Basingstoke Bluefins Match Report

Basingstoke A 13 vs 7 Andover

  1. Mike Sheath
  2. Chris Wintle
  3. Alex Pullen
  4. Jake Cleverley
  5. James Stone
  6. Dave Trewhella
  7. Trace Morgan
  8. Steve Fairhead
  9. Simon Almond

10. Matt Girle

11. Trevor Jones

Basingstoke Bluefins began their first game back after the summer break with a friendly against Andover, local rivals and also a good team to play against. After spending the summer getting some serious fitness training and tactical coaching from the recently appointed head coach Iain Masson, Basingstoke were more than ready and extremely up for the game, it would just be a case of finding out just how much of an improvement there had been on the team since the last time they played.

Fortunately, the game started heavily in favour of the home side, who scored 5 unanswered goals in the first quarter, with 2 goals each for veteran goal scorer Dave Trewhella and powerhouse Trevor Jones, and a single goal from a player making a triumphant return to the team after a long absence, the one and only Steven Fairhead showing he hasn’t lost any of his confidence and skill in front of goal.

Andover got back into the game in the second quarter, after being stunned by the blitz that had been inflicted in the first. 3 goals from Andover were only answered by two for the home side, another from Fairhead and a first for Simon Almond, who was an extremely influential playmaker in the pool that night. The hosts finished the first half 4 goals ahead.

Half time score: 7-3

Things began to even out in the beginning of the second half, as Andover changed tactics, which seemed to throw the home side for a while, before they regained their composure and stabilized the game, keeping Andover at bay but not making much headway themselves. There was however some critical defending from players like Chris Wintle and James Stone, the latter who is steadily showing the true potential he has yet to achieve as an extremely useful pit defender, certainly one to watch for the future. Basingstoke began to utilise their wing men more as the game went on, and showed the potential there for some good breaks down the wings leading to some good goals in the pit. Some especially good swimming came from Jake Cleverley and Matt Girle, who both began to deliver some good passes into the pit on a more regular basis. This third quarter finished with the score difference the same, both teams scoring 3 goals. For the home side these goals came courtesy of a double for Simon Almond, and a single goal from vice-captain Trace Morgan, making a break from the back to show he can attack just as well as he could defend.

As the final quarter began, Basingstoke noticeably settled into the formation and instructions given to them by the coach, players we getting back and defending well, leaving keeper and captain Mike Sheath to deal with only a few shots, and to mop up and gaps in the defence that rarely occurred. Some good defending was shown also by Alex Pullen, proof that the juniors were making full use of their chance to play in the A team, and to try and show that given time they could become more regular in the team, as they all have to potential to be players of a high enough quality. Another two goals from Trevor Jones and one from James Stone, well deserved after a good performance, meant Basingstoke finished the game after a strong quarter, and with a lead of 13 goals to 7.

Final Score: Basingstoke 13-7 Andover

Feedback:

From the captain, Mike Sheath: ‘A good start to the season with a friendly that really showed just how strong a team we are. Some good finishing, and ruthless attacking really meant that we took the game to andover. We just need to make sure that we don’t lose any intensity over the course of the game and let the other team get back into it, and also need to learn to look around the pool before going to pass the ball to make sure that we pick out the best pass available, as there were times when passes were going where they shouldn’t, because there was someone else available who had a lot of space. Things to work on, but definitely an impressive start.’

From the coach, Iain Masson: Basingstoke Senior Mens team friendly against Andover provided the opportunity to explore the number of practices they had learned over the summer against real opposition. It also tested how hard they had worked in training. Against this I felt that discipline and focus during the match was good (Charter appears to be working!!) this early in the season with ball handling skills showing a element of improvement over short distances. Although the longer two metre type passes around the arc are still in need of development. Teamwork was generally good and the more junior members of the Senior Mens team coped well with the pressure of a strong Andover side and expectations from within the team. Naturally change overs we difficult for the players. But they stuck to the task and this should get better with more practice. I was pleased at the attitude and behaviour towards the diamond formation/tactics we have adopted. It certainly worked in the first quarter. But we need to remember that this is only one type of tactic we can adopt and we equally need to recognise when the other teams change theirs to counter ours. This did cost us a few goals. The historic man up and man down also being particulary in need of some work at training. All in all, a 13 - 7 win against nearly a full Andover side I thought was a very satisfying result. We must continue to build on our learning against Bournemouth this Sunday.’

Thank you and well done to all who played!

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