Brooker finds right formula as Banbury bounce back

Banbury's Kieran Symons and London Wayfarers' Simon Rea battle for possession
Banbury's Kieran Symons and London Wayfarers' Simon Rea battle for possession

Banbury returned to winning ways at the right time to arrest their slide in the South Premier Hockey League.

George Brooker and Kyle White each bagged a brace as Banbury beat London Wayfarers 5-1 in Saturday’s division one fixture.

Wayfarers were just one place above Banbury who desperately needed to turn around a dismal run of form.

So manager Steve Brooker sent out a revised team set-up in an effort to end the first half of the season with a flourish and Banbury went on to do just that in a thrilling return to form.

The visitors got off to a flying start as the home side settled into the new line-up but it took only four minutes before George Brooker was back on the score sheet finishing a left-sided move from close range for the home side.

Putting previous losses of an early lead behind them, Banbury extended the lead with another left-sided move as Simon Boardman netted despite being clattered by the keeper.

The second half got off to an even better start as Harry Loxton returned to sparkling form and dazzled the visitors with a brilliant run through the middle of their defence to set up for a Kyle White finish.

White increased Banbury’s lead only moments later to complete a right-sided move as he slammed home from a narrow angle from Kieran Symons’ pass.

But Wayfarers were not done and fought back, putting the home defence under renewed pressure and Banbury were reduced to ten players for a five-minute sin-bin offence during which the visitors reduced the deficit through Alex Penny.

But even with only ten players on the pitch, Banbury made a lightning break to restore their four-goal cushion with Brooker slotting past the flailing keeper within a minute.

Wayfarers piled on the pressure, substituting their keeper for an outfield player in an effort to claw their way back into the game.

But the new-look Banbury line-up held firm to see out the game and take the points.

Banbury will miss Loxton in the second half of the season as business commitments take him abroad. But the new team set-up promises a return to better form after the new year break when Banbury resume against fourth-placed Spencer.