11/03/17 : Mens 1 vs Banbury

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Won 6 - 4

This game will be remembered for the first and last two minutes of the game, but in between it was a fast and furious affair played in good sprits with some skilful attacking hockey from both teams.

Havant could not have started better after Mike Deller-Merricks robbed a defender and slipped the ball to Niall Stott, who netted with twelve seconds on the clock. Within a minute Havant were two goals up after a long high ball from Jonathan Pickett found Deller-Merricks, who moved the ball to Maciej, and in turn set up James Speke to finish. In the 8th minute an high ball this time from Niall Stott found Deller-Merricks once again, who cleverly flicked the ball over an advancing keeper for Havant’s third.

To Banbury’s credit they picked themselves up from this early set back giving Havant plenty to think about and managing to penetrate the Havant defence. Banbury won their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, which brought out a good save from Chris Bristow. Chris had to deny the visitors again a few minutes later with another great save as Banbury worked the ball round well in midfield finding their front runners. Banbury deserved their first goal in the 21st minute from their second penalty corner, flicked down Bristow’s left hand side. The remainder of the half was end to end hockey and it was hard to believe Banbury were second off the bottom of the table.

The next goal was of vital importance and it went to Havant after a minute of the second half when Maciej hammered a powerful reverse shot into the visitors goal. Once again Banbury never gave up, but it was Havant who went 5-1 up in the 58th minute after Speke was fouled in the circle, which resulted in a penalty flick. Oliver Nail stepped up and converted with an unstoppable flick just under the bar.
A minute later Banbury struck back from their fourth penalty corner and two minutes after this Havant scored their sixth goal after their first and only penalty corner of the game which was not stopped at the top of the circle, but the ball was moved back into the circle by Stott, which eventually found Nail who made no mistake flicking the ball past the Banbury keeper. Chris Bristow made a smart double save in the 62nd minute and the game was heading for a conclusion with two minutes left on the clock, when Banbury struck with two goals. 
Firstly Banbury scored from open play after winning the ball in the midfield. Play continued as Havant stopped expecting a free hit after a suspected Banbury foot, but the umpire did not agree and an over load saw two Banbury forwards slip the ball round and past Bristow. Oliver Nail received a yellow card for protesting, which was converted to a red and Havant were down to ten men. Within seconds a Banbury attack saw an over enthusiastic challenge from Chris Bristow on a visitors forward, which resulted in a penalty flick, and Chris joined Nail on the bench with a yellow card. Adam Bloomfield bravely took the helmet and stood on the line, but could not prevent Banbury scoring their fourth goal. The final whistle soon blew to end a well fought contest.
The big game of the day was Bromley & Beckenham who defeated London Edwardians 4-1 ending Edwardians title hopes. Although Oxford Hawks still have a mathematical chance, realistically its now a two horse race between Bromley & Beckenham and Havant.

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Mike Deller-Merricks 1
Maciej Janiszewski 1
Ollie Nail 2