GWENT Hockey Club returned to the pitch with a pre-season warm-up against Westbury and United Banks.

The men’s first team showed radical changes from last season with half of last term’s regular starters absent, but they performed well in a 5-4 defeat.

Gwent started brightly, showcasing a new commitment to retaining possession through short inter-passing.

But their opening goals came from a well established route – last season’s top scorer Matthew Stoll-ery mugging Westbury defenders on the halfway line, then racing away to score.

Gwent’s new defensive unit suffered from a few teething problems, allowing Westbury to capitalise on mis-communication and get back in to the game. Matthew Tucker saved two shots on the line after goalkeeper Andy Turner had been beaten.

Gwent continued to build their play patiently and were rewarded with two more goals.

Schoolboy Matthew Gower scored his first goal for the first team after dribbling unchallenged into the D from a corner then flicking over the diving keeper.

Ian Stockton also netted after his short corner strike was deflected over the keeper.

Gwent’s second team had their goalscoring shoes on. Richard Hill and Jamie Evans scored two each, with Steve Boden also netting in a 5-3 win.

The thirds lost 6-0.

Newport Gwent Ladies were also in action – the firsts losing 5-1 in a high quality game against Westberries.

Their seconds took part in a seven-a-side tournament in Brecon, reaching the semi-finals.

  • The club is still recruiting for the new season, which starts at the end of the month. Pre-season training takes place on Wednesday nights (youth and women) and Thursday nights (youth and men) at Rougemont School.