Bourne Deeping Men’s 1st team were knocked out the England Hockey Trophy with a 5-2 defeat to Guernsey in the semi-final on Sunday.
Guernsey are a side with real calibre and experience having reached the last four finals of the competition, but despite that the Dragons were confident they could cause an upset in the biggest game in the club’s history having knocked out three teams from higher divisions away from home in the previous rounds and starting the day with an unbeaten record at home this season.
Guernsey started off moving the ball around at pace pushing Bourne Deeping back towards their goal but good marking prevented any clear cut chances. Bourne Deeping then broke out with Andrew Fletcher embarking on a trademark direct run before some good link up play with Chris Clarkson led to a Fletcher strike across the goal that was deflected in by a Guernsey defender to the delight of the home crowd.
It did not deter Guernsey though who were soon back on the attack and grabbed an equaliser after a goalmouth scramble through Josh Kendal.
The game at this point was highly competitive with some strong tackles going in from both sides which resulted in a green card for Guernsey. Bourne Deeping looked to press on but were caught out with a long aerial ball over the top to Steve Waldron who was fouled in the process of rounding the keeper and stepped up to score the resulting flick.
It was then Bourne Deeping who were temporarily reduced to 10 men and struggling to deal with the Guernsey press. When they did get past the Guernsey midfield though they were able to cause the Guernsey defence problems and had a couple of half chances to level the scores.
Guernsey went 3-1 up with a thunderbolt from a narrow angle by Zak Damarell into the top corner with the celebrations showing the quality of the goal. Bourne Deeping nearly equalised just before half time when Stuart Biggs was clean through on goal but the Guernsey keeper just got enough on the ball before a defender raced back to clear off the line.
The Dragons started the second half on the front foot looking to get back in the game but couldn’t quite find the final ball or snatched at their chances when they came.
However Guernsey were looking very dangerous on the break and only some fine tackles from Phil Arnold and Richard Collins at the heart of the Bourne Deeping defence stopped them from stretching their lead. Eventually a Guernsey short corner was well worked with a push over the line by Sam Dawes to seemingly make the game safe.
But the Dragons were not defeated yet and they went on the attack however the hosts could not find a way past Adrian Gidney who was having a fine game in the Guernsey goal. Guernsey were then awarded a flick due to a foot on the line but this was well saved by Joe Wray and inspired Bourne Deeping to attack again and again.
Biggs then sent a short corner into the roof of the net to cut the deficit to two goals and it looked like Guernsey would have a nervy few final minutes to hold on. But Guernsey managed to retain the ball well to frustrate Bourne Deeping who in their rush to get the ball forward lost possession allowing Kendal to wrap up the game with his second goal on the counter attack.
Guernsey in the end were deserving winners but were made to work hard by a determined and skilful Bourne Deeping outfit led by man of the match Richard Collins.
In the other semi-final Blackheath and OE beat Didsbury Northern 6-0. The goals were scored by Michael Lawrence and Sam Djavit while Chris Harden netted four.
The final will be played at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in the Olympic Park.
Bourne Deeping Men’s 1st squad: Joe Wray, Andrew Fletcher, Richard Collins, Phil Arnold, Andrew Kind, Chris Clarkson, Andy Williams, James Sharp, Tom Richardson, Stuart Biggs, Alex Glover, Andy Briault, Jonny Allen, Aaron Dawson, Simon Thomas, Shane Carlton.