BUZZING after two consecutive promotions, Bicester Hockey Ladies first team (L1) continued their run of form in their first league game of the season by winning 4-0 at Sonning.
The team were rewarded for their superb performance last season by being named the Cherwell Sports Team of the Year 2012 at a ceremony in the Spiceball’s Leisure Centre in Banbury.
Playing in the Trysports Prem 1 for the first time, Bicester’s ever-changing squad meant a debut for juniors Grace Jullier and Ruth Thomas while Lisa Ryan was named captain.
Right from the start Bicester pressed and harried Sonning and deservedly took the lead after missing several chances.
The goal came from the stick of Kath Ryan as her sweetly-struck shot found the goal from a short corner.
Bicester wasted little time in doubling their advantage as this time a short corner was deflected in off a Sonning stick.
Despite trailing 2-0 at half time, Sonning started the second half strongly and battled well but they could do little about Ella Weston’s first goal for Bicester when she turned in Venning’s cross.
Bicester’s determined back line were rarely put under pressure until the end when a series of Sonning shot corners forced Bicester to defend well.
With the game nearing full-time, a string of slick one-twos between Ella Weston and Kath Crook resulted in the latter slotting in a fourth and final goal.
Meanwhile, Bicester Men’s first team (M1) got their season under way with a tight 3-2 victory against Wokingham in a game they dominated for large periods.
They looked strong from the start with centre-midfielder Andy Brown controlling play and helping his side to create numerous chances.
After wasting several short corners, Bicester eventually took the lead when Roy Carter blasted home from Jonny Reid’s fizzed ball across goal.
However, Bicester failed to capitalise further on their dominance and they were made to pay when Wokingham equalised towards half time.
The visitors then took advantage of a lacklustre Bicester side after the interval to take the lead after a defensive lapse.
But Bicester fought back and levelled with new recruit Ad Drewitt smartly finishing Reid’s pass.
Now on the front foot, the hosts pushed for a winner and it came not long before full-time when Reid rounded the defence and found Drewitt who applied a simple finish. .
Elsewhere, Bicester Men’s third team had a far easier path to victory as they defeated Phoenix & Ranelagh 5-1.
Despite fielding a weakened team, Bicester took control of the game and raced into a 3-0 half time lead after goals from Pete English, Chris Birch and Trevor Joseph with Steve Birtles, Alan Edwards and Graham Harmon all contributing.
It took two minutes for Bicester to add a fourth in the second half before Gordon Brass scored a fifth against a solitary Phoenix goal.
Also in action were Bicester’s development team as they defeated Abingdon M3s 3-2.
Goals from S Eliston and S Winspear put Bicester into a 3-0 lead at the break before Abingdon struck back to set up a tense finale.
But Bicester held on for a deserved victory with Mike Shorthouse named man of the match after an impressive performance.