​Banbury HC stun Georgians to reach National Cup final

Banbury HC pulled off a stunning display to over come their Surrey hosts Old Georgians and reach the National Cup final on Saturday.​
Man of the Match Josh Nunneley and captain George Brooker close down Sam Bodoana.Man of the Match Josh Nunneley and captain George Brooker close down Sam Bodoana.
Man of the Match Josh Nunneley and captain George Brooker close down Sam Bodoana.

​Having successfully consolidated their promotion to National League status two weeks ago, Banbury then faced the biggest game in the history of the club as firm underdogs.

All looked lost as they went down within two minutes to a Sam Bodoano goal from a slick penalty corner move, with the favourites making it look very easy as they sliced through the visitors’ defence.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Long aerial passes out of the Banbury defence by Man of the Match Josh Nunneley tested the home defence but these merely released pressure and led to little progress throughout the first quarter.

Only in the second quarter did Banbury begin to get some traction with Will Kellett inventively lofting an aerial cross to captain George Brooker who found Will Crowfoot in the area only to see his shot skid wide.

But it was the home side who again sliced through the defence and won a penalty corner for James Cunningham to double their lead.

But Banbury have spent much of their season fighting back from early deficits and they did so again on the stroke of half time when Joe Allen’s pass found Brooker who slotted home to give some hope.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The second-half again began with lots of pressure from the home side, drawing a great save from Banbury keeper Fergus Dunleavy, but they began to suffer from some ill-discipline allowing Banbury back into play, Brooker winning a penalty corner which Nunneley slammed home to level the scores.

Tyson Nunneley and Jacob Buckner-Rowley began sparkle down the visitors’ right, winning more penalty corners, with Nathan Hochman drawing a fine save from home keeper Will Graver as the balance of play started to shift away from the favourites.

It was in the final quarter that the game really came alive with Tyson Nunneley breaking away only to be hacked down on the edge of the area with only a free hit awarded, though moments later a penalty corner was given and his brother Josh repeated his earlier effort past a helpless Graver to give Banbury the lead.

As the favourites broke back, Dunleavy was called on to make a great save to preserve the Banbury lead but moments later he floored a breaking attacker so that Cunningham could level the scores from the penalty spot.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But a goalmouth scramble soon saw Jamie Boardman push the ball home to put Banbury back in front, then Josh Nunneley slammed in his hat-trick penalty corner past a floundering defence to secure the visitors’ against the odds win.

Manager Steve Brooker said: “We have just played and won the biggest game in the whole history of our club. They may not have fielded all of their international players but we have just beaten the best that they put out against us on the day after they came third in the European Club tournament last weekend.

"We now move on to another biggest game in the history of the club with the National Cup final on 5 May at the National Hockey Stadium on the Olympic Park in London.

"I could not have been more proud of the grit and determination we have shown today. The final will be an even bigger test but we are ready for the challenge.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Related topics: