WHC Mens 1s assured of top 4 finishPublished: 24/03/2018
Wimbledon 2 Brooklands MU 1
Played at Surbiton High School because of the fixture build up, this was a critical game for Wimbledon. Victory would take them to second place in the Premier Division and a definite top four finish giving entry to the Championship play-offs.
It was Brooklands that dominated the first 10 minutes but the excellent Wimbledon defence was resolute. Then the game turned. Wimbledon began to raid at the other end and looked dangerous and were rewarded by winning two short corners. The first, a drag flick from Nathanael Stewart, was well saved by Oliver Clarke in the Brooklands goal. However on 19 minutes the second was whistled into the corner along the ground by Johnny Kinder, much to the delight and relief of the home fans.
Wimbledon were now getting into their stride and playing good hockey but Brooklands were also dangerous. On 28 minutes a Wimbledon attack along the right hand touch line saw the ball partially stopped and then possession regained and the pass across the face of the goal was hammered home by Phil Ball.
In the second half, Wimbledon began to dominate and in one spell had Brooklands pinned into their own D as they had a succession of short and long corners with Simon Mantell hitting the post. It looked all over but Brooklands came back, aided by a bizarre incident. What looked like an accidental collision between Jonny Kinder and a Brooklands player laid them both out. Eventually the Brooklands player left the pitch with a suspected broken collar bone and the umpire showed Kinder a yellow card. Down to 10 men, this would test the Wimbledon defence. Two minutes later, Gareth Hall appeared to be struck in the stomach with the ball and quickly took the free hit. The umpire deemed that the offence was the other way and gave him a yellow card. Wimbledon were now down to nine men.
The defence held but in the 65th minute Brooklands won a short corner and despite a valliant attempt by keeper James Bailey, the follow up was slid in. The last five minutes were fairly tense as Brooklands strived for an equaliser and Wimbledon had a chance at the other end, but then the whistle went to end an eventful game.
This was another great team result for the club, particularly when you think that seven first team squad players were missing due to injury or international call up. Everyone performed well.
The result means that Beeston and Wimbledon are in the top two positions in the Premiership and are assured of a top four finish. The other two places are dependent on the results of the last games of the season.
Team: James Bailey 2, Ben Arnold 3, Ben Tibble 4, Peter Friend 5, Chad Conlon 7, Simon Mantell 9, Peter Small 11, Michael Hoare 12, Iain Gordon 14, Ben Roe 16, Phillip Ball 17, Iain Lewers 18, Jonty Griffiths 19, Gareth Hall 22(59) , Nathanael Stewart 23, Johnny Kinder 32(57)