HOCKEY - Warwick thirds edged out by local rivals Khalsa Leamington - The Leamington Observer

HOCKEY - Warwick thirds edged out by local rivals Khalsa Leamington

Leamington Editorial 8th Oct, 2022   0

WARWICK Hockey Club’s men’s third team suffered a 3-2 defeat against local rivals Khalsa Leamington.

Ollie Scott returned from his focus on medical studies, Neil Manley made his league debut and Andy Hall played in an unfamiliar forward role as Warwick made changes following last week’s defeat.

The hosts forced an early penalty corner after a buccaneering run from Alex van Dijk only for the Khalsa Leamington keeper to make a routine save.

And although Warwick had the upper hand in terms of possession, they struggled to convert that superiority into goalscoring opportunities.

Towards the end of the half, and somewhat against the run of play, the visitors took the lead.

After intercepting the ball in their own half, Khalsa Leamington launched a counter-attack and, although the Warwick defence repelled the initial attack, the clearance from keeper Ash Millington fell kindly to the Khalsa left-wing whose cross was finished from close range.

That goal separated the teams at half-time and Warwick made the worst possible start to the second half when Chris Guy made a run out of defence and was dispossessed on the halfway line as Khalsa broke quickly and exploited the space left behind him.

Van Dijk made a great run back to tackle the forward in the circle however, he was adjudged to have committed a foul in the process and a penalty flick was awarded. Millington made a valiant attempt to save the stroke, but it evaded his outstretched arm to make it 2-0 to the visitors.

Warwick were far from despondent, and they redoubled their efforts as Rob Smith, Brad Cogle and Mike Smith pulled the strings in midfield, the home side increased the pressure on the Khalsa Leamington goal.

The breakthrough came after a flowing team move down the right flank., Josh Davies carried the ball into midfield, and he passed into fellow youngster Killian Ashe.

After driving forward, the ball was played into Manley at the top of the circle. With his first touch, he controlled the ball and took it past the Khalsa Leamington keeper. His second touch was to fire the ball powerfully into the unguarded net.

With their tails up, the hosts searched for the equaliser. The forwards, including up-and-coming Charles Bauldry, kept pressing and probing for a defensive vulnerability.

A pass was fired into the circle and Chris Roberts skilfully deflected it past the defenders, only to be denied by the crossbar.

Penalty corners came and went to no avail. From one set-piece, a rebounded shot fell to Davies, but he was unable to squeeze home from close range.

With 10 minutes left, Khalsa Leamington stunned Warwick when they scored again. A penalty corner was awarded, and they scored with a powerful strike that hit the top of the backboard.

At this point, tempers started to fray. A Khalsa Leamington player was given a green card while Rob Smith and Scott received facial and hand injuries respectively.

The hosts kept up the pressure, and despite the misgivings from his colleague James Balfour, Warwick skipper Albie Waterton scored with an improvised penalty corner.

For the last five minutes, Khalsa Leamington were happy to defend their lead and absorb the pressure that Warwick piled on.

In keeping with the rest of the match, the hosts best opportunity came from a penalty corner but Waterton’s ambitious attempt at a reverse-stick shot came to nothing and the match finished 2-3.

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