Court Side

Here you will find the match reports for our games from around the leagues and competitions we are involved in.
Following an emphatic display at Reading a few weeks prior, the men in red looked to take the fight to a very fit Buckingham team. In recent seasons it has been the defence that has let down the Bristolians, notoriously securing promotion last season with the most goals conceded. With this in mind Bristol started very aggressively, adopting a 3-2-1 formation in defence and applying pressure to the back-line of the Bucks attack profusely in the early stages. So-much-so, debutant Alex Bradley had relatively little to do in the opening 15 minutes, conceding none in the first 10. On the attack, Bristol were lacklustred in their attacks in the same period, whereby they did not seize their opportunities early on, allowing for a potential come back in the first half by Bucks. Needless to say however, after 10 minutes of the first half, Bristol were still 5-0 to the good. After Bucks' scored their first goal, oddly enough it was Bristol whom then took the advantage and seized the opportunity, scoring a fast three goals inside a couple of minutes. A small loss in concentration before the break let the men wearing gold back into the game going into the break, with Bristol conceding a couple to take the score to 12-6 before the interval.
   Shortly after the second half began, Bucks saw their opportunities and lunged forward with a good number of fast breaks, but alas was to no avail due to the emphatic goal-keeping ability of Bradley, whom definitely relieved some of the pressure in still somewhat a very much one-sided game. Bristol headed into the final portion of the game 24-16 up and from here on out, it was very much the show of Bristol's back players. Increasing the scoring to 29-18, and then 34-20 at the final whistle. 
   Very much a team-display from the mighty reds today but most importantly Bristol demonstrated that they can defend just as well as they can attack. Which makes them look to launch a serious title challenge and send a message to those around the south of the country.

Bucks Beaten

Bristol Men vs Bucks Bullets
​National League South

House of Sport, Cardiff

The Spartans were looking to bounce straight back after a physically demanding loss last month against Stroud. They played host to a young Poole Phoenix II side whom are known for their youth and high tempo. Bristol started the game positively, cementing a solid start by gaining on two goals opening inside the first couple of minutes. Olegs Kodalevs playing as a playmaking in the centre of the court really did cause a great deal of organisation in the opening moments, and was rewarded favourably with a good few bursts of speed to score almost all his goals from six meters. Much of the first half ran into a stalemate, with some solid defences from both teams, much more so improved for Bristol that in their previous fixture, as they went into the break only a few goals to the good.
   As the second half commenced, a much resurged Phoenix side utilised their strengths in pace and agility, scoring many fast breaks on the counter to some lose balls from the Spartans attack. Poole's No.17 really did shape up their attack, causing the Bristolian defence some issues shortly after the restart also. Just as the game appeared to be shifting its momentum, a rallying few saves from Stu Pares appeared to have given the rest of the team the motivation to pressure, and pressure they did! Scoring goals without reply, notably at the lead of Joaquim Bolós, making an excellent (return?) to the starting VII. As they headed into the final third of the match to which they saw out very professionally, to finish the game 29-24 and earning the Spartans a well fought first win of the season. To place them top of the table, albeit for the time-being. All in all, a solid performance from the reds, however, with much to improve on in the coming days as they look toward the weekend when they play host to Carshalton in Yeovil for the first round of the National Cup Competition.

First  Victory  

Bristol Spartans   v s   Poole Phoenix II
​South West Regional League
House of Sport, Cardiff

  A team of twelve travelled east on the M4 this weekend for our second game of the season, this time we were in the Lion’s Den in Reading. The team welcomed back Stu making his debut in the national league and a change of position moving into the goal this year. While out on court Dani and Kev covered the pivot position in the absence of George who unfortunately did not travel with the team, due to preparation commitments with the GB squad prior to their trip to the IHF Trophy in Kosovo.
  Bristol started the game strong, working the ball round and found there groove in attack early on. This resulted in Alvaro opening the scoring from the right wing with a well worked move. In defence there was a significant improvement from game 1 the week prior with the team working together to keep a strong Reading attack from penetrating the line and forcing them to shoot from the 9 metre line. With this combination of strong attacks with precise defence Bristol managed to pull out to a 5 point lead early in the game, but sadly was quickly cut down to 2 points after Reading took a well timed time-out and changed their point of attack for the next period of the game. This swing of momentum appeared to fluster Bristol resulting in some forced shots on goal and some soft penalties given by the discomposed defence.  The Bristol coaching staff made some timely subs with some clear instructions to players to try to rectify the previous momentum shift and regain control of the game once again. This had a positive effect on the travelling team resulting in Bristol going into half time leading by 5 goals (HT: 13 - 18).
   Reading started the second half the stronger team and punished Bristol for a slow start after the break. Bristol's lack of communication in defence allowed the Lions to close the gap with some well worked quick double pivot movements resulting in some shots from 6 metres. Bristol returned the favour and started to resemble the team from the first half, building their attacks once more and executing some fluid plays from both sides of the court. The game opened up as both teams tired and lost a few easy balls resulting in fast breaks at both ends which kept the score board ticking over. Credit to both Karim and Stu for some great personal performances with some spectacular saves to keep Bristol's lead alive, in doing so both unfortunately took shots to the face in their attempts but both were thankfully ok to play on.  As the match reached the final quarter the Bristolians showed their dominance once again to keep the score moving, while pressure built for Reading as the clock ticked down. Bristol benefited from some rushed plays from the men in white that gifted Bristol's back three the ball in space, to fast break against the keeper.  Final Score: 29 – 37
   Juan topped the score sheet for Bristol with 9 goals to his name along with some superb defence earning himself the Man of the Match award for Bristol. While the rest of the goals came from all positions on the court showing the teams danger from anywhere in attack. For the men in white, Readings number 55, Lukasz topped the score sheet with the most goals of the match finishing up with 10 goals which was well deserved.  Also a huge thank you to the EHA official's (referees and the table) that managed this match up. Allowing a free flowing, fast paced match that benefited both teams and made for an enjoyable game to watch.  
 Bristol will take a lot of positives from this game, building on the team's progression in both attack and defence, Which they will hope to carry this momentum into the next game versus fourth place Bucks Bullets at home on the 4th November.

The Lion's Den.

Reading Lions  vs  Bristol Men
​National League South

Loddon Valley  Leisure Centre, Reading

  Bristol women's team hosted the first match of the season in Wellington against Stroud, which ended in a nice victory for the Bristolians. Both teams faced the challenges of not having the full team and the desired number of players on the benches that they would have liked too, but despite this challenge, both teams performed remarkably.
  Megan and Gloria made there debuts with the team and their performances on the court were admirable! Well done you two! The defence in general of the team was the highlight of the team performance, playing together and that kept them fighting until the end.
The Stroud ladies did battle strongly and with authority, especially during first half, which they were leading by one goal (12-13) at the break. Shots from both wings were unstoppable for the Bristolians and the fast breaks performed by them was what gave Stroud team the their first half lead.
Ellie Thompson was chosen the player of the match for Stroud and it was a very well deserved nomination, as through a number of her fast breaks that ended up as goals for Stroud. Well done Ellie! Ellie was also together with Marta Rozynska the two top scorers of Stroud with 7 goals each, good effort!
  It was in the second half when the Bristolian empowered together, kept focus during all the match and the positivism at all the times let them win the game with 3 goals difference.
After the half time break, the Bristol women team knew they wanted a win on this first match of the season, and they pushed together with a strong defence and positivism at all the times, and breaking quick the Stroud attack to turn it into fast breaks and completing those attacks with the ball in the back of the Stroud net.
  Maria Gonzalez played as the custodian of the goal, which is not the position she normally plays, and despite the challenge, she helped the team keep the score margin up, specially in the last quarter of match, where the advantage of the Bristolians 3 goals ahead was maintained through to the end of the game.  And this is why she was named player of the match for Bristol, well done Maria!
The top scorer Oscars went to Vilma who scored 8 goals by her own! And not far off we had Fanni and Gloria who scored 5 goals each! Well done you all!
  Special thanks and mention to Catherine Hosker for helping with the refereeing; she did an excellent job especially considering that she was by her own, thanks a lot Catherine!
Thanks to Blanca, Clem and Dennis for supporting with the coaching, the table and cheering, and thanks to Lucie and Eva’s family to come and support the BHC Women's team. 

Empowered  performance 

Bristol Women's   v s   Stroud HC
S​outh West Regional League
Princess Royal Sports Complex, Wellington

  Bristol Spartans made their bow at Stratford Leisure Centre in Stroud with a team of mixed experience and youth. Three of our players were 17 or younger and this mix is exactly why the team are called Bristol Spartans, with two of those players having already represented Somerset Spartans so far this season.
  Stroud themselves also had a mix of players too, but it was their physical approach to the game that was often difficult for the Bristolians to handle. Bristol looked very much like a new team with players taking time to understand how each other played and throughout there was a little impatience in the shooting, often making the job easy for the Stroud goalkeeper. At half time, Stroud had a 4 point lead at 16-12. Mariusz did an excellent job leading the team on the court and Antoine (making his debut for the club) scored an impressive 10 goals. Stu was making his debut as a goalkeeper for the spartans and made a promising start. Most of the players scored, including our other debutants 17 year old Alberto from Italy and 16 year English player Cyprian.
  The final score was 31-24 and while the players were disappointed not to have finished with a better scoreline, there were a lot of lessons learned from the game, with players trying different approaches in defence and playing in different positions across the court. More work to do in training ahead of our next game against Poole Phoenix in November.

We are Spartans.

Bristol Spartans   v s   Stroud HC
​South West Regional League
​Stratford Leisure Centre, Stroud.

  The Bristol side opened their account of the 2018/19 season on Saturday with a home match to Chelsea, representing some faces of new and old. Bristol opened the scoring early on and demonstrated some emphatic play to sustain a lead of 4 goals, aiming to secure their dominance once again following the play-off game back in May.
  However, soon a largely unchanged Chelsea side from that in May managed to pull the scoreline back into their favour in the early stages of the first half through some driving half plays and a little complacency from that of the men in red.
  The home side after a rallying time out from the coach team managed to change their set-up, tighten up at the back and some terrific individual plays by Diego Roman and Juan Gil, pulled the lead back to one just before the break.

  Starting the second half was a poor one for the south western side. As they saw their lead slip and the momentum swing yet again to Chelsea, not to be helped by a few committed fouls, leading to multiple two minute suspensions. Perhaps the best quality of the day was Bristol's resilience to come back when they were staring defeat in the face. The same can be said for the last ten minutes of the match where Bristol inspired by debuetante Mariusz Masiak, closed the gap to an even scoreline of 26-26 heading into the final minute of the match.
  A textbook wing-shot from Grzesiek Pawelczyk inside the last minute of the match gave some the impression that the fight was won. However Chelsea's last attack of the match resulted in a penalty as the player was brought down on the edge of the D. The penalty with what was essentially the final throw of the game, sealed the draw for both teams, which will largely be considered to be a fair result for how the match progressed.

National Account Open

Bristol Men   v s   Chelsea HC
​South West National League
​House of Sport, Cardiff.