Banbury Hockey Club reach national cup finals at London 2012 Olympic venue
This crowns a great season for the club, relishing the chance to play at the national stadium at Lea Valley on May 29.
Delighted Banbury Manager Andy Camp said: “What a season and what a semi-final cup game! The lads gave everything against a very tough and talented Manchester team, who stretched us to the limit.
"But this team knows how to cope with pressure and how to find the net and the guys delivered big time. Next stop the England Hockey Cup final in London!”
East Grinstead HC or Jersey HC await, for the 4.30pm game to conclude England’s Pro League weekend with Spain and South Africa.
The game matched the weather as both teams fought a hotly contested first half.
George Brooker scored the opener for Banbury after rounding the Bowdon keeper. Their opponents fought back and only great defending kept Banbury’s 1-0 lead at half time.
If anyone thought the game would grind out to a dull 1-0 win for the home team, then they were to be proved wrong as Bowdon levelled a minute into the second half.
But Banbury weren’t phased and started to command the midfield. A well-worked move ended with Harry Simons volleying the ball home in for 2-1. Bowdon equalised just a minute later, but Banbury’s heads did not go down.
James Long found a great pass to Steve O’Connor in the Bowdon D who deftly slipped the ball under the keeper for 3-2. Banbury were now on fire and attacking at speed.
With five minutes to go, Banbury dealt the killer blow as Long found Brooker, whose onward flick was expertly deflected by captain Will Kellett off his reverse stick and into the Bowdon goal, to make it 4-2.
The last five minutes, however, was all Bowdon and despite heroic defence by Ben Clarke, Josh Nunneley, Darsh Theara and Pete Lamb they won a penalty corner with two minutes left and made it 4-3 with a hard flick into the corner of the goal.
Banbury clung onto the win though and can look forward to the final at the 2012 Olympic venue at the end of the month.