Updated: May 19
Banbury HC Men in the England Hockey Cup Final
Banbury HC – 4 Bowdon HC – 3
Banbury Men’s hockey team made it through to the England Hockey Finals on the 29th of May as they won the semi-final against a very tough Bowdon team 4-3. This crowns a great season for the club as they won a ticket to play in the national stadium at Lea Valley.
The game matched the weather as both teams fought a hotly contested first half. The first passage of play saw Bowdon pressing Banbury hard and keeper Kit Lamb had to make two great saves off his stick and pads to keep Banbury in it. Banbury then turned the tide after 10 minutes with a great passing move as Sam Chadbourne stormed down the left to find joint man of the match Joe Allen and George Godwin whose fluid passing move found George Brooker in the D. Brooker scored the opener for Banbury as he rounded the Bowdon keeper and flicked the ball into the empty net. But Bowdon didn’t lie down and came at Banbury hard, and it took great defending by Nunneley, Pete Lamb, Darsh Theara, and Ben Clarke to keep them out. In attack, Captain Will Kellett and Godwin came close but couldn’t increase the lead before halftime.
If anyone thought the game would grind out to a dull 1-0 win for the home team, then they were to be proved wrong as Bowdon came at Banbury hard and after only one minute their forward received a great aerial pass and hammered a reverse stick shot into the Banbury net past Josh Nunneley and Keeper Kit Lamb to make it 1-1. But Banbury weren’t phased and Joe Allen, Harry Simons, Chadbourne, and James Long started to command the midfield. After 10 minutes a pass from the busy Tyson Nunneley found Godwin on the far right who took the ball around the Bowdon defence, and lobbed the ball over the keeper to find Harry Simons by the left post. Simons volleyed the ball home to make it 2-1. Bowdon then equalised a minute later after a mistake left Keeper Lamb facing two Bowdon forwards – he made a great save off the first attacker, but the rebound fell to the second who slipped the ball into an empty goal to make it 2-2.
Banbury’s heads did not go down and Nunneley and Pete Lamb attacked down the flanks at speed opening up the Bowdon midfield and it was from this pressure 15 minutes into the half that Long found a great pass to Steve O’Connor in the Bowdon D who deftly slipped the ball under the keeper to make it 3-2 to Banbury. Banbury were now on fire and attacking at speed. Jacob Buckner Rowley upfront was unlucky not to increase the lead as he stormed through the Bowdon defence to leave just the keeper to beat, but the Bowdon keeper made a great save down to his right to keep his team in the game. Captain Kellet also came close after 25 minutes when a great move through Brooker and Godwin found him on the far left of the Bowdon D but his rocket of a tomahawk shot was well saved again by the keeper. With 5 minutes left of the half, Banbury dealt the killer blow as James Long found Brooker whose onward flick was expertly deflected by Captain Kellett off his reverse stick and into the Bowdon goal to make it 4-2. The last 5 minutes, however, were all Bowdon and despite heroic defence by Clarke, Nunneley, Theara, and Lamb they won a penalty corner with 2 minutes left on the clock and made it 4-3 with a hard flick into the corner of the Banbury goal.
Banbury clung onto the win though and have made it into the final in London at the end of May.
Banbury Manager, Andy Camp, said: “What a season and what a semi-final cup game! The lads gave everything today against a very tough and talented Manchester team who stretched us to the limit. But this team knows how to cope with pressure and how to find the net and the guys delivered big time today. Next stop the England Hockey Cup final in London!”
Photo credit: Philip Davies (Harry Simon's Granddad)
Photo: George Brooker gets the opener for Banbury
Photo: Banbury's 3rd goal from Steve O'Connor
Photo: Simons makes a great block tackle
Photo: Joint Man of the Match Godwin in the thick of it
Photo: Pete and Kit Lamb put their bodies on the line to keep the lead
Photo: Joe Allen and Harry Simons close down the Bowdon midfield
Photo: Banbury's defence too strong for Bowdon
Photo: Long and Godwin celebrate Captain Kellett's goal
Photo: Joint Man of the Match Joe Allen carves through the Bowdon midfield
Photo: Josh Nunneley at the heart of the defence
Photo: Captain Kellett and Sam Chadbourne on the counterattack
Photo: Man of the Match Godwin terrorised the Bowdon defence