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Men's 5s Vs. Milton Keynes Ronin - Saturday 18th March 2023

M5s secure league promotion!

BHC Men's 5s - 3, Milton Keynes Ronin - 2

In this week's fixture, Tony Buckmaster's Famous Fives played at NOA, against Milton Keynes Ronin. This was a key fixture for the side, as a win would confirm promotion to the giddy heights of Cherwell Division 2.

Banbury started on the back foot, with MK looking like a stronger side. Banbury were struggling to hold possession, and although the D wasn't being threatened, this was not a comfortable start. Despite the initial challenge, Banbury found their stride toward the middle of the first half. The scoring opened up following a ball through the midfield from Lewis Mack to Fin Claydon, who proceeded to carve up their defence, slotting the ball to the side of the now defenceless keeper. 1-0 Banbury.

Unfortunately, Milton Keynes were fairly fast to strike back, equalizing 1-1 despite the efforts of Jamie Lamb, who had another strong game in goal. His awareness and 'attacking goalkeeping' meant Jamie intervened effectively when it was needed most. Another strong performance came from Ady Lamb who, as per usual, was always on hand to deal with oncoming MK attacking play. Alongside the other rotating defenders, the likes of Luke William's, Tony Buckmaster and Thomas Smith, Banbury defense was kept largely tidy for the duration.

The first half did see one more goal. Once again, the man commanding the middle, Lewis Mack, put a ball to the stick of Rob Strand, who Moses-esque, parted the sea of MK defenders. Slotting it home, he put Banbury back into the lead 2-1.

As the second half came about, the disciplinary cards were in use, as MK's '3rd umpire' was shown a green and then yellow! However, even this would not help in explaining Banbury's next goal. Having received the ball in the centre of the park, Scott Andrew's advanced on MK's D. Seeing an opening, Scott put a ball through to Stuart Ralph, which he * expertly left * to trickle past the keeper. Having graced us with a wonder of an aerial last time out, today Scott graced us with perhaps the slowest goal to date. But a goal is a goal, and Banbury consequently took a 3-1 lead.

New to the the match report, is a DOTD feature, which goes without a doubt, to Alfie Buckmaster, who forgot his hockey shoes and spent more time sliding over than he did upright. Poor Alfie. He won't forget those again.

I shan't lie, the rest of the second half did descend into a bit of a bash. However, just a minute from the end, MK came back to 3-2, just to raise a few eyebrows. Despite a tight final 60 seconds, the clock was seen out, and Banbury secured a 3-2 win.

This result called for celebration as we soon remembered that we had secured promotion! Yes dear reader, this is it, the rise of the 5s has begun. Champagne corks soon littered North Oxfordshire courtesy of Tom Smith and the moment was enjoyed by all; none more so than by our tireless skipper Tony Buckmaster. I think everyone will agree that his positivity throughout the season has been phenomenal for the development of 5th team hockey. To lead his side to promotion in his first year of captaincy says it all. However, it may take a bit more than Dettol to get the smell of champagne out of his Jersey!

It wasn't all joy and elation though, as today marked the retirement of the legendary Stuart Ralph. Playing in his last game, he received a guard of honour leaving the pitch. It has been a pleasure to play alongside him, and after his clinical dummy in the game it was necessary to award this week's MVP to Stuart.

Of course, having written this, there's a distinct chance Stuart might fancy a run out next weekend....

Finally I must say thank you to all those who came out to watch the Famous Fives. Your support was highly appreciated, and we shall expect to see you loyal fans at next week's away fixture.

Well done to everyone playing not just against MK, but all season for making Promotion possible. Something to be very proud of. Next week we take on Bicester in a rearranged fixture, where we have the chance to show them exactly why we are getting promoted.

Match report by Josh Perry

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