Banbury’s bid to retain the England Hockey Mixed Trophy is over.
Their 11 game winning streak which saw them win the trophy last season came to an end at the hands of Leamington based side Khalsa in Sunday’s quarter-final.
Khalsa started the better of the two sides, with a high tempo approach that the visitors struggled to live up to and the pace of play soon found themselves up against. Khalsa’s positive start was rewarded with a couple of early short corners with which they came inches from opening the scoring, the first effort flashed past the post and the second one was cleared off the line by Harry Brooker.
But the home side broke the deadlock, converting from the penalty spot after keeper Scott Reynolds brought down a Khalsa forward with a last-ditch diving tackle. Banbury drew level just before the interval when a short corner was converted by Kyle White who fired a drag-flick into the top left corner of the net.
The second half was a tight affair with both sides putting together some positive attacking moves. Much like the first half, it was Khalsa who regained the lead from a well-worked short corner routine, finished with a close range reverse-stick shot into the bottom corner.
Banbury responded well and created several chances including a string of short corners but strong defence from the home side and some excellent saves preserved Khalsa’s slim advantage. Two quick counter attacking moves starting from deep inside their own half settled the tie for Khalsa.
Banbury continued to play to the final whistle and managed a consolation with White scoring a penalty-stroke.
Captain Scott Reynolds said: “It was obviously a bitterly disappointing result for us but we have had another really enjoyable season and have played every game with smiles on our faces.
“The team has a fantastic team spirit and this was obvious after the game where there was still a real sense of togetherness despite the result.
“We created a lot of chances and were denied by some great saves by their keeper. Had one of those gone in earlier in the second half it could have been a very different result but unfortunately it wasn’t to be and we wish Khalsa well for the finals weekend.”