HOCKEY: A HAT-TRICK by Dave Harris helped Khalsa Leamington overcome Stafford to progress into Round Two of the England Hockey Mixed Trophy on Sunday.
A rocky start saw Khalsa under a little pressure, but solid keeping from Elliot Rider steadied the defence and passes began to string together.
After 12 minutes the deadlock was broken when a penalty corner was powerfully drag-flicked by Dave Harris past a helpless keeper.
Khalsa continued the pressure going forward with Guri Ghattaura, Lucy Miszkowska and new midfield dynamo Jordan Savage linking well down the right hand side and pressing the defenders hard.
This resulted in a panicked clearance from the Stafford centre back, which Scott Angliss intercepted and quickly played into the ever lethal Harris for his second of the game with a slap shot through the keeper’s legs.
Stafford began coming forward once more, but the defensive unit stood strong, with Ben Stephenson, Emma Nobes and Hannah Collins proving vital in stopping the attacks and playing the ball forward to Guri, Savage and Josh Pennington in midfield.
Five minutes before the half ended a pinpoint pass from Stephenson found Angliss high up the pitch, who then fired the ball in towards goal where the ever determined Kerry Luckett had made a brilliant run and perfectly deflected the ball into the back of the net to open her goal tally.
The second half was filled with pressure from Khalsa, with penalty corners galore but a Stafford keeper determined to keep the ball out of the goal from attempts by Harris, Angliss, Stephenson and even Aaron Nagra.
It took brilliant forward play from Collins, Savage, Miszkowska and Luckett before the scoring could commence again, with Luckett being spectacularly wiped out by the keeper. This allowed Harris to step up and calmly finish his hat-trick from the penalty spot.
More quick passing between Nobes, Pennington and Angliss all pushing forward down the left allowed the later to find Harris in the D, who sent the keeper the wrong way and played the ball to Luckett who bagged her second of the game.
In the final minutes Stafford threw everything forward, and despite some world class saves from Rider throughout the game, a reverse stick strike managed to get through as a consolation for the home team.