Banbury get set for biggest game in the club’s history

Banbury's Steve Campbell closes down Havant's Indy Laly
Banbury's Steve Campbell closes down Havant's Indy Laly

Banbury will be looking to go into the biggest game in the club’s history on the back of another three points when they travel to Oxford University this weekend.

The following day Banbury entertain Peterborough City in the last eight of the EHB Cup but three South Premier Hockey League points will be up for grabs 24 hours earlier.

Banbury have knocked out two National League sides, as well as Premier league Canterbury en route to the last eight.

And Steve Brooker’s side returned to winning ways against leaders Havant, winning 4-3 in Saturday’s division one fixture with Barney Williams bagging the late winner.

Brooker said: “That was a fantastic result against leaders which shows our potential and the great prospects for the week ahead.

“The EHB Cup is is our equivalent ofthe FA Cup, we are in there with the big boys and hoping to get through to the last four. We are also hoping for a big crowd to lift the side to yet another level.”

Saturday’s game got underway at a cracking space with both sides attacking in a fine display of open hockey. Louis Harris combined with Richard Foreman to open up the visitors’ defence but Havant took the lead through Akhtar Ali.

Scott Reynolds kept Banbury in it before Havant secured a penalty corner but Steve Campbell shut down the striker to force the ball away from the danger area.

After the restart Banbury won a penalty corner which Harry Brooker slotted home from a drag-flick. A minute later Loxton broke through the visitors’ defence and, despite being pulled down by a defender after rounding the keeper, he scrambled the ball over the line.

Rock solid defence from Harry Camp and Charlie Murphy gave the midfield, including the returning Steve O’Connor, the chance to capitalise on the wavering Havant side. Loxton thundered home another penalty corner before Ali reduced the deficit.

Havant equalised through a penalty from Ollie Nail but Banbury were not to be denied and with two minutes left Williams finished from close range for the second week running.