Brooker says Banbury will have to raise it for next test

Barney Williams bagged a brace for Banbury at High Wycombe
Barney Williams bagged a brace for Banbury at High Wycombe

Steve Brooker will be looking for his Banbury side to make it back-to-back wins in the South Premier Hockey League.

Banbury entertain Indian Gymkhana in Saturday’s division one fixture having picked up three points on the opening day with a 3-2 victory at newly-promoted High Wycombe.

Banbury produced a solid rather than inspirational performance at the youthful but robust newly-promoted outfit.

The visitors got off to a shaky start and were taken back by the intensity of the hosts’ attacking play and conceded an early goal as Stephen Sloan finished a right-sided move. Reminded of the realities of life in this division, Banbury started to pull their game together with Tyson Nunneley and George Brooker combining well down the right to force a penalty corner-drag which was flicked home by the impressive Jaz Singh.

Centre back Harry Camp comfortably slotted back into his role as stalwart of the Banbury defence but added a sparkling run deep into the hosts half of the pitch as the visitors finished the first period dominating play in the way the hosts had for the first ten minutes but the scores remained level at half time.

Banbury restarted after the break as strongly as they had finished the first half with Joe Allen creating a one on one with the home keeper but he was unable to complete. Ten minutes later Barney Williams opened his account for the season, finishing a well worked penalty corner routine that started with a slipped pass to Singh who fired in to create the chance.

While never out of danger from the fast Wycombe counter attacks, Banbury continued to dominate with Brooker’s piercing pass from the right finding Allen whose deft pass beat the keeper and presented Williams with an empty goal to double his tally with five minutes to go.

Wycombe rediscovered their form as the visitors were unable to play down the clock, to win a penalty corner which Jack Whelan converted to give Banbury a nervous last three minutes but the visitors hung on to claim the points.

Brooker said: “We are off to a good start in our new campaign but there are lessons to be learned from a patchy performance and a weak last five minutes that nearly threw the points away.

“We have tough opponents for our first home fixture against Indian Gymkhana and we will need to be more consistent, but I am happy with the three points.”