Hockey: Berkswell sense rumblings of a cup run

Doug Macklam reports on Berkswell’s 1st round victory in the England Hockey Association Vase on Sunday 24th October 2010:

Leicester 3 – BBCHC 4
Berkswell scorers: Oliver Stuart-Smith 2, Robby Wells, Chris Lomas

East Midlands Division 2 side Berkswell travelled to Leicester as underdogs despite their rich vein of form as they took on Division 1 opposition off the back of a 5-0 hammering of Kettering the previous day. Berkswell had developed something of an unwanted habit for getting knocked out of the Vase in the first round in a sequence of results stretching back years, but Bs skipper Martin Stevens held something of a conviction that his side had the resources capable of delivering an upset and with it, his first cup victory since joining the club some seasons ago.

The game began at a high tempo with both sides exchanging possession in a scrappy opening ten minutes. The deadlock was broken when a Leicester shot on goal hit the leg of an unfortunate Dom Herring, Leicester converted the resulting penalty flick low off the post. Berkswell looked to respond quickly and the game was turned on its head when Oliver Stuart-Smith scored with a powerful shot and Robby Wells scored with a deft chip over the advancing goalkeeper.

The second half began with Berkswell dominating early in the second half, the dominance paid off as Chris Lomas walloped home a first time shot past the flailing keeper and Stuart-Smith then scored his second of the game after a well worked move. Some weak umpiring throughout the game caused both teams to lose a little bit of discipline and the game became stretched and Leicester took advantage to score two breakaway goals. A contentious decision resulted in Leicester being awarded a second penalty flick of the game – and with it the chance to equalise. However, the pressure got to the taker and the flick was saved by handsome young goalkeeper Steve Cross.

So Berkswell can take real confidence from this impressive victory as they find themselves drawn against another higher ranked outfit when they visit to Lydney in the 2nd round on 21st November.
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