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Men's 1s Vs. Reading Men's 2s - Saturday 12th November 2022

Banbury Win Ugly after Last Minute Drama 

Banbury Men’s 1s - 2 Reading Men’s 2s - 1

Banbury came to Reading off the back of the previous week’s big win determined to continue

to their winning streak. But this fixture proved a very different test.

The match was late starting as the Reading water based pitch was received monsoon levels of water at the Banbury end turning it into a paddling pool – meanwhile the other end received a mere dab of a droplet. Manager, Andy Camp pointed out to Reading and the umpires that this was making the pitch unplayable but was informed that it would soon dry out. A swift half an hour later the quick drying process kicked in with the efficacy of a chocolate fireguard and the match started with one end still wetter than a fishes wet bits.

The flooded pitch conditions in the first half didn’t help the flow of the game and Banbury found it hard to play their fast flowing hockey. Reading worked hard to close down the Banbury midfield engine and consequently the front line of Tyson Nunneley, Captain Will Kellett and Jacob Buckner Rowley had very little to feed off. It wasn’t until the 30th minute that Banbury got the breakthrough when Tyson Nunneley’s surging solo effort into the Reading D won their first penalty corner and Josh Nunneley converted it with his signature drag flick missile into the top of the Reading net to make it 1-0 to Banbury going into the break. 

The second half started with Banbury stamping their authority on the game and Sam Chadbourne, Harry Simons, and Joe Allen in midfield started to gain control. This led to two penalty corners, but Dick Scanlon’s drag flicks were well defended by Reading. Midway through the half Reading grabbed the equaliser when man of the match, keeper Kit Lamb, had to make a last ditch sweeping tackle on a Reading attacker which was judged to be a foul leading to a penalty flick being awarded. Reading scored the penalty to make it 1-1. The Banbury defence then had to step up as Reading gained confidence and Pete Lamb, Richard Hobley, Darsh Theara and Sam Pick had to work hard to stem the attacks. The attacks petered out and Simons, Tyson Nunneley and Chadbourne started to tear into the Reading team leading to Kellett and Buckner Rowley and the youngster, Will Smith getting more possession up front. With 5 minutes to go Simons drove into the opposition D to win a critical penalty corner which Josh Nunneley converted with another rocket drag flick to grab his second and give Banbury a 2-1 lead. 

If Banbury thought the game was over then they were proved wrong when they lost possession high up the pitch and Reading came hard at the Banbury defence leading to a penalty corner with just seconds on the clock. Josh Nunneley rushed off the line to successfully block the Reading drag flick and the final whistle went, only for the decision to be reviewed by the officials and a penalty corner being awarded again. Pete Lamb saved the Reading shot on the line but was judged to have used part of his body and a penalty flick was awarded. Man of the Match, keeper Kit Lamb, then stepped up and this time saved the penalty with a diving save diverting the ball onto the post with his stick. The final whistle blew again and Banbury could celebrate having held onto the victory. 

Manager, Andy Camp said: “This was a very tough game in bizarre conditions, but the lads dug in and fought hard to grab the 3 points and stay top of the Premiership. Reading fought really hard, and we have some lessons to learn about how we should adjust to their style of play. Next week it’s a top of the table clash against Marlow at home. That’ll be a real test.”

Photo: Josh Nunneley at the core of defence grabs both Banbury's goals

Photo: Simons takes on the Reading midfield

Photo: Harry Simons builds another attack

Photo: Lamb closes down on a Reading attack

Photo: Tyson Nunneley creates the winning penalty corner

Photo: Scanlon builds another flank attack

Photo: Buckner-Rowley and Simons launch another attack

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