18/04/06 – Hockey Men win Promotion

Doug Macklam writes,

“On 25 March 2006 Berkswell and Balsall’s hockey men found themselves starting the last day of the season in 3rd place needing a second placed finish to win promotion. And after winning their match found themselves sitting through an agonising 2 hour wait as they awaited the result of a clash between the top two sides elsewhere.

Doug Macklam reports on the game and promotion celebrations …

Mens 1st XI

Berkswell & Balsall Common 4 (Tom Delaney, Duncan Greenshields, Andy Livingstone and Simon Tite)

Standard 1 (Adrian Baker)

Berkswell ended the season with a comfortable win over local rivals Standard. Despite early pressure from Standard and the ever present threat from striker Adi Baker, Berkswell managed to break free and draw first blood with Tom Delaney slotting home at the far left post after 20 minutes.

Berkswell then began controlling the game from midlfield through Martin Stevens and James Bonell and it wasn’t long until Duncan Greenshields bagged the second, converting a rebound from a penalty corner.

Berkswell paid the price of stepping back early in the second half as Adi Baker used his pace to outstrip the Berkswell defence and claim a superb goal to cut the deficit for Standard.

This provoked the desired response from Berkswell and their reply was swift with Andy Livingstone helping himself to the third with a fantastic piece of individual skill. Livingstone rounded the stranded Standard defence and having smashed the ball against the crossbar converted his own strike with a deft reverse stick flick into the bottom left corner.

The fourth goal came courtesy of a sublime chipped finish from Simon Tite whom was always odds on to score having found himself one-on-one with the ‘keeper.

Tense Wait

The 4-1 victory left a tense wait in the pub to see if promotion had been attained. After a two hour wait it was confirmed that Kingswinford had beaten Newtown in the dying minutes to put Berkswell in the promotion spot.

Berkswell and Balsall are promoted to West Midlands Division 1 along with title winners Kingswinford. Berkswell’s jubilation and celebrations went on long into the early hours next morning.

Congratulations to Berkswell & Balsall Common Mens 1st XI!”