East Grinstead defeat Canterbury to reach final

Niall Stott Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals East Grinstead 450

Action got underway at the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals at Wembley when East Grinstead took on league leaders Canterbury in the first of the men’s semi-finals. A high paced encounter ended with a 9 – 5 win for the defending champions East Grinstead, thanks in no small part to man of the match Niall Stott who weighed in with four goals.

After a quiet start the game was brought to life when Stott intercepted a pass in the Canterbury circle to open the scoring with a minute and half on the clock. Seconds later he was in again to double the lead for the defending champions.

East Grinstead kept the pressure on winning the first penalty corner of the match but failed to score.  However, minutes later Mark Pearn found the net from open play to make it 3 – 0.

Canterbury refused to lie down as they pushed forward looking for an opening. Captain Tom Richford forced a brilliant save from goalkeeper Filip Neusser who was at full stretch to deny the Canterbury captain. This opportunity sparked a fight back as top scorer in the league Ben Allberry netted to reduce the deficit and within seconds, his team mate Devohn Teixeira brought the score to 3 – 2.  However, East Grinstead’s Adam Jordan was straight back in at the other end to restore a two goal lead.

In the 17th minute Stott got his hat-trick from a penalty corner to put his side 5 – 2 ahead. Then, Richard Smith roofed his penalty corner shot into the net, a minute before the break to ensure the defending champions went in leading 6 – 2.

The second half began with chances for both sides but Canterbury's Huw Stevens was rewarded first for some brilliant individual skill with a goal in the 23rd minute. He didn’t have time to enjoy his effort as East Grinstead captain Glenn Kirkham and Tim Strueven both netted in quick succession to make the score 8 – 3.

Canterbury brought their kicking back on after 27 minutes to allow them to press forward. This tactic reaped reward when Michael Farrer closed the gap to four goals with 5 minutes remaining.

A reversed decision by the umpire signalled a penalty corner for Canterbury when Farrer got the final touch after some goal line heroics from the East Grinstead defence; 8 – 5 with two minutes left. However, the attacking play ultimately left them scrabbling at the back, allowing Niall Stott a free run for his fourth of the game and a resultant 9 – 5 win.

Speaking after the game, Canterbury captain Tom Richford said, “Obviously we are disappointed with the loss.  We made individual mistakes that have cost us dearly. We were slow to at the beginning, they grabbed 3 early goals, and we were trying to get back into the game from the start." 

"It was a great experience for us today; the team has not been here before so it was huge learning curve. The crowd was amazing; when you can’t hear your coach at half-time it gives a good indication of the atmosphere. Hopefully we will be back next year, and can push on.”

East Grinstead’s winning captain Glenn Kirkham added, “It was a difficult match but it has given us a huge confidence boost, which I feel we were lacking before the game.  We played some good hockey, and I am pleased with the overall performance."

“The atmosphere was electric, just off the back of London 2012.  It is great to see so many young people in the crowd and these kinds of events will help with giving the sport better coverage. Now all we've got to do is give a good show and get lots of goals!”