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Sevenoaks just miss out on place at Copperbox finals

Sevenoaks HC’s men ended week two of the England Hockey National Indoor Premier League tournament at Whitgift School in Croydon in fifth place just missing out on a place at the Copperbox finals. The tournament is over two weekends, January 7th/8th and 14th/15th. This is Sevenoaks’ ninth season in the Indoor Premier League, remarkable consistency at the top level of UK Indoor Hockey.

Oaks finished week one losing three out of the four games against arguably the strongest teams, Old Georgians 4-9, Wimbledon 2-4 and East Grinstead 2-3 in a very tight game. 

Week two started with a 4-3 victory against Repton with goals from captain Chris Barker, David Smith, Ben Selby and James Beck.

Oaks needed to beat Holcombe in the second game of the day to keep their finals night dreams alive. A brilliant first half saw them take the lead with four goals from Ben Allberry and one from David Smith. Unfortunately, in the second half a series of poor decisions on the pitch from Oaks, coupled with some dubious umpiring decisions, put Oaks under huge pressure and Holcombe capitalised well to end up 7-5 winners. Oaks were rightly disappointed by the poor second half performance.

On the final day Oaks needed to beat bottom of the table Exeter to be sure of staying up and in a very tough game in which the students took a 2-0 lead, Oaks ended up 4-3 winners with two goals from Smith, the first after a clever pitch length dribble from Chris Barker for Smith to finish. South African U21 Ryan Mann, who has joined Oaks outdoor for the second half of the season, made it 3-3 with a reverse flick from a difficult position. Despite missing four penalty corners which perhaps summarised Oaks’ tournament, Smith slotted home after a brilliant piece of work by Oaks guest player, Matt Richards.

In the last dead rubber game with Surbiton, Oaks, despite a game-ending injury to defender Nick Barker, played some of their best hockey to draw 4-4 after being 1-4 down.

A special mention to Oak’s goalkeeper Richard Potton playing in his seventeenth Indoor Premier League tournament who was outstanding throughout. Craig Morton co-captained and worked tirelessly in the midfield. The team was supported by under 18s Charlie Oaks, Ben Selby (scored one goal in week one) and reserve goalkeeper Rory Mylroi who left Saturday evening to play for Oaks U18 boys in the national indoor finals. Thomas Brocklehurst stood in as reserve keeper for the second week. 

The squad was coached by Pete de Lange and managed by Pete Barker.

All in all, Oaks were disappointed not achieving their goal of a finals day appearance but had solid performances to consolidate in what is a very competitive league. 

Sevenoaks Hockey Club squad: Richard Potton (GK), Chris Barker (Co-captain), Craig Morton (Co-captain), Nick Barker, James Beck, Ben Allberry, David Smith, Matt Richards, Ryan Mann, Ben Selby, Charlie Brooks, Rory Mylroi (GK) and Thomas Brocklehurst (GK).

 

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