Superb Wimbledon stun East Grinstead to win title

Wimbledon Phill Ball celebrates 480

East Grinstead 5 (3)
Ashley Jackson 3, 64, 66 (FG, PC, PC)
Tony Wilson 23 (FG)
Mark Pearn 33 (FG)

Wimbledon 8 (3)
Blake Govers 6, 17, 44, 52, 58 (PC, PC, PC, PC, FG)
Jack Waller 20 (FG)
Alastair Brogdon 51 (FG)
Phil Ball 54 (FG)

In a 13 goal thriller, eighteen year old Blake Govers netted five times as Wimbledon were crowned Champions of the NOW: Pensions Men's Premier Division. They overcame Sussex side East Grinstead, 8 - 5 in an action packed, end to end final. Despite a hat-trick from England and Great Britain's Ashley Jackson it wasn't enough as further goals from  Jack Waller, Alastair Brogdon and Phil Ball added to the London side's tally.

The goals started flowing from the off, as Ashley Jackson popped up at the back post to put away a loose ball in the Wimbledon circle on three minutes. The 1-0 advantage didn't last long, as Blake Govers equalised for the London side; his drag flick initially being saved by Paddy Smith in Grinstead's goal, but the rebound fell to the Aussie who made no mistake second time round.

With the score level at 1-1, both teams continued to create chances. East Grinstead won a flurry of penalty corners but failed to beat James Bailey, who was on fine form in the Wimbledon goal. They made their opponents pay for failing to capitalise, when Govers netted his second from a penalty corner and then Jack Waller neatly deflected a Ben Hawes long-ball to give Wimbledon a two goal lead. It was turning into a thriller of a final and East Grinstead came right back into it before half time; firstly Tony Wilson finished off some good work by Rhys Smith, then a little bit of Jackson magic created a chance for Mark Pearn, who scored in his final game for East Grinstead. As the sides went in for the break it was neck and neck at three goals apiece.

The third and fourth quarters proved decisive for the London side as they turned on the style with five goals in 14 minutes to put the game beyond East Grinstead. Govers netted his hat-trick from yet another penalty corner, then Alastair Brogdon scored a brilliant solo effort with a trademark run finished off with a strong strike. Govers scored his fourth and fifth goals either side of an excellent Phil Ball goal, which was created by Captain Ben Hawes sending a 60-metre pass up to his team-mate to take the score to 3-8. The Sussex side refused to give up, as Jackson grabbed himself a hat-trick before the final whistle, but the game was already out of reach and Wimbledon celebrated their first Championship title.

Wimbledon's Director of Hockey and defender Ben Marsden spoke with us after the game about Wimbledon’s historic victory: “I still can’t quite believe it - it’s been such a long time coming and such hard work by so many people. Amazing day, amazing result and some amazing goals! It’s been a seven year plan and a huge effort from so many volunteers and people at the club so a huge thank you to them – we couldn’t have done it without them. The supporters were amazing – I think we topped it both on and off the pitch and I can’t wait to go and celebrate with everyone."

On team-mate Blake Govers' five star performance: "He’s a hero! He’s got a great drag flicking ability and a big future ahead of him."

Man of the match Blake Govers gave us his thoughts on the performance: “It was very good - we got a couple of early goals and then we kept going from it. It was an end to end match and but we managed to run away with it in the third quarter. They came back into it towards the end but we were able to hold on."

On his first season playing over in England – "It’s been very good, obviously there are different styles of hockey wherever you go but it’s been a great eye opener.”