It was President’s Day at Chester Road on Saturday. The sun was shining, and it was a day of expectation, awaiting news from the Men’s 1s away match against Cambridge City.
What a shame they didn’t have a home fixture, in front of the crowd of spectators, to celebrate their elevation to National League status, after they successfully secured a 4-1 win over the Cambridge team.
This promotion means, next season, Bedford will have both Ladies’ and Men’s sides playing within the National League, an amazing achievement for the Club.
In home matches, the day kicked off with wins on both pitches.
The Men’s 3s concluded their season with a great 4-2 win over West Herts, finishing their league run mid-table.
The first half of the Ladies’ 5s match, against Chiltern, saw both teams have chances, but neither succeed in opening the scoring.
Chiltern came out strongly in the second half, however, and a high-flying ball into the circle was picked from the air by a Chiltern forward and guided into the goal.
Bedford responded by upping their game and it wasn’t long before the equaliser came, from a beautifully worked short corner.
This was followed, soon after, by an almost identical goal, taking Bedford into the lead. Whilst Chiltern continued to make some challenging offensive runs, it was Bedford who added to their goal tally, 3-1 to Bedford.
The 5s still have a game in hand, so will be in action again next weekend for their final match of the season, against Saffron Walden.
Even with the game in hand, Bedford are sitting second in the table, above St Albans on goal difference, a position they will hold, and which will assure them promotion, unless they lose to Saffron Walden by more than thirteen goals.
The gathered crowd were delighted to a performance by the Ladies’ 1s. Unfortunately, despite chances, Bedford were robbed of goals by solid keeping from the Horsham goalie, Bedford having to settle for a single consolation goal.
3-1 to Horsham the final score. The ladies have one remaining match, next weekend, to close their season, away to second in the table Wimbledon.
The Ladies’ 3s, sadly, didn’t manage to make much headway, either, against higher in the table, Welwyn 1s, who took a decisive 4-0 victory over Bedford.
Although a few teams in the division still have matches to play, the 3s finish their action mid-table.
The Men’s Veteran’s game, against Bishops Stortford, was heard to be described as a ‘crowd-pleaser’. There was end-to-end action and goals-a-plenty.
Bedford were unlucky not to take the win, after going 5-4 up, but Stortford managed to tuck a last-minute goal away, levelling the score.
The Men’s 2s top of the table clash, with Bishops Stortford, promised to be an exciting battle. Whilst both were already guaranteed promotion, Stortford as league champions and Bedford sitting in second place, the desire to win by both teams was formidable.
The resulting match was a fiery encounter, but it was Stortford who had the upper hand, taking the win by 3 goals to 1.
In away matches, the Ladies’ 2s enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Ipswich. Bedford will be heading into the Premier League next season, after securing their promotion a few weeks ago.
The Ladies’ 4s finish a creditable fourth in their division, after back-to-back promotions for the past two seasons. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to finish the season with a win, going 3-1 down to Cheshunt.
The Ladies’ 6s, on the other hand, took Potters Bar with a 4-2 victory, the 6s looking to head into next season from a strong mid-table position.
The Ladies’ 7s weren’t in action this weekend, but their league run ended with them narrowly missing out on promotion, being runners-up to league champions, Tring.
The Men’s 4s made their prospect of promotion less certain, by going 2-1 down to Hertford. Had they won, their celebrations could, already, have begun.
Their loss, however, means they are going to have to wait for the outcome of a delayed match between Southgate and Berkhamsted, next Saturday, to know their destiny.
Provided Southgate don’t win that match by nine goals, Bedford can, then, let the celebrations commence.
The Men’s 5s, meanwhile, have already secured their promotion, by beating another Southgate team, Southgate Tankards, by 2 goals to 1 on Saturday.
Finally, the Men’s 6s rounded off their league run with a fantastic 5-1 victory over St Albans, finishing their campaign in a strong mid-table position.
President’s Day at the Club closed with some International action, as a Bedford Hockey Club Dads & Lads team took on Grand Masters, the Ireland O60s Men’s squad.
It saw end-to-end play, with the final result being an admirable 2-all draw.
Sunday was a chance for the Club’s juniors to demonstrate their talent, with a tournament over in Luton. The Under 8s entered two sides and their day ended with a Bedford v Bedford final, bringing home gold and silver.
The Under 10s, also, entered two sides, the Under 10A side showing some fantastic passing and team play to take the gold. High praise, also, went to the Under 10B side, who battled hard and didn’t give up against some stiff opposition.
The Under 16 boys, meanwhile, had a high scoring match away to Peterborough. Despite putting in a great performance, the final score saw Peterborough take the match 5 goals to 3.
As the season draws to its conclusion, Bedford Hockey Club is looking stronger than ever before. Hockey season starts, again, in September. Bring it on.