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Devonport Services 2 - Bude Men 1 02/02/2019

Bude headed down to South Devon amid fears of a frozen pitch, but the home side were adamant that the surface would be playable; and after some rigorous pitch cleaning and bright sunshine, the game got under way on time.

Unfortunately the hockey, and according to Bude, the umpiring, did not match the glorious weather. Devonport started well as a re-organised Bude defence struggled to adequately mark all the players which created a number of close chances, none of which were taken.

After some heated on-pitch discussions, Bude sorted out their defensive inefficiencies and began to turn the tables by dominating in midfield. This created some good attacking opportunities but similar to Devonport, Bude could not find the back of the net.

As a very physical battle for midfield supremacy ensued, neither side were able to flow as poor umpiring decisions began to mount up – frustrating both sides and constantly disrupting play, so it was little surprise that the scores remained level at half-time.

Despite a warning from the umpires at the break that they would not tolerate anymore physical contact, they continued to let things go with warnings, and as much as Bude remained well disciplined, they came off worse from the umpires decisions as Devonport’s whinging seemed to be paying them dividends and eventually led to their first goal being scored.

Bude dug really deep to step up the work-rate as a unit both on and off the ball and were finally rewarded as a quick ball from defence found Henry Gwynn-Thomas on the halfway line; a neat tight turn under pressure saw him break free and run unopposed all the way up the pitch, and as the keeper slid out to stop him he took a couple of steps sideways and fired home the equaliser.

The Cornishmen continued to play on the front foot as epitomised by the faultless man-of-match Noah Reeves, who was in sparkling form with sublime passes, movement and silky stick skills meaning he was able to get past many players with relative ease.

The visitors continued to be frustrated as they felt a number of infringements from Devonport went unpunished while their own fouls were called up.

In the final five minutes, two clearly, good defensive clearances were both severely punished with short corners. Given how things had gone, it was of little surprise that Devonport managed to score from the resulting scruffy short corner which effectively killed off the game and allowed them to take all three points.

Bude, who are now fifth, will have to try to erase this game and move on quickly as they need more vital points to remain safe in this competitive league.

Their first chance to do so comes on Saturday when sixth-placed Ashmoor A are the visitors to Budehaven School (2.30pm).



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