Gorleston hit for six by Cambridge hockey hotshots

Gorleston 1 Cambridge University III 6

Gorleston Hockey Club were reliant on club stalwart Peter Jones to field a full side on Saturday for the visit of Cambridge University III.

At the last meeting, University side were struggling at the foot of the table but managed to beat Gorleston in a game Gorleston had dominated.

In recent weeks though, University have been winning important games by scoring lots of goals and Gorleston have been heading in the opposite direction.

The home team started brightly enough and were able to contain the fast, attacking University side, with defensive awareness trumping the quick passing. Both sides enjoyed an equal share of ball possession in the first quarter of the game.

Gorleston took the lead when Simon Long was alert enough to intercept a crossfield pass by the University defence and was able to run at the visiting keeper unchallenged and slotted his shot right into the corner of the goal.

That spurred on University who retaliated with some incisive passing moves through the Gorleston midfield. Jamie Higginbotham made a number of crucial tackles to keep the Gorleston circle protected. Eventually, the pressure told and the University side equalised.

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Just before the half-time whistle, Barney King in the Gorleston goal made a great save but the ball spun on the wet surface and he was unable to kick clear, giving a University forward the chance to nick the ball and poke it home from close range.

The half finished at 2-1 to the visitors and they started the second half at a furious pace, extending their lead when a lifted ball was volleyed past Gorleston’s keeper. The University then scored a hotly- disputed goal, with another ball deflected into the air and picked out by a dubiously high stick.

After a consultation between the umpires, the goal was allowed and Gorleston deflated. With three subs rolling in and out of the game at regular intervals, the fitness of the University side began to tell on Gorleston. A fifth goal followed in a similar pattern. A hard cross from outside of the Gorleston circle was lifted across the face of the goal for a volleyed finish.

At 5-1 down, Gorleston lost Peter Jones from the game as an old knee injury flared up and he had to leave the field for an ice bath.

Gorleston reacted to losing a player by scoring a goal. A hard clearance from Ron Harlow evaded the University defence to reach Russ Crawford, whose square pass picked out Simon Long in an acre of space and Long expertly swept the ball home.

There was still time for the University side to run the home defence ragged and add a sixth goal to their tally for a deserved win.

Man of the Match for Gorleston was Jamie Higginbotham for a determined effort a sweeper.

Squad: Barnaby King, Kev MacDonald, Rob Harlow, Jamie Higginbotham, Herman Cheung, Martyn Vaudin; Richard Pallant, Andrew Lilly, Russ Crawford, Simon Long, Peter Jones.