Hockey Vase: Convicts pulled back twice

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They were playing Devizes HC at Les Quennevais and lost 5-2 but the OVs started well and took an early lead when Robin Le Quesne turned in the Devizes circle and fired home a reverse stick shot from close range.OVs looked to have the run of the match at that point, with crisp, tight and accurate passing and a number of advances on the visitors’ goal.

They were looking comfortable and Richard White was causing the visitors problems up the left flank, but Devizes looked lively and well-organised and the home team struggled to create many clear chances or to win any penalty corners.Then, shortly before the interval, Devizes latched onto an OV defensive error for Steve Holloway to level the score at one apiece.OVs came out strongly at the start of the second half, knowing that a couple of quick goals could wrap the game up for them, and they soon regained the lead through a penalty corner strike from the industrious Richard Finch.But Devizes came straight back at them and equalised with a further penalty corner flicked high into the net by Nick Paget, despite heroic attempts from OV ‘keeper Garrett O’Brien.From then on it was Devizes who looked hungrier for victory and the OVs never found their usual tempo.The Jersey side lost their spark, their concentration fell away, there was some scrappy play and then the inevitable defensive lapses which allowed Steve Holloway to complete a well-deserved hat-trick before Chris Holmes buried another penalty corner strike, as three goals in six minutes finished off a dejected Convicts side.

Devizes are champions in the South Wales and South West England league and are Wiltshire County champions.

They also, like the OV Convicts, have got as far as the quarter-finals in the HA Vase competition on a previous occasion.But to the OVs’ credit, Devizes were kept pretty much in check for a reasonable time, and it was only in the second half that their superior fitness and speed became evident.It was a disappointed Convicts’ manager, Tony Ray, who said after the game: ‘We had the lead against a competent side then sat back – and we paid the price.

We knew if we got a good second half start we could win.

We put the effort in and went a goal up again – then sat back again.

Then we gradually fell apart.

I felt we could have gone a long way in this competition with a full-strength squad but we really missed Bobby Minty and Mark Dicker.

Devizes didn’t so much win as we gave it away.’Devizes captain Sam Gaiger was understandably pleased.’I think it was a fantastic effort from all the team, I’m really proud of them.

We were up at six in the morning to travel to Jersey and delayed for four hours on the boat and didn’t get in to Jersey till one o’clock, and I think we played the best hockey we’ve played in a long time – but I’m not going to suggest to the team that we go through a journey like that before every game!’He added: ‘I thought the OVs were a good side.

They had very quick responses and were especially good on the counter-attack.’Evolution OV Convicts: Garrett O’Brien, Tony Ray, Richard White, Ross Collins, Tom Minty, Steve Ritzema, Paul Marshallsay, Mike James, Robin Le Quesne, Richard Finch, Jon Cartmell, Malcolm Parris, Steve Osmont, Matt Smith, Andy Brown.

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