Derby trip of trepidation for Brooker after horror show
Banbury go to Oxford Hawks for Saturday's South Premier Hockey League derby on the back of a hammering.
Manager Steve Brooker and coach Matt Bull have been concerned about losing early leads in recent weeks but could they only look on in dismay as they were thumped 8-0 by Havant in Saturday’s division one fixture.
Havant produced a master class in counter-attacking but Banbury started well and there was no sign of the storm to come as they made good penetrating attacks down both wings.
Tyson Nunneley and George Brooker connected well down the right and Louis Harris and Richard Foreman stormed down the left but without making the breakthrough.
The visitors scored from their first visit into the Banbury half with a scything counter-attack ending with a tap-in for Borja Meissner.
Banbury fought hard and matched Havant for the next 15 minutes before again conceding from a counter-attack with another tap-in for Meissner.
With five minutes remaining, Banbury were still in it but three quick-fire goals, including two penalty corners, gave them a mountain to climb after the restart. Michael Deller-Merricks, James Lester and Ollie Nail all on target.
The home side are made of stern stuff with Kyle White, Aussie Keiran Symons and the indefatigable Richard Hobley led a strong fight back despite the deficit. But it was, again, counter-attacks that put three more goals in the dying moments through Adam Seccull (2) and James Speke.
Brooker is looking forward with some trepidation to visiting rivals Oxford Hawks as his side drops another place in the table.
He said: “We must bring out our very best next week or we are in danger of going into the Christmas break in the relegation zone. Hawks are six places above us and it will be another massive test.”