PREVIEW WEEK 10 (13th May 2017).

Mike Vigar.
Black Magic1325
The final day of the Bipha South Wales Senior League 2016/17 takes place at Cardiff City House of Sport on Saturday 13th May. It's been a fantastic season packed full of competitive hockey, with surprise results up and down the league, and it all ends today.
Who will lift the title? Who will qualify for those coveted nationals spots? How will teams place up and down the table? Who will finish top points scorer?

Llanishen currently top the league, but having played all of their games and losing convincingly to Black Magic last time out, they will have to rely on Black Magic bottling it if they want the title. Black Magic play three times, but without the league's poster boy Ryan Banwell who is also current top scorer, they'll be looking elsewhere for the goals to get that all important championship claiming win. They start the day against Llantwit, who have taken points from most teams this season including a draw and a win over new boys Paignton dragons. Next up for Black Magic is Cardiff Panthers at 11, who despite being upset a couple of times recently are so far the only team to take points from the Magic. They'll be looking to repeat that feat or better it and Llanishen will be hoping for the same as they face off at 11. Magic's final game then takes place at 4 as they take on much improved Llanelli. These two teams met last week and Magic came out convincing winners but there is still every chance Llanelli could be the ones to have the final say on the title race.

The race for third is the next big question to be sorted on the final day. Panthers and Paignton are fighting that one out and both have three games to play, although Paignton have the all important two point lead. Paignton start the day against Pontypool, whose position second from bottom really doesn't reflect the quality in the team and the performances they've given this season. Ponty are part of a cluster of four teams within a point of each other and they'll be hoping to take the points from the boys from Devon to help their climb up the table. Paignton's second game is against Swansea, who also occupy one of those four spots on 10 or 11 points. Swansea ran Black Magic very close last week and the league's second highest scorer Adam Williams will be looking to chase down Ryan Banwell for the top spot. Then it could all come down to the final game of the day for third spot, as the two teams fighting that race come face to face at 5pm. Can the Panthers put out the Dragon's fire? Or will the Dragons turn those Panthers into Kittens?

As well as Paignton and Black Magic, the Panthers also face off against Pontypool, who could have a significant impact on who takes that third place spot. The other fixtures of the day include Pontypool against Swansea, both teams who fight hard, play competitive hockey and will be looking to finish as high up the table as possible, and Llanelli against Llantwit. Llanelli have looked a different team this year and will be hoping to end their season with a win against Llantwit. Llantwit though have had another steady season, taking points against teams at the top and had they not been plagued by injuries to their goalie, they may well have found themselves challenging for that third spot, so it will be a tough ask for Llanelli to get anything out of that game.

The only other score to be settled is the race for top points scorer. Ryan Banwell currently tops the table but due to the slight fade in his tan he has rushed off to Spain for an emergency top up. Snapping at his heels are Adam Williams of Swansea, Mike Vigar of Llanishen (although he has played all of his games so will be hoping he doesn't fall too far), Ben Dart of the Dragons and Ryan's team mate Connor Bouhaire. It'll be a tight race to the top and Ryan will no doubt be watching anxiously from his sunbed.

However the day turns out, it has been a fantastic season of hockey, we've really built on the success of last year and the league has become even more competitive. There have been hiccups here and there, and a number of things that the committee want to discuss with teams in the off season. We want to build on this year's success, retain as many teams and players as possible and look at how we can support everybody to fulfil their fixtures next season.

The biggest thank you has to go to those that help out. Graham in particular has been invaluable in the timekeeper box, along with many others who have helped week on week. Whilst we haven't seen much of her this year, Sarah has again stepped up and sorted the fixtures despite the headache this causes her so a massive thank you there. And of course, the referees have made it all happen and we wouldn't be able to play the amount of hockey we do without them. Dan Clare in particular has really helped everything to tick over, along with the Jones boys, Jonny Mac, Jamie Hitchings, Tristan, Rich Brunnock, Mike Lucas, Adam West, Hof and a few others (If I've missed anybody I do apologise).

I personally hope you've all enjoyed the season, as players we all naturally get frustrated at times, but our league generally seems to be played in good spirits and I really hope all of you are back next season for some more hockey.

ROUND UP WEEK 9 (6th May 2017).

Posted 6th May 2017 by Mike Vigar.
Well the penultimate weekend of the Bipha South Wales Senior league at Cardiff City House of Sport is over and it has been another day of great hockey up and down the league.
In the first game of the day Llanishen took on Swansea Cobras and took control from the off with two early goals. Swansea fought back with a goal to make it 3-1 but Llanishen piled on the pressure and steadily added more ending up as 8-1 winners.

Llanelli were up next against Black Magic who were looking to start the day with a win. Despite lots of hard work and a gutsy display from Llanelli the quality of Black Magic told and they came out 13-0 winners.

Next up Crossbones took on Cardiff Panthers. Crossbones had a big squad for today's games and with Panthers having to put a player in net, it was a competitive affair which Crossbones eventually came out on top of, giving them both wins over Panthers this season.

At 1pm the big top of the table clash between Llanishen and Black Magic was on the card. It was a tense affair and although Magic had a lot of possession they couldn't make the breakthrough until a killer wrist shot in 10 minutes. Llanishen chased the game hard but Magic managed to pull away into a 4-0 lead at half time. Llanishen piled the pressure on after the break and made the breakthrough to get back onto the scoresheet, but the revival was short lived and Magic replied with a fifth and then Caerphilly's answer to Geordie Shore (Ryan Banwell and Josh Jefferies) really turned on the quality and scored a host of excellent goals which saw Magic finish off as dominant 12-1 winners.

The next game of the day saw Llanelli up against Crossbones. Buoyed by their earlier win against Panthers, Crossbones took the lead and never looked back despite Llanelli making it difficult and keeping the score close for most of the game. It was another great win for Crossbones who have had a fantastic season, but another display from Llanelli's young side that shows they are a squad to watch over the coming seasons.

In the last league game of the day, Black Magic came up against Swansea. Magic were looking to make it three wins out of three on the day but Swansea were never going to make that easy. Magic went in 3-0 at half time but they didn't dominate as they had earlier in the day and Swansea fought back in a game that hung in the balance at times. Despite the hard work from Swansea however, Magic ended up 5-3 winners to continue their unbeaten season.

Finally, the future of Welsh hockey was on display with Llanelli peewees facing off against Swansea peewees in a friendly. Llanelli came out on top in the friendly and hopefully there will be more to come over the following weeks and months.

Black Magic's hands are now firmly on the championship so congratulations to them, but most importantly we all wish Matt Thomas a swift recovery after a bad injury in Black Magic's second game. Thanks all, and see you next week for the final day of the season.

RESULTS WEEK 9 (6th May 2017 at The Cardiff City HOS)

SWANSEA (James Evans 1; Chris Wells +1; Adam Wells 71%; PenMins 2)
LLANISHEN (Mike Vigar 4; Alex Bartley 1+2; Gary Webb 1+2; Luke Taylor 1; Sudqi El-Alami 1; Jason Mordecai +2; Jon McCarthy +1; Greg Orr 91%; PenMins 2)
View The Scoresheet

LLANELLI (Dan Barlow 72%; PenMins 0)
MAGIC (James Edwards 4; Josh Jefferies 2; Elis Sheppard 3+1; Matt Thomas 1; Owen Jones 1; Dylan Jones 1; Ryan Banwell 1+3; Connor Bouhaire +4; Mal Jeremiah +2; Mike Lucas 100%; PenMins 4).
View The Scoresheet

CROSSBONES (Chris Cooper 4; Charlie Frost 2; Alan Hancock 1; Ollie vaughn 1; Alex henley +2;Cormac O'Keefe +1; Alex Robinson +1; Ken Oakley 83%; PenMins 2)
PANTHERS (Tim Lucas 2; Dan Clare 1+1; Tom Kayes 1; Lewis Webb 1; Annthony Gale +2; Anthony Mundell +1; Peter deVanney +1; Peter deVanney 73% PenMins 2)
View The Scoresheet

MAGIC (Josh Jefferies 9; James Edwards 1; Connor Bouhaire 1+3; Matt Thomas 1; Ryan Banwell +4; Owen Jones +2; Dylan Jones +1; Mike Lucas 88%; PenMins 4)
HAWKS (Mike Vigar 1; Jason Mordecai +1; Gre Orr 65%; PenMins 0)
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PHOENIX (Owen Edwards 1; Jess Thomas +1; Dan Barlow 92%; PenMins 0)
CROSSBONES (Chris Cooper 2+1; Charlie Frost 2; Alan Hancock 2; Ollie Vaughn 2; Cormac O'Keefe 1; Alex Henley +2; Tim Keigwen +1; Tim Keigwen 80%; PenMins 0 )
View The Scoresheet

COBRAS (Jamie Hitchings 3; Anthony Moruzz1 +2; Adam Williams +2; Adam Wells 79%; PenMins 7)
MAGIC (Owen Jones 2+2; Ryan Banwell 1+1; Dylan Jones 1; Elis Sheppard 1; Connor Bouhaire +3; James Edwatrds +1; Mike Lucas 79%; PenMins 9)
View The Scoresheet

COBRAS (Maddie Davies 1; Cooper Jones 70%; PenMins 0)
PHOENIX (Fred Proctor Jones 4; Alfie Williams 2+1; Finn Thomas 1; Sam Wooloer 1+3; Isaac Thomas 1; Jack Wooler 95%; PenMins 0)
View The Scoresheet

PREVIEW WEEK 9 (6th May 2017).

Posted 3rd May 2017 by Mike Vigar.
As the league enters its penultimate weekend, the race for the title has narrowed to two teams but the fight for nationals spots is still well and truly in the balance.
Similarly, the fight for placings goes on with a number of teams vying to come as high as possible.

Today's match day is slightly shorter, with an U12/14 session to round things off.
Llanishen are still in the hunt for the title after two crucial wins last time out against Panthers and Paignton. They start the day against Swansea, who famously got a win against the Hawks at the end of last season. A Llanishen will crank up the pressure on Black Magic, a Swansea win will put the pressure on Panthers for fourth spot.

Next up, Llanelli, who picked up their first point of the season last time out, face off against Black Magic who will be looking to start their three game day with a win as they try and cement their position as favourites for the title.

Next up, Crossbones take on Panthers. Crossbones have had an up and down season but pulled off an excellent win against Panthers in the reverse fixture earlier in the season thanks in part to a Charlie Frost slap shot from his own half. Panthers had a setback last weekend losing to Llanishen, but will be looking to bounce back against Crossbones as they keep up their fight for a nationals spot.

The crunch game of the day then takes place with Black Magic facing off against title rivals Llanishen. A win for Llanishen would still leave Black Magic's fate in their own hands, whereas a win for Black Magic would all but confirm their league title. Black Magic came out convincing winners in the reverse fixture, but Llanishen have come out on top in a number of informal friendlies since, so it is anybody's guess who will win this one.

In the penultimate game of the day, Llanelli and Crossbones face off. Both teams are much improved this year and have been a competitive fixture for everybody and this game could go either way as Llanelli will be looking for their first win for the season.

The final Senior game of the day sees Black Magic in action again against Swansea. On their day, Swansea can take the points from anybody and Black Magic will be tired in their third game of the day. Whichever way it goes, this game will be an intense encounter with some of the league's top points scorers in action.

The end of the day will see the future of our sport on show.
U12s and U14s from Swansea and Llanelli (and perhaps some from elsewhere), will be getting onto the rink for a scrimmage. It promises to be another day of great hockey, so get down to Cardiff City House of Sport to see the action!