Brooker says home draw could be key in cup clash

Banbury manager Steve Brooker
Banbury manager Steve Brooker

Banbury resume their campaign with a double-header this weekend.

Manager Steve Brooker will be looking for Banbury to complete the double over Spencer in Saturday’s South Premier Hockey League fixture and make it through to the next round of the England Hockey Cup 24 hours later. Banbury host Oxford Hawks for their rearranged second round tie on Sunday.

We will need to be much sharper if we are to repeat our first result of the season and complete a double over Spencer on Saturday

Banbury manager Steve Brooker

Brooker said: “We have a tough start to the second half of our league season and we have run out some Christmas cobwebs on Saturday. But we will need to be much sharper if we are to repeat our first result of the season and complete a double over Spencer on Saturday.

“We also look forward to entertaining Oxford Hawks in our postponed England Hockey Cup second round match on Sunday. Both games are at home, so we look forward to claiming the advantage.”

Banbury warmed up for the resumption of their division one campaign with a double-header against Stourport and Cheltenham from the West and Midlands equivalent premier divisions.

With some regular players missing and awaiting the arrival of new recruits, Banbury gave a first team debut to Charlie Camp, welcomed back Scott Reynolds in goal for one of the games and Louis Harris made a return, having missed the first half of the season to study leave.

Trying out a new formation line-up, Banbury failed to find their form against Stourport and lost 3-1 despite taking a first half lead through Steve O’Connor.

In their second game against Cheltenham, Banbury went into the break 1-0 down but a switch in the line-up to their familiar formation saw a much improved second half. Barney Williams equalised before a break from Harris found Joe Allen in the visitors’ D and O’Connor finished it off for a 2-1 victory.