England Hockey Men’s National Premier League
Brooklands MU HC 0-6 Holcombe HC
Scorers; Brooklands MU HC:
Holcombe HC: Sam Ward, Gareth Andrew, Robert Field, Aaron Cheema, Iain Lewers, Jonty Robinson
Brooklands HC, Cheshire.
Holcombe began their long away double-header this weekend with a trip north to Manchester to face Brooklands MU.
Brooklands, having pushed for a play-off spot right up until the end of the last campaign, have struggled at the start of this season.
Early losses left the hosts rooted to the foot of the table before consecutive wins against Loughborough and Canterbury has harboured valuable points and confidence before their clash with the current league leaders.
Holcombe, struggling with unavailability, saw them go into the fixture with just 15 players as they faced a demanding two games inside 24 hours.
The game started at a frenetic pace as Brooklands looked to assert their physical brand of hockey on Holcombe.
A lively crowd looked to unsettle the visitors and it took all of 20 minutes for Holcombe to break them down.
A lightning fast break from Nick Bandurak and Sam Ward saw them go end-to-end with Sam Ward supplying the finishing touch to put the visitors ahead.
Shortly after and Holcombe had doubled their advantage as Gareth Andrew converted from close range. A well taken penalty corner from Robert Field was slotted home low to Chris
Scott’s left to put the visitors in a commanding position at the break.
The second half saw Brooklands look to attack the Kent side in an attempt to find a way back into the game. With George Pinner remaining quiet in the Holcombe goal, counter attack opportunities opened up which Holcombe duly despatched.
Some aggressive tackling and play from the hosts looked to negate Holcombe’s attacking prowess but the league leaders’ brand of aggressive attacking play proved too much for the Manchester side to handle.
Chances from Iain Lewers and Bandurak were cleared off the line before a quick transfer high up the pitch saw Aaron Cheema receive the ball on the right with just one man to beat. He duly obliged before finishing on his reverse stick low to Scott’s left for his first National Premier League goal.
Iain Lewers converted a penalty stroke high into the top left corner three minutes later after Sam Ward’s penalty corner strike hit a defender on the line to secure Holcombe’s fifth.
With time running out, Jonty Robinson waltzed down the middle of the pitch, eliminating two Brooklands defenders before unleashing an unstoppable reverse stick strike high into the top right corner to add the finishing touch to a dominant away performance.
The result sees the Kent outfit retain top-spot in the National Premier League, opening up a 3-point gap to second placed Wimbledon.
Holcombe didn’t concede a penalty corner in another commanding defensive display and speaking after the game, Tom O’Keefe was pleased with their brand of attacking hockey; “They looked to push the tempo from the early minutes but in doing so opened up the game for us to do what we do best in transition. Add on some really good finishes from the lads and we walked away feeling very good to have got a win from what has always been a tough away fixture.”
Next weekend, Holcombe return to league action with another away trip to Nottingham-based Beeston HC on Sunday, who currently sit third in the league.