HOCKEY: City of Peterborough out to make Banbury cross in cup quarter-final

Joe Finding will be a key man in an important weekend for City of Peterborough.
Joe Finding will be a key man in an important weekend for City of Peterborough.
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City of Peterborough seek a place in the semi-finals of the English Hockey Cup for the first time in the club’s history on Sunday (February 7).

By reaching the quarter-finals of a nationally-contested competition, City have already gone further than ever before, but they are determined not to let their glorious run come to an end in Banbury this weekend.

And City will start the tie as slight favourites. City, despite a surprise defeat at Cambridge University last weekend, are currently second in the East Premier A Division, while Banbury are seventh in the equivalent division in the South.

Not that City will be taking anything for granted.

“Banbury are two places above Henley who we beat comfortably in the previous round,” City manager Graham Finding said.

“But they appear to have found form at just the right time. They beat league leaders Havant last weekend and they have the second highest scorer in the Southern League, behind a former GB Olympian.

“It’s bound to be tough as there is a lot at stake for both clubs, but we are taking a coach-load of supporters and that should help us.”

City should be at full strength for one of the biggest matches in their history, but they have to negotiate a tricky League game at home to Ipswich 24 hours earlier (February 6, 1pm start, Bretton Gate).

It’s a big game for City who lost ground at the top after losing 2-0 to a student team gearing up for the Varsity match. It ended a run of seven straight wins for City. City are now four points behind leaders Wapping, while Old Loughtonians and St Albans are close behind with games in hand.

Finding added: “It was disappointing to lose for the first time in a while, but Cambridge University are probably the only team who can match our fitness and speed.

“There wasn’t a lot in the game. We were the better side in the first-half, but they were better in the second-half and scored twice in the final 15 minutes.

“Ipswich will be tough, but it’s a game we have to win.”

City of Peterborough Ladies host bottom club Letchworth in East Division One North tomorrow (11.30am, Bretton Gate).