.
These consisted of two 7-a-Side In2hockey fixtures against Berkhampstead and Hemel Hemstead HC and St. Albans HC. Game one was against a BHHHC team who started strongly, with spirited defence by Emily Bennet, Sopie Thackrah and Annabel Web, allied with goalie Ms A Ayers.
The second half saw Evie Hull spearhead a three-pronged attack with Anna Drohan and Jemima Dyer.
This threesome provided BHHHC with a constant threat. With two minutes to go LBHC gained a penalty corner. Although the keeper created a great save, the balls fell to Anna who passed to Evie to score for a 1-0 victory.
The second game was against a more experienced St Albans team.
The LBHC team battled bravely during the first half against stronger oppositionwho scored twice.
The second half saw the LBHC U12s rearrange the defence with a core of Emily Bennett, Elise Resson and Georgia Lai-Kit.
This, along with Amy Brigden as a holding midfielder ensured St Albans didn’t add to their lead and Jemima Dyer amd Anna were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet.
This was the first set of games against other clubs and LBHC responded with both skill and enjoyment.
Under 12 Boys: Dylan Morrison was captain in the triangular tournament against BHH and St Albans.
Against BHH they passed the ball around with confidence and won 3-0 with goals coming from Henry Jackson, Jacob Crutchfield and Zachary Fitzboydon.
They knew that the game against St Albans was likely to be tougher and it was more of a test, requiring Jacob Ford (GK) to make some critical saves and clearances. They soaked up the pressure and Player of the Match Zachary Fitzboydon scored both goals in a 2-0 win.
Sam Smith, Sebastian Fitzboydon Nathan Bellamy and Sam HC worked hard throughout and it was a super team effort. Thank you to Theo and Anna Carter for umpiring.
Under 8s: The Under 8s turned up at Shefford and Sandy for their first tournament of the season full of enthusiasm and energy.
They started their first game well against Bedford B and were soon three goals up following a hat-trick from Annabel Atkins for a 3-0 win.
Their next game was against Luton, who were soon on the attack. Strong defending from Luke Smith, Lizzie Sigger and Sophie Dewhirst kept them at bay for the first half. Soon after though Luton were two goals up. Leighton pulled one back from Annabel following good work by Emilia Stafford and Ben Bellamy.With a minute left, Annabel equalised for 2-2 and Ben hit the post with the last hit of the game.
Against hosts Shefford and Sandy, Leighton played their best game of the tournament with goals from Annabel, Sophie and Emilia to win 3-0.
Some great team work and it could have been a lot more. .
Leighton started well in the last group game against Bedford A and were soon two goals up, thanks to Annabel. But Leighton tired after a long morning and lots of effort being put in by everyone.
Unfortunately Bedford scored four goals on the break as Leighton went searching for goals themselves. 4-2 down, Leighton woke up and continued to play for each other and a brilliant move involving Sophie, Lizzie and Emilia was finished by Annabel for 4-3. Chances came and went. Leighton were unlucky not to get an equaliser.
Thanks to other results going their way, Leighton played Bedford A in the final. They were soon one goal up, thanks to Annabel again. The last eight minutes was all Bedford pressing for an equaliser, but superb defending from Luke, Ben, Lizzie and Sophie kept Bedford at bay and Leighton were champions.
Under 10s: The Under 10s were excited ahead of their final competitive games for 18 months.
Leighton started strongly against Shefford and Sandy with Ollie Kent and Azura Munnelly unlucky not to get the first goal. Shefford and Sandy came back into the game and soon scored a couple of goals. Some strong defending from Cameron Thackrah, Arianna Brennan and Ellie Smith kept them from scoring more for a 2-0 win.
Luton were soon one goal up. Leighton were not to be deterred and hit back with a great goal following brilliant passing from Lucy Wilson and Ollie, Toby Prudames. Luton hit back and scored two more resulting in a 3-1 defeat.
Straight from the start, Leighton were on the defensive against Olney. Good work from Toby Sigger and Arianna stopped their forwards. But the pressure soon told and Olney won 2-0.
In the second game against Shefford and Sandy, Leighton started to tire. Shefford’s pass and move hockey continued to tire Leighton. Their goals came when Leighton concentration waned to end 4-0.
Against Luton, Leighton were unlucky not to win with Ellie, Ollie and Lucy all having chances to score. The defence of Cameron, Toby and Ariana held firm until the last two minutes when Luton snapped a 1-0 victory. A great performance from Leighton.
Last up was Olney again. Leighton played some wonderful hockey. Azura scored following great work by Ollie and Toby. Leighton were unlucky to concede four goals to go down 4-1.
A good lesson with lots of positives from their first competitive games. Their commitment and ability to play the game with a smile was second to none. The players should be proud of their efforts.