Thornbacks slay soggy Lions to stay top after Minor Cup battle

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JHC Thornbacks defeated JHC Lions to stay at the top of the table, with a game in hand, while Hautlieu Hockey Club’s Maguire brothers had a goal-scoring bonanza in a 7-3 win against OV Victims which leapfrogs them over their opponents into second place.JHC Thornbacks 7, JHC Lions 0: This was very much – as football pundits say – a game of two halves, with Thornbacks winning the first 6-0 but scoring just once in the second, with hat-tricks for Richard Determeyer and Adrian Heelis.

Simon Harrison-White snatched the single.Thornbacks’ continual pressure told in the first half with a variety of goals, mainly from open play.Heelis opened his account from intricate play, with a tap-in over the line.

Then Determeyer scored through Lions’ legs and sticks.Thornbacks’ speed kept their opponents chasing and some slick interplay between Conrad Evans and Phil and Nick Taylor resulted in another two from Heelis.Credit where it’s due, however, for Lions defended well with stout performances from Ballingall, Lombardi and Coutanche.

Simon Hewlett kept the score down, blocking numerous shots.Despite this, the goals kept coming; a ferocious Determeyer shot was miraculously saved by Hewlett but when the ball fell kindly the goal-hungry Determeyer was there to lash it in.After the break, more resolute Lions came out of their den and took the game by the scruff of its neck, their revised line-up resulting in a number of attacks, though Tim Pollard, in the Thornbacks’ goal, maintained another clean sheet.

Thornbacks got their seventh when Harrison-White scored from a penalty cornerDespite fielding a weakened side Lions held their own while Thornbacks, also with a couple of players missing, still looking as if they will retain the cup.OV Victims 3, Hautlieu HC 7: Hautlieu opened strongly with good passing that led to Nathan Maguire’s first goal after ten minutes when he lobbed the approaching ‘keeper.

At this point, OV Victims picked up their game and put the pressure on the Hautlieu defence.

and the teams were evenly matched for the rest of the half until, five minutes before the end, Luke Maguire scored his first goal of the game from a penalty corner routine.He was on the scoreboard again almost as soon as the players went back onto the field in the second half, with brother Nathan also getting his second, to put Hautlieu 4-0 up.More good passing from Hautlieu throughout the half led to two further goals from Luke, but at 6-0 up Hautlieu seemed to relax and OV Victims began to surge forward.They scored three goals in quick succession to give Hautlieu a bit of a shock, but the latter affirmed their hold on the game with a final goal from Nathan Maguire, two minutes from time, with Maguire commenting afterwards that this was their best performance so far this season and a deserved victory.

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