Banbury must recover from a double setback at leaders

Banbury's  Harry Loxton comes away from Milton Keynes' Myles Locke with the ball
Banbury's Harry Loxton comes away from Milton Keynes' Myles Locke with the ball
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Banbury head to South Premier Hockey League leaders Bromley & Beckenham on the back of a double setback.

Despite taking the lead in Saturday’s division one fixture with Milton Keynes and repeating the feat 24 hours later in the HA Cup clash at Bowden, Banbury lost both games heavily.

Kyle White opened the scoring against Milton Keynes to complete a left-sided move through Richard Foreman deftly slipped on by debutante Johnny Stirrup in only the first minute. Last year’s top scorer Harry Loxton opened his account moments later to give Banbury what seemed to be the flying start they needed to gain valuable points.

But defensive slips followed and the teams went into halftime on level terms after Jamie Dodd and Liam Foster.

The visitors raced into a 4-2 lead through Foster and Myles Locke after the restart. Vincent Pretorius and Stephen Ruse increased the visitors’ lead and a strong revival was too little too late with George Brooker’s goal little more than a consolation.

On Sunday, Banbury made the long journey north to Bowden with happy memories of their giant killing exploits in the national Cup competition last season.

With Stirrup scoring his first cup goal in the second minute to complete another left-sided move created by James Long, the Northern Conference side were rocked.

But Bowden were a well drilled outfit and Banbury’s small squad could not maintain the early pace. Bowden showed their class and scored three goals by halftime.

The home side scored a fourth goal straight after the restart but Banbury fought back to prevent the threatened avalanche. Bowden got their fifth goal late on before White got Banbury’s second goal.

Manager Steve Brooker reflected on the positives of an unsuccessful weekend.

He said: “We performed well below our best on Saturday but, despite Sunday’s loss, we produced a highly creditable performance against higher League opposition.

“We have a tough fixture at leaders Bromley & Beckenham this week but we can get a result if we reproduce the cup form in the league.”