Cannock Champions of NOW: Pensions Men's Cup

NOW: Pensions Men's Cup - Cannock Team Photo with Cup

Brooklands MU (2) 2 - 2 (2) Cannock
Peter Cornell 3 (F) David Beckett 2 (F)
David Flanagan 32 (F) Ben Edge 15 (F)

* Cannock win 5-4 after penalty strokes

Cannock ended their season on a high to win the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup for the first time since 2007 on Penalty Strokes against Brooklands MU.

The game started with a fast tempo and the score was already 1-1 after just three minutes. Cannock took the early initiative, with David Beckett on hand to steer the ball home after good play from Arjan Drayton Chana. This lead only lasted a minute as Brooklands MU bounced straight back. David Flanagan showed his initiative to take a sideline ball early and played a pinpoint ball across the area where Peter Cornell superbly slid the ball past Patrick Smith in the Cannock goal. Brooklands started to get a grip on the game and went close through two Penalty Corners, while Cannock’s Nick Bandurak just missed the target at the other end with a shot on the reverse. It was Cannock that were to score next as they retook the lead through Ben Edge, who was on hand to strike the ball home from a goalmouth scramble after good build up play. Brooklands then had the golden chance to level again when they were awarded a Penalty Stroke; with a defending stick preventing a clear goal scoring opportunity after a Penalty Corner was saved. However, Peter Flanagan’s Stroke came off the post as Cannock remained in the lead. Cannock’s Peter Jackson went close up the other end from another Penalty Corner but it was all square again on 32 minutes. Aidan Khares played the ball into David Flanagan who from a tight angle lifted the ball over Smith into the roof of the net.

The second half didn’t quite live up to the expectation of the first with little being created in the first ten minutes. Cannock’s Arjan Drayton Chana was put through on goal on 44 minutes but Chris Scott was alert in the Brooklands goal to prevent the danger. An even 10 minutes followed with neither team taking control before Cannock twice went close, first through a Penalty Corner that was well saved and then an Andrew Appleton strike that sailed over the bar. Kav Jabbal won Brooklands first Penalty Corner of the half on 59 minutes but the well organised Cannock defence prevented a shot. The match sprung to life in the remaining five minutes with both teams having chances to win the game. Patrick Smith saved well from a David Flanagan shot before Cannock broke and had three chances in quick succession, all kept out by the excellent Chris Scott. Cannock pushed for the winner but were unable to find one as the match went to Penalty Strokes.

In the Stroke competition, Cannock kept their nerve to convert all five of their flicks. When Aidan Khares saw his stroke go over the bar, it was down to David Beckett to win the Cup for Cannock. Beckett neatly slotted the ball away to start the Cannock celebrations as they lifted the cup for the fifth time.