Ludlow Hockey Club
All reports written by David Hughes (Men's 1st GK)
SCORE Ludlow 1st 4 v Shrewsbury 1st 1
SCORER Andy Richards x2, Lawrence Richards, Craig Heath
Ludlow played host to county rivals in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Mids 1 game, Ludlow started the game in a confident manner, and it didn't take long for the home team to show their intentions, giving Shrewsbury very little time to control the ball. Ludlow's hard pressing style kept a constant pressure on the visiting defence, taking the early oppotunities to get shots on target. Shrewsbury were however always able to make a swift counter attack, keeping the Ludlow defence on their toes. After the first fifteen minutes Ludlow dropped the fast paced game and began to play a more individual style of hockey, allowing Shrewsbury a much firmer grip into the game, however neither side could break the deadlock in the first half. Halftime Ludlow 1st 0 v Shrewsbury 1st 0.
The second period saw Ludlow in a more determind state of mind, after a stern team talk at the break, and soon regained their upperhand in the tie. It was withg ten minutes gone in the second period that Ludlow made the break through, a fast attack switching the ball left to right opened up the away team defence, leaving a clear sight at goal for Ludlow, this after so many penalty corners had been left unconverted. Shrewsbury now played with extra detemination and when eventually the home team defence had a lapse in concentration the visitors struck, a well finished goal. It seemed for a while as though luck had deserted the home team again as effort after effort was either saved or went just past the post. In the last ten minutes Ludlow turned the corner and scored from open play three times in quick succession, sending the game out of sight of the visitors, Shrewsbury did get to attack again but without getting a clear sight of goal. The game ended withg the home team taking all the points in a very entertaining match. Final score Ludlow 4 v Shrewsbury 1, Ludlow's goal scorers were Andy Richards (2), Lawrence richards and recently signed ex Shrewsbury player Craig Heath, who was also voted as man of the match for the home team.
SCORE Bourneville 2nd 1 v Ludlow 1st 1
SCORER Lawrence Richards
CARDS Craig Heath = Green (technical), Matt Blount = Yellow (technical)
In the reorganised Midland Hockey league Ludlow played their first game in the WARWICK PRINTING West Mids 1 division against Bourneville 2nds, on a warm afternoon, Ludlow travelled to new opposition, and started slowly, taking in how the opposition would play, the home team had the better of the early fifteen minute spell, but despite the majority of the possession could not manage a serious threat to the Ludlow goal. After Ludlow had measured up the home team, they began to play hockey and soon turned the tide, exerting most of the pressure on the home team. Ludlow forced the Bourneville keeper into making several saves whilst maintaining a strong defensive line, limiting the home team to a single shot on the Ludlow goal in the first half, it was the home team more relieved when the half time whistle went, the game still scoreless.
The second half saw Ludlow carry on the dominance, restricting Bourneville to a rare trip to the Ludlow D, however it was one of these rare trips that saw a Ludlow defender make a clumsy challenge, resulting in a penalty stroke for the home team. Although the Ludlow keeper managed to reach the penalty it managed to drop across the line, giving the home team an undeserved lead. Ludlow showed the fighting spirit with which they have become accustomed, ten minutes and several shots later, Ludlow got the deserved equaliser, from Lawrence Richards, Ludlow piled on the pressure with shots hitting the frame of the goal and going over the bar, it was not to be Ludlow's day and the match ended in a draw.
With noticeable performances from the new boys on display, Craig Heath and Lawrence Richards, although not technically new, the futres bright the futures purple.
Final score Bourneville 2nd 1 v Ludlow 1st 1. next week sees Ludlow in action against county rivals Shrewsbury, Ludlow hoping for a repeat of last seasons results.
SCORE Stafford 0 v LUDLOW 3
SCORERS Sam Pratt, Stuart Richards, Tom Blount
Ludlow tavelled to Stafford for this WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division game, rearranged from two weeks ago, the match finally being played on a midweek evening, Ludlow missing a few experienced players started the game in a positive manor, the ball being passed around with pace and confidence. Ludlow lined up with all its experienced players set around the defensive positions, and only one of these players given the role up front, to inspire the junior members of the team, had a minimal number of attacks that had a real threat to them, but still enough to make Stafford take notice and be cautious, the home team however looked a much stronger threat, and on several occassions created chances only for the final touch to go missing, with neither keeper being really tested the first half was a battle of attrition. Both teams attacked but also had a strong mind on defending, the halftime score Stafford 0 v Ludlow 0.
The second half saw the visitors turn up the wick and were soon making life difficult for Stafford, with strong penetrating attacks down both flanks, pulling the home team wide allowing the Ludlow players to expose the centre of the pitch. Fifteen minutes into the second period Ludlow were awarded their first penalty corner of the game and when a well rehearsed routine was stopped illegally on the line up stepped Sam Pratt to convert the resuling penalty stroke, with even more vigour Ludlow went all out, causing the home team further and further back up the pitch. Ludlow's second penalty corner resulted in their second goal Stuart Richards, the injector, sending the ball over a prone keeper, Ludlow were playing with a real belief in their ability and it shone in the night sky, with only ten minutes to go Ludlow struck again, Andy Richards shhoting and the rebound fell to newby Tom Blount to send the ball home. Stafford were not finished and late in the game managed to register only their third shot on target in the entire game. Ludlow played a proffesional game towards the end of the match, slowing the ball down and taking it to safe areas of the pitch, to run the clock down. The final whistle went and confirmed Ludlow would finish fifth in the division, a remarkable result considering the mid season results and personnel changes, the nights man of the match was Sam Pratt, a close run thing with several of the players having strong claims to the honour.
SCORE LUDLOW 1 v Aldridge and Walsall 5
SCORER Ryan Fellows
Ludlow played host to Aldridge and Walsall, in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division match, the home team started the game well, with a strong possession game, not allowing the opposition to get any meaningful touches of the ball. Not getting the chance to shoot at the Aldridge goal, but laying siege to their twenty three meter area. With both team having nothing to play for, except pride, meant that a lack of urgency became apparent from the home team. It wasn't until twenty minutes had passed that Aldridge got a clear strike at the Ludlow goal, a well placed shot on the turn by a visiting forward saw the visitors take the lead, as the ball fired in just inside the post. Ludlow tried to get things back on level terms , but were unable to convert anything. At twenty five minutes Aldridge gained the first penalty corner of the game, and finished it high into the roof of the net, minutes later they struck again, a defensive error, rare this season gave the ball straight to Aldridges centre forward who rolled in past the last defender and keeper, making it three. The first half then dwindled out as neither team managed to make any other chances. Half time score Ludlow 0 v Aldridge 3.
The second half was in all essence a rerun of the first, Ludlow dominating possession, but unable to get a clear shot on target, Aldridge soaking up the attacks. With ten minutes gone in the half Aldridge broke the Ludlow defence and scored again, the home team only seeming to get bad luck, when the defence cleared the ball, the visitors stole it back and attacked again. Shortly before the midway point in the half, Aldrige sealed the result, again another defensive error cost the hopme team. Ludlow frustrated and anxious carried on attacking as best they could, without much success. The game went into a period of stalemate, with neither team able to get any real advantage. With only five minutes remaining, Ludlow had a relatively rare attack, hitting the post, the ball rebounding to Ludlow's Ryan Fellows who sent the ball under the visiting keeper, a late consolation goal, Ludlow continued to attack, but unable to add to the scoreline. Final score Ludlow 1 v Aldridge and Walsall 5, there was no man of the match as nobody stood out enough to warrant it. Ludlow travel to Stafford on Wednesday night to finish their league campaign.
SCORE West Bromwich 2 v LUDLOW 4
SCORERS Gavin Hughes x2, Stuart Richards, Andy Richards x1
Ludlow travelled to West Bromwich in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division game, on a freezing cold and snowy pitch, Ludlow started unconvincingly, the home team getting the better of the first five minute spell, but with no clear shot at the goal. West brom were awarded their first penalty corner early in the game, but a weak drag flick was no problem for the Ludlow defence to cope with. After ten minutes the West Brom forward found himself on the top of the Ludlow D closely marked and his back to goal, but a swift turn and well placed shot put the home team in front. Ludlow despite the weather conditions fought hard and ten minutes later were awarded their first penalty corner, up stepped Ludlow's aerial specialist Gavin Hughes to send the ball high past the static keeper into the roof of the net, with les than ten minutes left in the half Ludlow got their second penalty corner, a well rehearsed swith move saw injector Stuart Richards unmarked at the post and able to sweep the ball past a flailing keeper. Ludlow had several chances through open play but could not manage to find the net, this had not been a one sided contest, but a strong Ludlow defence kept the visitors at bay, only allowing a handful of attempts in the whole of the half. Halftime score West Bromwich 1 v Ludlow 2.
The second half was a stronger performance by the Ludlow team, and saw many more shots and chances from the visiting team, with ten minutes gone a ball came across the D only to be met by a pouncing Ludlow player, Andrew Richards, sending the ball home, extending the lead. Ludlow were a much better team now and soon started to dominate the pitch, halfway through the second spell, another penalty corner again saw Gavin Hughes send the ball hard and low past the keeper. With the pitch going from green to white and back to green, conditions were hard, eventually West Brom managed to get some attacks in place, eventually deflecting a shot past the Ludlow keeper. Shortly after this the heavens opened and the pitch became unplayable, with only eight minutes left the home team conceeded and the match ended short of time. Final score West Bromwich 2 v Ludlow 4, Ludlow's man of the match was Andrew Richards. With only two games left Ludlow are now well away from any relegation issues.
SCORE LUDLOW 7 v Shrewsbury 4
SCORERS Gavin Hughes(2), Adam Hayward(2), Stuart Richards, Jake Watts, Sam Pratt
CARDS Sam Pratt (Y)
Ludlow faced local rivals Shrewsbury in what proved to be a long awaited league match, at the fourth attempt and all ready to go both teams had fate against them when the pitch was double booked. A few phone calls later and an alternative pitch located, it was game on in this WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division tie. Ludlow started the game in a strong manner, taking the game to Shrewsbury, forcing the visitors into hurried play and not letting them settle with the ball, it only took five minutes for Ludlow to be awarded their first penalty corner, up stepped Ludlow's leading scorer Gavin Hughes to convert the goal with an almost unstoppable drag flick. Ludlow kept the pressure on giving Shrewsbury very few chances to attack, Shrewsbury did earn themselves a couple of penalty corners, but each time shooting wide. With ten minutes gone Shrewsbury struck back a vicious shot across the goal was saved by the Ludlow Keeper, only for the ball to drop to an unmarked attacker at the back post who fired the ball home. Ludlow now piled on the pressure, and soon were rewarded with another penalty corner, a rehearsed variation saw injector Stuart Richards fire the ball in from an acute angle, the home team relieved put even more pressure on the visitors, which paid off as Adam Hayward fired home, now with the lead a bit more secure, Ludlow passed the ball around with confidence, just before the halftime whistle Ludlow were again awarded a penalty corner, when the injection was slightly off target Sam Pratt received the ball made space for himself and shot past a sprawling keeper. Halftime score Ludlow 4 v Shrewsbury 1.
The second half was a very different affair and Shrewsbury spurred on by their team talk came out as a much more capable team, however it was Ludlow who struck first, deep lying forward Jake Watts ran into the 'D' from the right hand side moved the ball to his reverse and smashed the ball into the goal, Shrewsbury were not to be left behind and weree soon after awarded a penalty stroke, Ludlow had missed one earlier in the game, Shrewsbury didn't make the same mistake sending the ball high into the roof of the net. Ludlow were not going to give up their lead and within minutes had scored again, Adam Hayward getting his second of the game. Shrewsbury were definately not going to just lie down, and with a fast counter attack broke the Ludlow defence and when the ball was played in deflecting the ball from infront of the Ludlow keeper, again Shrewsbury attacked and when one of their forwards was in front of the goal and only the keeper in his way played the perfect shot, only this time at full stretch the keeper fingertipped the ball over the cross bar. Now with faith back in themselves Shrewsbury attacked again, with only ten minutes left they again broke the Ludlow defence and rounded the Ludlow keeper with an almost empty net they finished in style. Ludlow however still had their penalty corner routine, and with just over eight minutes to go were awarded another corner, again stepped up Gavin Hughes sending the ball to the opposite side of the keeper and into the back of the net. Ludlow now had to hold on as Shrewsbury were awarded numerous penalty corners, each one being blocked by the Ludlow defence, until time ran out for the visitors. Final score Ludlow 7 v Shrewsbury 4, Ludlow's man of the match was Jake Watts. Next week Ludlow go to league strugglers West Brom on Saturday and away to Stafford on Sunday.
SCORE LUDLOW 3 v Sihk Union (Coventry) 3
SCORERS Gavin Hughes, Stuart Richards, Adam Hayward
Ludlow played host to league leaders Sihk Union (Coventry), in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division, tyhe game started with both teams taking tentative probes at the opposition defence, the game was played at a fast pace, but both teams nulifying each other. It was at the ten minute mark that Sihk Union were awarded their first penalty corner, the Ludlow keeper saving the ball only for the rebound to fall to a waiting forward at the back post free to push the ball home. Minutes later the visitors gained another penalty corner, this time finished perfectly inside the post, the visitors now on fire soon made it three when they broke the Ludlow defence and touching the ball past a commited keeper. At this point it looked like a rout was about to take place. The home team though have never easily given up, and this was to their benefit, with five minutes left in the half Ludlow were awarded their second penalty corner of the clash, up stepped Ludlow's drag flicker Gavin Hughes, sending the ball fast and low past the keeper to bring the home team onto the score sheet. Halftime Ludlow 1 v Sihk Union (Coventry) 3.
The second half started with the home team on the defensive, Coventry struggled to get into the Ludlow D, but kept an almost constant presure on the defence. Again with ten minutes of the half gone Ludlow got back into their stride and applied sustained pressure to the visitors, the more Ludlow pushed the more desperate the visiting defence got, Ludlow found it hard to get clear shots away at the goal. Sihk Union Did break through the Ludlow defence only to end up shooting wide of the target, even the divisions top scorer couldn't find the target. As time went on the pace of the game increased to such a speed that players found it hard to keep up with the ball. With fifteen minutes left Ludlow gained a penalty corner, a deceptive routine saw Stuart Richards send the ball home, could Ludlow's reputation of comeback kings be deserved again?
With the bit between their teeth Ludlow went all out attack and as time went on more and more shots were taken, eventually Ludlow attacked the right flank, a ball driven across the area was met at the back post by Adam Hayward, converting the ball home. In the last minute Ludlow were awarded another penalty corner, the first shot saved by the keeper, the second cutely lifted only to be met by a desperate but spectacular clearance off the line. Final score Ludlown 3 v Sihk Union (Coventry) 3, Ludlow's man of the match was defender Matt Blount.
SCORE Solihull Blossomfield 1 v LUDLOW 0
Ludlow travelled to Solihull Blossomfield, for this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division clash. Travelling with the knowledge that this was going to be a really difficult test of the Ludlow team, it was not a surprise when Solihull started the game at a fast and furious pace, the home team had the early chances in the game, but each time coming up against a strong experienced defence, the home team only managing to get two tame shots at the goal, both being easily saved by the Ludlow keeper. Ten minutes into the game Ludlow started to put the home team under pressure, causing their defence to play pressurised almost panicky clearances, with both teams attacking at pace the game was sure to have goals in it. However there isa reason Solihull are second in the league, both teams defended well and neither could break the deadlock. Halftime score Solihull Blossomfield 0 v Ludlow 0.
The second half again was a fast flowing event, with both teams going flat out at the opposition, Ludlow now started to stamp their authority on the game and found themselves camped in the opposition half for long periods of time, it was halfway through the half when Solihull broke quickly and skillful play cut the Ludlow team to pieces, leaving a two on one with the last defender, with no option the Ludlow defender had to commit and was narrowly beaten by the attackers followed by the ball being just squeezed under the Ludlow keeper. Ludlow now went all out attack and caused the home team to defend desperately. Ludlow now laid siege to the home team but could not break through, the game finished with the visitors ruling the game. Final score Solihull Blossomfield 1 v Ludlow 0, Ludlow's man of the match was Matt Blount.
SCORE LUDLOW 3 v Redditch 2
SCORERS Adam Hayward (x3) Man of the match
Ludlow played host to Redditch in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere Division tie, the game started at a fast pace with both teams having strong attacks. It was Redditch that came close to opening the scoring, when Ludlow stopped the ball on the goal line, not to be outdone almost immediately Ludlow broke and saw in form Sam Pratt crash the ball against the crossbar from a reverse stick strike. The game was at this stage proving to be a very even contest. At the fifteen minute mark Redditch took the lead, a speculative shot from the right saw the ball rebound off the keepers foot, only to go to a Redditch forward, who slotted the ball home. Redditch now began to have more possession and when Ludlow thwarted another Redditch attack, went on a quick counter attack, the ball being sent to Ludlow forward Adam Hayward, his first shot into the keeper, when a defender attempting to get to the ball fell on top of his own keeper Hayward cooly punished the mix up. Ludlow had more defending to do and again with minutes remaining in the half saw Ludlow's quick pace send Hayward clear again, no need for a second attempt this time, pushing the ball past a spreading keeper. Halftime score LUDLOW 2 v Redditch 1.
Ludlow knew at the start of the second half, the next goal was going to be critical, so hard determind defending was the order of the day, sometimes desperate, but solid. Halfway through the half Ludlow went on the attack again, this time controlled passing down the right flank saw the ball worked along the base line, the pass across the 'D' was met at the back post again by Adam Hayward, turning the ball into the net. Redditch were desperate to get back into the game, making a lot of attacks and getting plenty of shots on target, with time running out, only five minutes remained when Redditch got one back, a scrappy goal, bouncing into the net, Redditch chased every ball, as Ludlow blocked every attack, eventually time ran out for the visitors as the final whistle went, a relieved Ludlow took all three points, final score LUDLOW 3 v Redditch 2.
SCORE Bromsgrove 3 v LUDLOW 2
SCORERS Adam Hayward (x2)
Ludlow travelled to Bromsgrove for the weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere Division clash, two teams that know each other too well, Ludlow started in promising form and took the game to the hosts, having the early chances, Bromsgrove came back into the game and always posed a threat. Ludlow held out for fifteen minutes, but when the ball was kicked past a defenders stick, unseen by the officials, Bromsgrove took the lead, this was followed ten minutes later by a break that saw the ball slotted past an out rushing keeper. the rest of the half saw both teams getting shots on target, but neither could add to the score. Halftime Bromsgrove 2 v Ludlow 0.
The second half was again a very even affair, with both sides getting numerous shots on target. the ball going from end to end, it was with fifteen minutes remaining that Bromsgrove struck again, the game seemed over to spectators, but Ludlow's never say die attitude came to the fore, with seven minutes left Ludlow struck, then with five minutes left Ludlow struck again, could Ludlow fight back again? Bromsgrove attempted to run down the clock, Ludlow wanted to attack, Ludlow came out on top, laying siege to the Bromsgrove goal, time ran out. Final score Bromsgrove 3v Ludlow 2. Man of the match Dave Hughes.
SCORE LUDLOW 2 v Berkswell & Balsall Common 3
SCORERS Gavin Hughes x2
Ludlow played host to Berkswell and Balsall Common in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division match, a game that saw two evenly matched teams going head to head, Ludlow started brightly and made several tentative advances into the opposition 'D'. The home team were again missing experienced players, meaning chances being missed. Berkswell however always had a threat and it was with ten minutes gone that the visitors struck, a penalty corner that was well defended saw the ball rebound to an unmarked forward who slotted the ball home. Ludlow are used to being behind recently, and experience told them not to panic and keep playing the same way, this paid off when at the twenty minute mark Ludlow were awarded a penalty corner, the home team flicker made short work of the set play and sent the ball into the Berkswell goal, their keeper being a spectator. Berkswell and Ludlow traded blows and with five minutes left in the half the visitors struck again, this time a fine display of 3D skills saw the ball in the back of the Ludlow net, again Ludlow fought back, in the last minute Ludlow earned another penalty corner again Gavin Hughes stepped up and bought it back level, halftime score Ludlow 2 v Berkswell and Balsall Common 2.
The second half saw Ludlow play as a much stronger outfit, giving the opposition hardly any time to attack. The home team dominated possession but didn't get too many chances to get a clear shot at goal, likewise the visitors would attack getting the ball into advanced positions only to have the ball turned over and instantaniously have to defend.Ludlopw looked the far more likely to score but with only minutes remaining, a rare visit into the Ludlow area saw the initial shot saved by the keeper, the rebound again falling to a visiting forward, who finished into the roof of the net. Ludlow chased the game down but were not able to pull the score back for a third time. Final score Ludlow 2 v Berkswell and Balsall Common 3. Ludlow's man of the match was Sam Pratt.
SCORE Aldridge & Walsall 1 v LUDLOW 2
SCORERS Gavin Hughes, Andy Richards
Ludlow travelled to Aldridge & Walsall for their second game of the weekend in the WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division. On a cold windy afternoon and with a makeshift team, missing four of saturdays side, it was evident from early on why the home side were higher in the league, Walsall had several early chances, only for the ball to be either saved or put wide, it was just before the midway point that Walsall struck lucky, a hopeful ball crashed across the 'D' a forward getting the faintest of touches and the ball ended up in the back of the Ludlow goal. Aldridge & Walsall had a couple of chances from penalty corners, Ludlow's defence too strong and experienced to fall for the tame attempts at goal. Ludlow only really had one chance in the half Andy Richards streaming forwards went straight for the goal with a shot but the Walsall keeper was ready for it. Halftime score Aldridge & Walsall 1 v Ludlow 0.
The second half was basically the same as the first, however Ludlow's rusty forwards, Tom Moseley and Tom Blount, who hadn't played for a few seasons held the ball well and kept the home defence on their toes, but not really getting a menacing shot on target. Walsall kept on hammering away at the Ludlow goal, and had one effort disallowed, but could not extend their lead. With ten minutes to go in the game Ludlow were awarded their first penalty corner, up steeped Ludlows captain and in form drag flicker, Gavin Hughes, who sent the ball rocketing past the keeper, the unbelievable had happened. Two minutes later Ludlow were awarded another penalty corner, change the play and when the first shot came to nothing a second shot fired in by Jake Watts saw a massive deflection by Andy Richards and the ball was in the back of the net again, Ludlow had turned the game on its head in a matter of minutes. Ludlow now defended with everything they had and took the ball deep into the opposition corners, to run the clock down, the plan worked, a relieved and exhausted Ludlow team heard the final whistle go, not a second too soon, final score Aldridge & Walsall 1 v Ludlow 2. Ludlow's man of the match Sam Pratt.
SCORE LUDLOW 1 v Market Drayton 1
SCORER Adam Hayward
Ludlow faced county rivals in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division clash, the game started well for the visitors, who took an arly grip on the game, and had the best of the early possession, not that Market Drayton didn't pose a threat, with a fast passing game, Ludlow looked the more dominant of the two sides. The pressure increased on Drayton as the umpiring decisions seemed to go against them and Ludlow got the early shots on goal. Drayton's first chance came when their centre forward made a telling run past Ludlow's last defender, only to be met by the keeper at the top of the area who stripped him of the ball. Ludlow carried on with their style of play, and halfway through the first period Ludlow struck, the ball being crashed past the keeper by forward Adam Hayward. Ludlow kept the attacks going and never really gave the home team many chances to shoot at the goal. Half time score Drayton 0 v ludlow 1.
The second half saw Drayton have a bigger part in the tie, making several attacks, and getting their shots in on target, only to be held by a strong Ludlow defence. Drayton should have had a penalty corner at the midway point when their forward was bundled off the ball, the umpire disagreed, but five minutes later, they were given the a penalty corner, a harsh decision, Drayton tried to get the shot away three times, each one being forced further round whilst trying to make the space, the eventual shot sqeezed just inside the back post. Ludlow carried on attacking, and nearly came unstuck when a long ball bounced through the defence, with Draytons forward in hot pursuit, only to be thwarted by an out rushing keeper. Final score Market Drayton 1 v Ludlow 1, a good performance however Ludlow a bit disappointed as having had so many penalty corners but not converting one. Ludlow's man of the match Dave Hughes.
SCORE LUDLOW 5 v West Bromwich 4
SCORERS Andy Richards, Stuart Richards (x2), Graham Hutchinson, Gavin Hughes
Ludlow played the first of two rearranged games in the WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division on saturday, a team devastated by the lack of availability and under new captaincy, everything seemed to conspire against the outfit. Ludlow started the game at a fast pace, trying to show the opposition that it was a full strength team, not one being short handed, the flowing hockey soon showed it was a positive move, when Andy richards wove his way through the opponents defence and slotted the ball past the keeper, five minutes gone and already leading. Ludlow carried on with their dominating performance and had a penalty corner hit the post, another just inches past the post, Ludlow could have been three up in the first ten minutes. West Brom seemed like rabbits in headlights at the attacking flare of the home team, however all good things come to an end, West Brom had a rare counter attack that broke the Ludlow defence and slotted the ball home, this spurred on the visitors who soo made it two, then three. Ludlow were never out of the game, but all the luck was with the visitors, fate was sealed when right on half time West Brom struck again, Halftime score Ludlow 1 v West Brom 4.
The second half saw Ludlow start the same way as the first half and soon began to boss the ball, West Brom again limited to rare counter attacks, but with both teams unable make the final ball count, it seemed as though stalemate had occurred, with fifteen minutes played, somebody flicked a switch in the Ludlow players, Stuart Richards broke down the left and fired a ferocious shot towards the goal, in the way a flapping defender who turned the ball past his own keeper. Ludlow attacked down the right having stolen the ball from the restart, only to find makeshift and injured forward Graham Hutchinson stood in the 'D' a defender tight on his shoulder, not a problem as he smashed the ball past the keeper. At the restart the same again this time attacking through the middle of the pitch, reward a penalty corner, up stepped Gavin Hughes this time crashing the ball against the cross bar, as the keeper flapped like a penguin trying to fly, seconds later another penalty corner Gavin Hughes flicking the ball over the keepers shoulder. Ludlow again stole the ball from the restart, again attacking the left and another penalty corner, Hughes dummied the flick, playing the ball to Stuart Richards who fired home, the immpossible had been done, from trailing badly to leading in just twelve minutes. Ludlow held out for the last five minutes and tookall three points. Final score Ludlow 5 v West Brom 4.
Ludlow played host to Stafford in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division match, the game started on a positive note for Ludlow with a strong passing game, all was going well until a Ludlow stick inside their own 'D' was mistaken for a foot, the resulting penalty corner being deflected by a defender over a diving keeper saw the visitors take the lead. Ludlow, who were missing some regular starting players had rearranged the team to cover the absentees, looked like a team in an unusual formation and struggled to cope with a set of fast forwards, and after twenty minutes found themselves conceeding another goal. Ludlow still had the belief that all was not lost and kept going to the halftime whistle. Halftime score Ludlow 0 v Stafford 2.
The second half carried on the same way, Stafford extending the lead early in the half, but Ludlow looking the more dangerous, with all the luck goi ng to the visitors and decisions being missed Ludlow fell behind even further, it now seemed that every attack Stafford had resulted in a goal. Ludlow ended the match very disappointed with their own performance and the general atmosphere of the day, with a blank week coming up, Ludlow have the chance to rest and recover, ready to come back revitalised. Full time score Ludlow 0 v Stafford 6.
Ludlow travelled to Sikh Union (Coventry) for this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midla Premiere division clash, Ludlow knew this was going to be a stern test of their ability, and began the match in fine form taking the game to the home team, despite this it was Sikh Union that had the first meaningful attack, a threatening ball across the 'D' had nobody to meet it at the back post, warned and aware Ludlow attacked as the best form of defence, with only five minutes gone the visitors first attack resulted in a penalty corner. Up stepped in form drag flicker Gavin Hughes, converting the set play, making the home defence by standers as the ball rocketed past a flapping keeper, the dream start appeared to be happening. Minutes later Ludlow's next attack again resulted in a penalty corner again Hughes' drag flick was goal bound but miraculously deflected off the line by a surprised defender, the third attack and the same outcome, this time a mix up saw the ball passed off the pitch, but with only ten minutes gone Ludlow were dominating the game. Sikh Union, always a threat were awarded a penalty corner after fifteen minutes, and converted past the Ludlow defence, a well taken goal. When the home team were awarded a free hit just outside the Ludlow area, the visitors slow to set up saw the ball taken quickly and fired the home team into the lead, minutes later another penalty corner and another goal, this time wrong footing the keeper. Ludlow were not to be outdone and when the visitors earned another penalty corner Hughes' drag flick was stopped by a defenders knee, the resulting penalty stroke was taken by Gavin Hughes and sent past a helpless keeper. With only five minutes to the break Sikh Union awarded another penalty corner, this time the Ludlow keeper blocking the shot, only for theme team captain to react first and fire the ball high into the visitors net. Halftime score Sikh Union 4 v Ludlow 2.
The second half had a slightly different script, the home team sent an aerial ball over the top of the Ludlow defence, saw two Sikh forwards against only one defender and the ball in the back of the net, five minutes played and not what Ludlow wanted. Another five minutes passed and the home team broke the visiting defence slotting the ball past an out rushing keeper, With the score now 6 v 2 many teams would have gone to damage limitation, thats not the Ludlow way and with the pressure stepped up Ludlow were awarded a penalty corner, just to mix things up the visitors changed their set play and up stepped Matt Blount, moving the ball past a defender followed by a crashing ball past a sprawled keeper. Ludlow now went full throtle and again a penalty corner saw Gavin Hughes convert the set play, making the keeper look like a statue. Ludlow sent players high up the pitch, only being outdone by a highly experienced team breaking down play, and cunningly wasting time, all the signs of a team knowing they are under threat. The final score Sikh Union 6 v Ludlow 4, according to the umpires, "a quality advert for midlands hockey and possibly the best game they had been involved with for years"
SCORE LUDLOW 0 v Solihull Blossomfield 1
Ludlow played host to Solihull Blossomfield in tyhis weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division, in a game that over the past few seasons has not been remembered for hockey, but more for it's discipline, both teams lined up for a hard and competetive tie. The first half was a very even event with both teams having to make the most of the few chances that arose, Ludlow's more from set plays and penalty corners, whilst Solihull had a few chances from open play, the nearest the visitors came was a quiccounter attack, bringing the Ludlow keeper into his only save of the half. Ludlow had the ball saved off the line twice and numerous shots blocked on the way to goal, as halftime drew close both teams knew they had survived a difficult encounter and were relieved to be going in to the break having not conceeded, Halftime Ludlow 0 v Solihull Blossomfield 0.
The second half was an extension of the first, both teams driving hard for a goal but also not wanting to let the opposition gain the advantage, Solihull made the Ludlow defence work a lot harder in this spell of the game, but an experienced group of players held strong, sometimes slightly fortunately. Ludlow continued to look for the opening, unable to find the cracks, but never giving up hope, Solihull managed to get a number of penalty corners, but Ludlow's defence kept clearing up and breaking down the visitors set plays.It was with only eight minutes eft that Solihull struck, a momentary lapse of concentration allowed Solihull's forward line to quickly break the Ludlow defencive line and squeeze the ball home on the second attempt as the keeper saved the first shot. Ludlow now went all out to get the equaliser, reduced to nine players many would have given up but not Ludlow, and when restored back to eleven it was attack, attack, attack, Ludlow however couldn't get through. The game ended with Ludlow losing, final score Ludlow 0 v Solihull Blossomfield 1, a harsh result for Ludlow, a draw would have been a fair result, Ludlow next face divisional leaders Sikh Union of Coventry next week, another hard match looks inevitable.
Redditch 2 v LUDLOW 3
SCORER Jake Watts (x2), Adam Hayward
Ludlow travelled to promoted Redditch for this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division fixture, the game started with the home team applying the pressure to Ludlow, with quick closing and chasing the Ludlow players with the ball, Redditch's pressure payed off with a number of early penalty corners awarded. Ludlow though had their fair share of the possession and looked threatening whenever they broke into the opposition area, it was with fifteen minutes remaining in the first half when Ludlow finally broke the deadlock, the ball being put into the net by Ludlow forward Jake Watts. The home team weren't affected by the Ludlow goal and continued to apply pressure where ever the ball was on the pitch, but the visitors managed to hold on to the lead to the break. Halftime score Redditch 0 v Ludlow 1.
The second half was a continuation of the first with possession being split evenly between both teams, Ludlow however always looked the more threatening, this wasn't the outcome when an aerial ball broke the Ludlow defence and the Redditch forward smashed the ball into the Ludlow net with twenty minutes left, Ludlow were stirred by this and only minutes later Ludlow regained the lead, an unrehearsed penalty corner being finished by Jake Watts again, his second of the day. Possession now went to and fro with neither side getting a real chance of adding to the score. With less than ten minutes left Redditch scored again from a harshly awarded penalty corner, it was now game on and again Ludlow responded with another impromptu penalty corner routine, this time the ball being fired home by Adam Hayward, freshly back from injury. The last five minutes saw Redditch trying to get another equaliser, awarded a penalty corner as the final whistle went, the game hung in the balance, but a determind Ludlow defence managed to keep the ball out and the match ended, final score Redditch 2 v Ludlow 3, this result sending Ludlow to second in division turned out to be a satisfying win.
SCORE LUDLOW 3 v Bromsgrove 3
SCORERS Gavin Hughes (x2), Andy Richards
Ludlow faced Bromsgrove in this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere Division tie, dlow were expecting a difficult game as they faced familiar foes. It only took a few minutes before this was confirmed when the visitors first attack resulted in a penalty corner, although the home team defended it well, Ludlow took the lead after nearly ten minutes with an unstoppable drag flick to the keepers left by Gavin Hughes. Unfortunately the lead didn't last long as Bromsgrove opened the home defence followed by a reverse flick bouncing into the goal off the far post, the game then went into a state of fast flowing hockey from both teams, but neither being able to get an advantage, with ten minutes left in the first half Bromsgrove struck from a penalty corner,the first shot being saved but the follow-up was too much, Ludlow fought hard and in the dying minutes pulled the scoreline back as Andy Richards steered Ryan Fellows' shot past a lunging defender, halftime score udlow 2 v Bromsgrove 2.
The second half was again a battle of attritian with both teams being reduced in number temporarily for foul play, halfway through the second spell Bromsgrove scored again, a rare attack being turned in by a diving forward squeezing the ball in again. Ludlow now turned up the pressure as a determind side went all out for the equaliser, at times being camped inside the opposition twenty three meter area, the pressure proved too much for the visitors, eventually a penalty corner awarded again up stepped Gavin Hughes with an even better drag flick than his first, this time leaving the keeper a spectator as the ball flew past him, this time to his right. Ludlow finished the game as a much stronger unit, having the visitors making panic tackles and being exposed all over the pitch, the final scoreline Ludlow 3 v Bromsgrove 3, Ludlow feeling slightly hard done by for their effort, but a good result knowing the opposition so well.
SCORE Shrewsbury 3 v Ludlow 4
SCORERS Vijay Chumber x2, Gavin Hughes, Ryan Fellows
Ludlow travelled to Shrewsbury for this weeks WARWICK PRINTING West Midland Premiere division match, Ludlow started the game slowly, and soon found themselves under pressure from an experienced Shrewsbury attack. Although Shrewsbury were the stronger team they found it hard to break through Ludlow's determind defence, with both teams not prepared to sit back it was inevitable that there would be goals in this match, it took Shrewsbury fifteen minutes to get on the scoreboard, making the most of a second shot from a penalty corner. The game went to and fro with both sides getting chances, but with less than ten minutes left in the first half Shrewsbury struck again, as the Ludlow defence stepped forward the home team poppup to force the ball into the Ludlow net, minutes later Shrewsbury struck again, making it 3 v 0 at halftime.
Ludlow began the second half in a much stronger frame of mind, and within minutes forced a penalty corner, this resulted in Ludlow's captain Vijay Chumber scoring past a diving Shrewsbury keeper. Shrewsbury took the restart and immediately Ludlow stole the ball back, with a fast counter attack Ludlow were awarded a penalty corner, after many retakes a penalty stroke was awarded and Ludlow vice aptain Gavin Hughes stepped up to put an unstoppable flick away. Five minutes later Vijay Chumber slotted home again from another penalty corner, a great comeback had been achieved, with both teams attacking but not getting a meaningful shot away it seemed a draw was on the cards until Ludlow new signing Ryan Fellows took the ball off a Shrewsbury stick on his own 25 M line and sprinted three quarters of the pitch, as the Shrewsbury keeper closed the player down the Ludlow attacker lifted the ball past him and into the net, any extraordinary finish to a brilliant game.
Final score Shrewsbury 3 v Ludlow 4.
SCORE Belper 3 v Ludlow 2
SCORERS Gavin Hughes, Ryan Fellows
Ludlow made the long journey to Belper in this years England Hockey competition, on a warm day Ludlow found themselves under early pressure, and after fifteen minutes had gone behind to a well worked penalty corner, leaving the defence helpless to stop the ball going into the goal, ten minutes later Ludlow's defence were opened up again this time resulting in a penalty stroke.. Belper spent a lot of their time sitting back deep in their own half and only trying to play on the counter attack. Halftime score Belper 2 v Ludlow 0.
The second half saw Ludlow try to get a hold on the game, always looking dangerous but being unable to get through the eleven man defence of Belper. Ludlow finally broke through on the ten minute mark, with a drag flick to the back post, Belper remained patient and were again awarded a penalty stroke, Ludlow again pushed to get back into the game and their efforts were paid off with seven mimnutes left, now Ludlow went looking for the equaliser, still having to defend, forced penalty corner after penalty corner, until final time was called, the last action of the game being Belper clearing the ball off the goal line, to save their scoreline.
Final score Belper 3 v Ludlow 2.
SCORE Ludlow 4 v Market Drayton 1
SCORERS Adam Hayward x3, Ryan Fellows
Ludlow started this seasons WARWICK PRINTING West Midlands Premiere division league campaign as hosts to county rivals Market Drayton, the visitors took an early lead when they converted a penalty corner in only the third minute of the game, Ludlow had made a poor opening to the match and seemed to be stirred into action, responding with a goal of their own minutes later. The rest of the half was a fairly even affair, both teams having plenty of shots, but not being able to add to the scoreline. Halftime score Ludlow 1 v Market Drayton 1.
The second half started as tyhe first had finished, but was soon to change when cards started to be produced. Ludlow stayed disciplined and at ten minutes gone took the lead for the first time, Luno started to dominate and forced Drayton back into their own half, at twenty minutes gone, Ludlow struck again. The pressure was now piled on by the home team and shortly before the final whistle all paid off with Ludlow scoring again, all the Ludlow goals were scored by their new signings, Adam Hayward scoring three and Ryan Fellows getting the fourth. Full time score Ludlow 4 v Market Drayton 1.
Next week Ludlow travel to county rivals Shrewsbury, hoping to continue their form.
SQUAD Vijay Chumber, Dave Hughes, Gavin Hughes, Stuart Richards, Graham Hutchinson, Brenden Pratt, Jake Watts, Sam Pratt, Ryan Felllows, Andrew Richards, Ieuan Hutchinson, Adam Lee
SCORE Ludlow 7 v Hereford 1
SCORERs Stuart Richards, Graham Hutchinson, Sam Pratt (x2), Vijay Chumber and Adam Lee
Ludlow played hosts to local rivals Hereford in this weeeks 'friendly' match, in what is normally a close encounter, saw the home team take a strong and positive attacking style of play from the start oof the game, and although Hereford always had a threat, managed to nulify any chances that Hereford could muster, an impressively strong demonstration of how to defend limited Herefords threat to only two 'on target' shots in the first half, both times the Ludlow keeper staying strong. Ludlow dominated the half, at the twenty five minute mark, all the home teams dominance paid off with Ludlow taking the lead. The strong performance continued and it was on the stroke of half time that Ludlow extended the lead, when a enalty corner saved by the keeper fell to a Ludlow player who instinctively drove the ball into the net. Half time score Ludlow 2 v Hereford 0.
The second half was a slightly more even affair, with Hereford making a contest of it, however Ludlow's defence remained strong and gave the visitors very few chances to threaten the Ludlow goal. with half of the second period gone Ludlow struck again, and within minutes made it four. With quarter of the match remaining Hereford made an attacking break, making the most of a five on three attack, getting a goal back, although Ludlow's defence nearly scrammbled away the chance. This stirred Ludlow on and quickly became seven, with attack after attack being converted. Ludlow's biggest problem was knowing when to stop attacking and just control possession.
The final score Ludlow 7 v Hereford 1, a dominating performance with real promise for the coming season, next week Ludlow face a Stourport team in a final test before returning to league hockey
SQUAD Vijay Chumber, Dave Hughes, Gavin Hughes, Brenden Pratt, Graham Hutchinson, Sam Pratt, Jake Watts, Ryan Fellows, Adam Lee, Andy Richards, Ieuan Hutchinson.
SCORE Droitwich 1 v Ludlow 7
SCORER Andy Richards 3, Adam Lee 2, Graham Hutchinson, Ieuan Hutchinson.
Cards Brenden Pratt ( Green), Gavin Hughes (Yellow) technical.
Ludlow travelled to local rivals Droitwich for this pre season friendly, and started in a positive manner, getting a feel for the opposition strengths. After five minutes, during which time Droitwich demonstrated an inability to pose any serious threat Ludlow started attacking. With only ten minutes gone Ludlow took the advantage with their first real attack of the game, this was followed by a display of predatory hockey, Ludlow added another three goals in ten minutes, showing no compasion to Droitwich, Ludlow carried on with the barrage of attacks, and never gave the home team the chance to get out of their own half, Droitwich would have been relieved when the halftime whistle went and the score only 4 v 0, this could have been 14 v 0.
The second half started with Ludlow easing off the pace, it took Ludlow just over ten minutes to add to the score. Ludlow persisted on their attacking play and with numerous shots either being saved or just missing the target. It was Droitwich who got the next goal, when a harshly awarded penalty corner was finished at the second attempt, this being the first of only two shots on target by Droitwich, in fact only two shot in total. Ludlow were spurred on by this and struck twice in quick succession towards the end of the match. Ludlow in this mode of play will be a match for most teams in the area, and things are looking promising for this season. The final score was Droitwich 1 v Ludlow 7.