Beeston crowned Champions after dramatic win

East Grinstead vs Beeston 450
It was an epic final day in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Finals as Beeston defended their title against East Grinstead with a thrilling penalty shoot-out victory. Ben Arnold scored the winning penalty for the Bees as George Pinner, back in goal after seven weeks out through injury, made some fantastic saves to keep East Grinstead at bay.
 
Earlier in the day Surbiton beat Reading in another dramatic shoot-out to secure third and a place in Europe* next season.
 
In the NOW: Pensions Play-Off battle it was a day for Brooklands MU to remember as they secured a 3-1 victory over already promoted Southgate to join them in going back to the top flight next season.
 
East Grinstead 1 (1)
Andy Piper 12 (FG)

Beeston 1 (1)
Sam Ward 5 (PC)

(East Grinstead 1-3 Beeston in shoot out)
 
The final game started explosively, both sides pushing hard but it was Beeston who sealed the opening goal. A penalty corner in the first minute allowed Sam Ward to perform an impressive drag flick giving them a 1-0 lead over East Grinstead. Spurred on by their conceded goal, East Grinstead came back fighting, Tim Deakin in particular looked threatening to Beeston's defence. An impressive reverse stick strike from Andy Piper gave East Grinstead the equalising goal bringing the score to 1-1 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was hard fought by both sides, both desperate to take the lead but cautious not to concede another goal. Beeston’s George Pinner remained steadfast in goal, despite Mark Gleghorne’s best efforts and Beeston’s Adam Dixon and Ben Arnold looked strong on the counter attack. No further goals were scored in the second quarter, however, meaning the score remained 1-1 heading in to the half way break.

A strong reverse stick strike from Ashley Jackson almost put East Grinstead in the lead early on in the third quarter but a leaping Pinner denied the goal. Wesley Jackson looked to score also, but attempts failed to phase an experience Pinner. With little time left of the quarter, Beeston won themselves a penalty corner but a shot was aimed straight at the legs of East Grinstead goalkeeper Richard Potton. The score remained 1-1 coming in to the final quarter.

End to end play ensued in the final quarter, both teams desperate for the second goal. East Grinstead’s David Condon and Beeston’s Sam Ward both had shots on target but both Pinner and Potton refused to let up in goal. A goalless last quarter meant the final score was 1-1 and it was all to play for in the penalty shoot outs.

Pinner’s experience stood him in good stead only allowing East Grinstead’s Mark Gleghorne to slide one goal past him. Adam Dixon, Sam Ward and Ben Arnold all scored for Beeston, however, making the final shootout score 3-1 and Beeston were crowned Premiership champions for the 2nd year in a succession.

Ben Arnold, who scored the winning shuffle, said after the match "If I said I wasn't nervous, I'd be lying. We practiced shuffles on Thursday and I scored a couple, so I put my hand up to take one. I'm glad that George saved a few to take a bit of the pressure off me."

 Pinner added to this "I love a shoot out, the victory feels really sweet! East Grinstead finished top of the league but we managed to beat them twice during the season and we were determined to make it a third time tonight. We're delighted with the result."

Penalty shoot-out Information

East Grinstead Beeston
Ashley Jackson = o Harry Martin = o
Mark Gleghorne = x Adam Dixon = x
Mark Pearn = o Samuel Ward = x
Niall Stott = o Ben Arnold = o
Luke Taylor Oliver Willars