Symons hits a hat-trick as Banbury see off the leaders

Banbury's Barney Williams comes forward with the ball against Tunbridge Wells
Banbury's Barney Williams comes forward with the ball against Tunbridge Wells

Steve Brooker will be looking for his Banbury side to build on their victory over the leaders when they travel to the South Coast on Saturday.

Kieran Symons completed another hat-trick as Banbury beat South Premier Hockey League leaders Tunbridge Wells 5-3 on Saturday.

Banbury moved up third in division two following their third win on the spin and are now only five points behind Tunbridge while in-form Symons has now bagged 13 goals.

It looked ominous when the visitors caught the Banbury defence napping within seconds of the start. An aerial pass down the left side of the pitch evaded the defence and gifted Jack Garwood the opener.

But Banbury are made of tougher stuff these days and they squandered a chance to equalise. The home side continued with their the attacking style of play and won a penalty corner that Symons confidently slotted into the bottom corner to equalise.

With tireless work in midfield from Steve O’Connor plus great performances for midfielders Barney Williams and Jonny Stirrup, Banbury showed the confidence to disrupt the visitors’ game plans, setting up another penalty corner just before halftime for Symons to put his side ahead.

An early defensive wobble in the second half gave the visitors a penalty corner that was deftly deflected home by Kyle Mathieson to level. But Banbury struck back within a minute to reclaim the lead when Symons thundered home a reverse-stick shot from a penalty corner to claim his second hat-trick in as many games.

Banbury continued to dominate play and extended their lead when veteran Richard Foreman struck home to finish another fine left sided move. With confidence high, a penetrating pass from Josh Nunneley found the in-form Joe Allan to set up Tyson Nunneley to make it 4-1.

Despite being put under pressure, the leaders threatened to reduce the arrears with breakaway counter attacks. They broke down the right flank to win a penalty corner for Chris Smith to again reduce the lead but there was no way back.

Brooker was delighted after the game and will be looking for more of the same at lowly Bournemouth this weekend.

He said: “At last we are beginning to show the real ability of this side which is packed with talent, one more win next week and we are right back in contention.”