Brooker confident Banbury can cope with life at the top

Banbury's Simon Boardman takes a tumble against Indian Gymkhana
Banbury's Simon Boardman takes a tumble against Indian Gymkhana

Banbury manager Steve Brooker will be looking for his side to bounce back in Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League trip to Milton Keynes.

After their flying start to life back in the top division, Banbury received a hard lesson from Indian Gymkhana following a first ever meeting between the two sides in league action.

We always knew it was going to be hard in this division and we have come up against unfamiliar opposition that has given us a lesson in what promotion really means

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

With the visitors only recently demoted from National League status they were more street wise and played at a faster pace than Banbury and came away 4-1 winners.

Strengthened by the return of joint captain Barney Williams but still missing George Brooker, Banbury got off to a confident start. But their carefully rehearsed press was unzipped by an extraordinary aerial pass almost the length of the pitch to set up a right-sided attack wrong-footing the Banbury defence as Josh Heck grabbed the first of his two goals.

Banbury bounced back within two minutes when Rhys Potter and Richard Foreman combined down the left to set up a penalty corner slotted home by Josh Nunneley to level.

The visitors were far more effective in pressurising their opposition into defensive slips than Banbury with home players being hunted down and dispossessed in midfield. That eventually led to the award of a penalty corner which was slammed past keeper by Capaross to give them a slender lead at halftime.

Banbury were undone again by the long aerial pass to set up Heck for his second goal and extend the visitors’ lead. With the home side still struggling to deal with the pressure, play maker Jaz Singh received a ten minute yellow card during which Matt Heck further extended the visitors’ lead.

With Singh’s return to the pitch the home side finally found some form, defending better and pressing hard down the right. But all to no avail as the penalty corners that the pressure created were well defended.

Manager Steve Brooker said: “We always knew it was going to be hard in this division and we have come up against unfamiliar opposition that has given us a lesson in what promotion really means. But we have some great positives to come out of Saturday’s game and we know what we need to work on at training this week in preparation for a visit to Milton Keynes.

“We are looking forward to meeting more familiar rivals that we have also drawn in the first round of the national cup competition and expect a better performance and outcome.”