Hockey:Convicts go clear at the top

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In Division II the Victoria College 2nd XI surprised Crusaders by beating them 6-4 while part-time Victoriana fielded a team of veterans and Victoria College students to play OV Vets, among whose players was Arthur McGugan – who recently celebrated his 78th birthday!Evolution OV Convicts 9, JHC Ormers 0: Convicts started strongly against a new look Ormers side, dominating the opening minutes and establishing a 3-0 lead inside the first quarter hour through Jon Cartmell, Robin Le Quesne and Tony Ray.However, Ormers gradually fought their way into the game with Dendy Thompson and Alex Frost making their presence felt in midfield, and the Convicts were unable to extend their lead before half time.As the game opened up in the second half both teams created a number of scoring opportunities.

While the shell-shocked Ormers failed to convert a couple of gilt-edged chances Cartmell scored a further brace and Le Quesne another three to complete their hat tricks, and Joe Crill added another to seal an emphatic victory for the Convicts.OV Victims 5, JHC Thornbacks 2: Both teams were forced to field line-ups shorn of their regular players, so strenth in depth was the essential ingredient in this match.Thornbacks had won comfortably in the Minor Cup but this time the slightly more youthful Victims prevailed.

Generally sharper and more penetrative from midfield, Victims were 2-0 up by half time.

Ross Collins, always powerful breaking forward, snatched the first with Matt Wilson getting the second.

Despite the skilful promptings of Adrian Heelis, Thornbacks were never able to sustain a consistent threat, with Bobby Parris and Steve Osmont always calm at the back for Victims.For the JHC side Nick Taylor toiled well up front and Simon Harrison-White did his utmost to marshal a swamped defence.Thornbacks got a goal back, from Taylor, but a further Collins drive from a short corner, then a Thornbacks own goal, put Victims firmly in control.

Paul Wilkinson pounced on a loose ball to slot Victims’ fifth.

Heelis cooly converted a penalty flick at the end, but the scoreline reflected Victims’ dominance.OV Veterans 3, Victoriana 1: This Division II game was played in an excellent spirit.

It was also good to see the re-formation of the Victoriana side which is a new team for the first half of the season comprising some seasoned campaigners from the OV Hockey Club and some younger players from Victoria College.In particular it was good to see Jonathan Peters, Andy Osmont and Willie Sutton trotting out for Victoriana after a gap of more seasons than they care to remember! It didn’t show.The Vets took time to get going and found the Victoriana defence, marshalled by Ian Cuming, difficult to pierce but in the end a well constructed move down the right led to a cross from Mick Tait, converted by Nigel de Carteret.

Chris Nurse in the Victoriana goal made a number of fine saves, although he was also bruised by a particularly fierce shot during the first half.

He could do nothing to stop Vets’ second goal when Tim Herbert got a deft touch to a de Carteret shot.In the second half the Vets played more controlled hockey and fitness began to tell.Andy Wintour scored the third with a well-struck shot following a good move involving Herbert, Tait, Ian Simpson and the evergreen Arthur ‘Mac’ McGugan.

The Victoriana side did not give up, however, and their effort was rewarded when Tom Millar scored with precision from a penalty corner.

The result was fair and it was a good first foray for Victoriana.Hautlieu HC 5, JWHA 2: Both teams started strongly with near chances at both ends, but it was the ladies, who were playing well as a team, who found the target first with a good passing manoeuvre allowing Lisa Phillips to score past Graham Roberts.Minutes later a through ball to Adam Smith brought HHC’s first goal, with Luke Maguire scoring his first just before the break.Again, both teams came out hard, aware that they were evenly matched, and Hautlieu began to pick up the pace.Nathan Maguire scored a solo effort and Smith’s second came from a short corner with Luke Maguire getting his second shortly afterwards.The ladies dominated the last ten minutes of the game, pushing players forward and being awarded a number of short corners, from one of which Beckie Herbert scored just minutes from time.There were particularly strong performances from Ellie Butler, Jamey Herbert and Phillips who all worked hard on and off the ball.

Both ‘keepers – Katie Lidington for JWHA and Roberts for HHC – pulled off a string of fine saves.

This was an enjoyable encounter with a high standard of play all round.Victoria College 2nd XI 6, Crusaders 4: Crusaders continued their poor start to the season, beaten by a stronger, fitter College XI and were minus their regular ‘keeper.

Gary D’Avoine bravely volunteered to go between the posts and had a fine game – apart from letting a ball through because he hadn’t realised it had been deflected off an opponent’s stick.The game was fast and open but College were the more creative at the beginning and were soon three goals up through Oliver Hughes, Jack Luce and Greg Sevant.Crusaders rallied and scored through Simon Garton from a short corner before Sevant made it 4-1 just before the break.Crusaders were every bit as good as their opponents but their failure to captalise on short corners – and with College’s defence on top form – meant they paid the price.

They had periods of superiority and Garton bagged a hat-trick in the end, with a fourth goal from Marcus Cooper.

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