Beeston and East Grinstead set up Maxifuel Super Sixes Final

Beeston join East Grinstead in the men's final at the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals at Wembley Arena after beating Bowdon 11-3 in the second semi final. 

Earlier in the afternoon East Grinstead beat Reading by the narrowest of margins, on penalty strokes 4-3, after a thrilling 5-5 draw.

Read the reports below.

Report: Men's Semi Final 1 - East Grinstead 5*-5 Reading
*East Grinstead win 4-3 on penalty strokes
Report: Men's Semi Final 2 - Bowdon 3-11 Beeston

East Grinstead_Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals_Celebrate beating Reading 9-8 in semi-final

East Grinstead celebrate after beating Reading in the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals at Wembley Arena.

Men's Semi Final 1: East Grinstead 5*-5 Reading
* East Grinstead win 4-3 on penalty strokes

East Grinstead 5* (3) - 5 (1) Reading
Ashley Jackson 2,18,36 (PC,F,PC) * EG win 4-3 APS Richard Mantell 4,28 (PC,F)
David De Prez 10 (F) Jonty Clarke 24,39 (F,F)
Barry Middleton 35 (F) Nick Catlin 28 (F)

Both teams started with strong line-ups determined to give the thousands of cheering supporters the quality, entertaining hockey they had come to expect.

East Grinstead got things moving and began patiently before England and GB international Ashley Jackson won a penalty corner in the third minute of the game; he confidently put away giving the holders an early lead. The next minute another PC followed which was well saved by Nick Brothers in the Reading net. Showing they weren’t here to make up the numbers Reading were straight back into it with a penalty corner of their own, Richard Mantell dutifully tucked it away to level the score.  Iain Lewers struck the post on 13th minute before. Adam Harper made  a great tackle on halfway to keep the pressure on Reading, but a quick ball from Richard Mantell at the back set up a slick counter attack, another corner for the boys in blue; saved off the line by Harper.

Barry Middleton turned defence into attack with a squared ball to David Du Prez for the lead. Richard Potton was forced to make several saves when Reading piled in on goal in the 10th minute. Ashley Jackson hit the post with five minutes to go before Nick Catlin showed some excellent skills, playing the ball off the boards to himself to give Reading some forward momentum. The game ebbed and flowed with De Prez coming close again before Jackson found the net but had the goal disallowed as it was outside the circle.

East Grinstead vs Reading_Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals

EG called a timeout to refresh their tactics and they were immediately on the attack again with a dangerous ball through from Glenn Kirkham. Ashley Jackson lost and won back the ball to play a glorious one-two with Middleton and slam in his second of the game, third for East Grinstead. Reading wouldn’t lie down and straight away won another penalty corner. Simon Mantell forced a great save from Potton but another corner was awarded in the dying seconds of the half, dramatically saved off the line again by Middleton to keep the score 3-1 at the break.

Second Half

The second half began with a frenetic pace with both keepers forced into action within two minutes. End to end hockey was appreciated by the crowd as was a fine finish by Jonty Clarke to put Reading right back into it.
Richard Potton was called on to make the save of the game before the East Grinstead defence could only push the ball over the back line to clear the danger. The Richard Mantell equaliser came from a powerful penalty corner. Nick Catlin spun the EG defence in knots with a tight turn and shot to put Reading in the lead for the first time with twelve minutes still left to play. Nick Brothers was quick off the mark the other end to force Scott Ashdown wide. Relentless pressure by East Grinstead brought Brothers into play again with a fine double save but he couldn’t prevent a corner, again well dealt with by Reading who were playing some good looking hockey.

East Grinstead called a time out to break up the momentum of the game although it was Potton who had to be alert to breakdown a flowing attack with Simon Mantell at full stretch. Barry Middleton found the net from an impossible angle to level things up again as control of the game shifted back East Grinstead’s direction with a penalty corner in the last quarter of the game which Ashley Jackson inevitably slotted home for his third of the game, restoring his sides lead. A Reading time out followed but with just a minute left they chose to substitute their keeper. By then all the action was on the other net as Jonty Clarke cheekily scored through Richard Potton's legs. Nick Brothers came straight back on again and was in the thick of the action as East Grinstead drove forward. A controversial penalty corner was awarded just as Ashley Jackson talked his way off the pitch by way of a green card.  The two teams couldn’t be separated, with the game settled at 5-5 on full time, penalty strokes would have to decide the winner.

Penalty Strokes

Each team had three strokes initially with Mike Holland, Iain Lewers and Ashley Jackson stepping up for East Grinstead and Nick Catlin, Simon Mantell and Jonty Clarke taking on responsibility for Reading. Lewers launched his well wide of the mark while Catlin had his attempt saved meaning the score was still level and sudden death strokes would be needed.

Here the order was reversed so Clarke came forward once again for a replica of his first delivery. The crowd almost raised the roof when Ashley Jackson stepped forward again but he stayed composed to slot the ball past Brothers in a goal he clearly enjoyed. Simon Mantell was back for Reading but this time Potton was equal to the task and saved from the spot to put the pressure squarely on Iain Lewers. After a miss in the first round, Lewers became the hero for East Grinstead scoring the goal that put them through to their fourth consecutive final.

Men's Semi Final 2: Bowdon 3-11 Beeston

Bowdon 3 (0) - 11 (4) Beeston
Simon Egerton 26,27 (PS,F) Paddy Schmidt 7,9,13,27,31 (F,PC,PS,F,F)
Alastair Brogdon 29 (F) Adam Dixon 17 (F)
Tim Davenport 21,24,24 (F,F,F)
Alastair Wilson 33 (F)
Stephen Lawrence 37 (F)

The second semi final of the Maxifuel Super Sixes finals maintained the high drama of the first game, with last year’s finalists Beeston taking on Bowdon, who came out as 7-4 victors in their league encounter and who were top scorers overall as they progressed to the finals in second place.

The match started in explosive fashion, with two of Bowdon’s players being led off by the team physio for treatment.  Despite the depleted squad Bowdon also came closest first, with a goal for Alastair Brogdon disallowed as it was lifted into the circle. Soon after though Beeston countered on the break and Paddy Schmidt cooly slotted the ball under keeper Rob Turner.

It wasn’t until the 8th minute that the first short corner of the game was awarded and Beeston took full advantage, Schmidt picking up his second of the game.

A more cagey game than the first semi-final, Beeston started to open up their game after a time out  mid-way through the first half and saw several efforts go close, before a rampaging run by Adam Dixon saw him win his team a penalty stroke after he was left sprawled in the D. Schmidt stepped up to the spot and converted smartly in the bottom left, grabbing a hattrick over the space of six minutes.

Beeston v Bowdon_Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals

And after calling a time out Bowdon came back looking calmer and this soon resulted in two near misses for David Egerton.  Beeston soaked up the pressure and then made the most of a fast break, with Adam Dixon calmly slotting the ball home for a 4-0 lead. Bowdon continued to push and showed patches of high quality but could not find a way to break through.

With the Bowdon fans somewhat silenced, Beeston gave their band of supporters more to cheer about, Tim Davenport converting a defence splitting cross just over a minute after the restart.

Bowdon, who chose to play in sleeveless shirts, were thwarted by Beeston keeper George Pinner and soon after Davenport picked up his second and made it six for Beeston, picking up a long range pass from Dixon, and then completed his hattrick a minute later showing amazing dribbling skills and shooting from a narrow angle.

Despite being seven goals down Bowdon did not let their heads drop and a sustained period of pressure was rewarded with a penalty flick when Simon Egerton was stick tackled as he was shooting. Egerton then calmly converted the flick, squeezing it under the diving keeper. Egerton then quickly made it two, giving his team, and their vociferous supporters, something to cheer about.

Schmidt tried to silence some of the cheers, picking up his fourth, and beeston's 8th with a neat flick over a diving Turner in the Bowdon goal, before Bowdon's Brogdon grabbed a third in a game that was now looking more evenly contested than the first half. 

With just under ten minutes to go, the free scoring Schmidt yet again got his name on the scoresheet, shooting from a tight angle, much to the delight of swarms of supporters in yellow in the crowd. Ali Wilson gave his team's fan even more to shout about as he took beeston into double figures, reacting quickly when a free hit was awarded on the edge of the circle.

Beeston then looked in control, but a lapse in concentration gave away a penalty corner, which Bowdon failed to convert despite some fast skills from Paul Pongs.

Bowdon were made to pay for not scoring, as Beeston quickly countered, a strong tactical theme of their game, and Stephen Wood set up Stephen  Lawrence for his first of the game.

Beeston changed keepers with two minutes left, Matt Hextall stepping in for George Pinner, and he was quickly called into action,  deflecting a well taken shot to deny Bowdon one last goal before the final whistle.