Saturday, February 29

Verde Recreo Hockey League

Southern Two

Taunton CS 8

Bude’s makeshift side put in an excellent effort against the challenging weather conditions and league leaders but this game went the way of the formbook as Bude came out second best in a 12-goal thriller which sees them drift back into the relegation drop zone with just three games left to go.

Bude started well with good possession but were soon undone when an optimistic aerial ball over the top by the Taunton defence found a striker in the D who controlled the ball then swung a reverse half volley shot past Andy Davis and into the back net.

A second soon followed as sustained pressure from multiple short corner routines told as the ball was fired in low and hard, evading the keeper and defender on the line.

It was soon three as a near perfect penalty flick was dispatched from the spot as it went in off the crossbar into the top corner, Taunton’s fourth followed not long after as the ball was forced home at the back post from close range to complete a devastating first-half performance in attacking prowess by the hosts.

Despite the scoreline Bude were optimistic during their half-time team talk as they had been competitive in all areas including possession, territory and attempts on goal, but were just lacking on the conversion rate.

After a promising start they slipped further behind as a Taunton counter attack was finished with similar effect to those in the first-half to extend the score to 5-0.

Bude kept battling and were rewarded when Thomas Hall completed one of his trademark runs through the middle, finishing with a low reverse stick strike.

Bude held firm withstanding the Taunton attack, most notably with a spectacular and nonchalant goal-line clearance by Kristof Saunders from a goalbound short corner drag flick.

Jared Slade then gave Bude further hope as he embarked on a sparkling run down the right wing, evading numerous defenders on his way to the D from where he calmly finished to complete his lovely solo move.

Storm Jorge then moved in with vicious winds whipping across the pitch closely followed by driving sleet and hail, creating some tough playing conditions which led to a lapse of concentration and communication on Bude’s behalf as poor defensive clearances were pounced upon by the Taunton attack to put them four ahead again at 6-2. This was closely followed by another Taunton goal, making it 7-2.

As quick as the storm came in, it went again to be replaced by bright sunshine and blue skies. This allowed the final flurry of goals.

First up was Hall to reduce the deficit only for Taunton to respond with their final goal, but the last say went to Bude’s man-of-the-match Slade, who displayed a lovely combination of skills with sheer determination and pressure to bag his second from the tightest of angles and admiration from the home side who commented that it was the most goals they have conceded in a single game all season and meant the second-half performance was a more realistic 4-4 draw.

Bude now face the prospect of a huge derby game on Saturday (2.30pm) when Bodmin visit.

Although Bodmin face relegation, they can come and play with no pressure and a freedom as they try to seek revenge for the loss in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season; conversely it is a must-win game for Bude if they are to keep their hopes of survival alive and the pressure on the teams above them as they enter a crucial final few games of another nailbiting season.