Hockey:Convicts snatch chance to top table

Hockey:Convicts snatch chance to top table

The rest were Minor Cup games, with some exciting encounters and excellent hockey being played.

JHC Thornbacks are currently top of the Minor Cup table and have a game in hand over second-placed OV Victims.Victoria College First XI 0, Evolution OV Convicts 7: College started well against lacklustre Convicts and both teams had a number of first-half chances, with the schooboys unlucky to find themselves a goal down at half-time, the strike coming from a penalty corner flick by Rich Finch.Player-manager Tony Ray came on at the start of the second half and helped Convicts take control of the midfield.

Chris Nurse made some fine stops for College, including an excellent reflex save from a Bobby Minty shot, before Finch struck three further goals, two more from penalty corners and one from open play.To their credit, the inexperienced College side continued to attack, but, in leaving themselves exposed at the back, Jon Cartmell took full advantage of the space to add a late hat-trick.JWHA 3, JHC Lions 2: JWHA ladies took time to settle and the pace of Arnou Helmholt-Kneisel threatened their defence while the reach of Peter Taylor constantly disrupting their short passing game.Lions took advantage with an individual goal from Helmholt-Kneisel after he had run from the halfway line before meeting ‘keeper Jenny Pryke, one on one.Their second came from Stuart Gower who was quietly effective all game and who deserved to score after a skilful run down the right.The Ladies never looked outclassed, however, and continued to work hard to close down in midfield.

Jamey Herbert got them back on track by scoring with an acute- angled shot from the right after beating several players.

Lisa Phillips equalised soon afterwards with a solid shot from the top of the D.

During the break JWHA were encouraged to change from man-to-man-marking to defending in zones.

It proved good advice, and the Lions’ attacking options were restricted.Beckie Herbert constructed some good possession play from midfield and, not bcontent with a draw, the Ladies took the game to the Lions.Kirstin Buttle pushed up high from right defence and combined well with Phillips, who twice struck the post.

As the game drew to a close and a 2-2 draw beckoned, Chrissie Hefford took advantage of a slip at another short corner to drive home a great shot to give the JWHA the victory.

Victoria College 2nd XI 5, OV Veterans 5: The spoils were deservedly shared in this ten-goal extravaganza.OVs opened the scoring with a Mike Tait cross being converted from short range by Nigel de Carteret, but barely five minutes later the school equalised through Jon Medder.Vets were underhitting their passes and allowing their younger counterparts a fair share of possession, particularly in their midfield, well-marshalled by VC captain James Webbe.

Before half time there were further goals – first for Vets when Mick Millar’s shot hit the backboard with a resounding thud, then an equaliser from Thomas Luce, following a mazy run.The half-time team talk appeared to galvanise the OVs who used their greater experience – probably over 300 years in total – to power back into the lead.

Mark Fullerton scored two fine goals and, to the astonishment of some, Richard Sugden found himself so high up the field he almost suffered a mild bout of vertigo – but was still able to hit the ball home from the edge of the D.OVs thought they had the game won at 5-2 but to the schoolboys’ immense credit they fought back.Luce notched his second, Webbe also scored following good work from Tom Millar on the right and finally, with some five minutes to go, Graham Ling was on hand to score the equaliser, to the delight of their supporters.OVs will need to play better if they are to prevail in their next fixture, the HA Vets Cup match against Milton Keynes in two weeks time, but College can be well-satisfied with pinching a draw from a game they looked to have lost.JHC Thornbacks 5, Hautlieu HC 0: After several penalty corner attempts Thornbacks eventually opened their account in this Minor Cup encounter, with the first of Peter Taylor’s hat-trick – a well-aimed push which crept in at the far post.Sustained pressure led to the second when intricate play from midfield opened up Hautlieu’s defence and the initial shot, from Adrian Heelis, was well saved before Taylor slotted in the rebound.Hautlieu made a few spirited attacks but they were unable to make the pressure count.

Another penalty corner provided Taylor’s third goal, a shot with heavy top spin which wrong-footed the ‘keeper who had an excellent game.

After half-time, the fourth goal came from another penalty corner when Paul Masterton scored following a snap shot, which sped in, despite the best efforts of the defence.As Thornbacks began to tire Hautlieu forced a couple of penalty corners but they were unable to convert: one goal-bound shot was well saved by Paul Duckworth who sent the ball flying over the bar from his outstretched leg.

Jamie Copsey came close to scoring a couple of times but the final goal came from Nick Taylor who tapped in Julian Gale’s cross-cum-shot at the far post.

The Hautlian defence and their goalkeeper, in particular, were solid and did well to keep the score down.

Thornbacks tended to over-elaborate at times but their experience overcame the youth and exuberance of Hautlieu.

Crusaders 4, OV Victims 9: There was an equal exchange of attacks for the first ten minutes but Victims were sharper up front and took the lead through a goal from Matt Smith who converted after a rebound off the ‘keeper.

Crusaders’ Peter Titterington came close but mis-hit his shot, soon after retiring injured from the ranks.Crusaders were already missing five of their regulars, but did have returnees Martin Le Boutillier and Paul Le Bihan, plus Bill Green making a comeback after an absence of about ten years, as well as Philip Cuming, a Crusader Colt in his debut for the senior team, and Paul Duckworth, who plays for the JHC in both the Thornbacks and first XI teams, in goal.Victims struck a second time, with a goal from Bobby Parris from a short corner.Crusaders put their opponents’ goal under seige and Le Bihan slipped one in at close range.A brilliant reverse-stick shot from the edge of the D by Alex Thelland made it 3-1 for Victims just before half-time.Crusaders started the second half badly and Victims gave no quarter as Paul Wilkinson, Smith again, Mike James and Matt Wilson scored in rapid succession.

Simon Garton pulled one back for Crusaders after a neat pass by Le Boutillier.Smith then completed his hat-trick, that was followed by a goal from Matt Osmont.Crusaders rallied and, with the help of Steve Osmont on loan from Victims, they managed to notch up two more goals, from Le Bihan and Marcus Cooper to conclude an entertaining game.Full marks are due to young Cuming who put in an impressive performance and showed great confidence among the senior players.

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