Match reports for the 2015/16 season are now in the Pilgrims Booklet 2016 which may be accessed on this website.
Sunday October 2nd -Haileybury 6’s annual tournament
After a shaky start to the morning with the designated bus driver’s alarm not going off and the bus still not collected, we finally set off full of 9 eager Pilgrims hockey players.
As always we received a warm welcome by one of the tournament organisers and OS, Andy Searson who eased us into the tournament with a game against arguably our biggest West Country rival, Bryanston.
A strong start to the game resulted in us going 2-0 up early on in the game, with a fine finish from Jack Hamshaw at the top of the D, followed by a fairly straight forward (but crucial) tap in from Ed Bacon. Bryanston pulled one back, but too little too late as the final whistle went. 2-1 win to the Pilgrims.
Our second game was against St Albans who fielded a team with an average age 10 years our senior. This didn’t stop them from having some talented and potential club players from running circles around our defence resulting in a goal with 2 minutes to play. However a Pilgrims goal in the last minute would have levelled the game had the referee allowed advantage to play on. An unfortunate loss 1-0 and some polite words to the referee from Jamie Guerin to follow.
With Group B having too many teams, Clifton were moved over to our Group, and our next opposition! We were keen to get another scalp from an old school rival, and looked set to do so with George Mann setting the Pilgrims up nicely with a well scored short corner move. No goals to follow for either team resulting in a big win for us.
Felsted our final game, and a win needed to progress past lunch and into the play offs. They fired right out of the blocks with a 1st minute goal that not even our 6ft 3 keeper Alfie Heath had anyway of getting anywhere near. A fine goal from Alex Pusinelli levelled the score as he snuck it through a tight angle between keepers pad and post, but unfortunately the levelled score was short lived as they continued to dominate up front. Some fine defending from Charlie Carline and Ed Bonnell couldn’t keep them from scoring two goals in the last 6 minutes and sending us packing.
At least we could make the most of a delicious Haileybury lunch and get back in time for the final day of the Ryder Cup. Once again a really super day out and within a week we were signed up for the 2017 Haileybury day.
Sunday March 26th 2017 v The School at Sherborne
On a glorious weekend we headed down to Sherborne for some sport and the Pilgrims Annual Supper on Saturday evening when we bonded over some fine steak washed down with some Tribute and Carlsberg in the Old School Room. A quick rendition of the Carmen to rouse the lads and a couple more pints down the Digby Tap and we were suitably prepared.
Our team comprised of a good mixture of old boys with some younger lads still playing at University which certainly aided the old faithful from 09 . In the absence of Will Smibert (unfit) Ed Bonnell took the captaincy in his stride and started up talk of a diamond formation to the amusement of some but two minutes in and we were 1:0 up thanks to a fantastic strike from Hugh Willis. Bonnell’s tactics were spot on . We looked fluent and were passing with unusual precision whereas the School looked lost and out of sorts, perhaps still feeling the effects from a loss to Millfield the day before. We increased our tempo and three more unanswered goals from Jack (2) and Sam threatened to see the game run away from the School with one Pilgrim supporter even asking if we were on for a cricket score. However the School struck back with one goal after which match manager Will Smibert (although strictly speaking off games due to injury) came on for a welcome cameo appearance and soon showed his skill in earning a a penalty flick, executed by Ed Bacon but on this occasion misdirected. The School still fought away and with some slick play they were back into the game with two more goals to apply some late pressure. However Ellwood and Carline, who dominated the midfield possession, created the build up leading to a neat goal from Hugh Willis although less spectacular than his first ! The School managed one more goal before Jack netted third goal to seal an excellent victory.
As always we thoroughly enjoyed coming back to play against the School who may have been a little weary as they came to the end of their season. A fine game played in good spirits and no doubt the School will be seeking revenge next year.