Men's Hockey 5s: The Road to Wembley

Canterburys Ben Allberry shoots during Hockey 5s 2015

East Grinstead and Reading will face each other in the first semi-final of the Men’s Hockey 5s this Sunday at The SSE Arena, Wembley, after which it will be the turn of the two Kent sides, Sevenoaks and Canterbury to fight for their place in the final. We take a look at how each of the teams made it this far.

East Grinstead eased their way to finals day with seven wins out of eight in the qualifying phase. Their only setback came in a 12-3 defeat at the hands of Holcombe. Otherwise it was business as usual for the side chasing their seventh title in a row. There were some eye catching results including an 11-3 rout of Beeston, a 10-4 win over fellow semi-finalists Sevenoaks and 10-5 win over Bowdon. Captain Niall Stott led the way in front of goal with 19 strikes, making him the leading scorer in the competition overall. He was ably assisted by Simon Faulkner, who grabbed 11 goals of his own, nine coming from penalty corners.

Sevenoaks secured second spot and their first trip to finals day with five wins from a possible eight. Despite suffering defeats to East Grinstead and Bowdon (11-4) they dusted themselves down and picked up crucial wins over Canterbury (6-4), Reading (7-3) and decisively, Bath Buccaneers in their final game, which secured their place in the final four. They were indebted to the goalscoring exploits of George Torry and Dominic Bowden who contributed almost half of the team’s goals between them. In goal, both Giles Dakin, a winner of this competition with East Grinstead, and James Marshall showed some excellent form to keep sides at bay at the other end.

Last season’s runners-up Canterbury will be back for another tilt at the title after a typically high-scoring qualifying phase from the Kent side. Canterbury blitzed Holcombe 12-2 in their opening game and went on to record action packed wins over Reading (10-8), Beeston (11-6), and Bowdon (8-7). The win over Bowdon came courtesy of a last-gasp penalty corner from Kwan Browne. As is seemingly customary for the Polo Farm outfit, Ben Allberry chipped in with more than his fair share of goals with 18 whilst Liam Foster netted 12 of his own.

Reading took a couple of games to get going with defeats in their opening two matches against Sevenoaks and Canterbury before getting off the mark with a win over Holcombe. Despite a further defeat to East Grinstead, they steeled themselves and came fighting back with wins over Bowdon (8-4), Bath (9-3) and Surbiton (4-2), leaving them needing a point from their final game against Beeston, which they duly collected to progress to finals day once again. Reading shared their goals around with ten different scorers including the versatile John Jackson scoring 11 times and Tom Carson finding the net eight times.

There isn’t long to go before we find out who will pick up the coveted Hockey 5s title. You can still buy tickets to be part of England Hockey’s big day in. Just click here for all the details.