Banbury Keeper Kit Lamb's goalkeeping heroics helped fire Banbury to a brilliant Tier 2 Championship title over East Grinstead 2nd XI on a pulsating day of action at Lee Valley National Hockey and Tennis Centre.
After the two sides played out an entertaining stalemate in normal time, man of the match, Kit Lamb thwarted two East Grinstead strikes in the shoot-out to seal a memorable triumph and trigger Sunday night ecstasy among the vocal Banbury travelling contingent.
George Godwin, Will Kellett, Sam Chadbourne and Harry Simons all netted in the shoot-out and keeper Lamb repelled East Grinstead’s Jordan Torrilla's effort to clinch the coveted crown.
Roared on by a raucous crowd in east London, the two sides slugged it out in an intriguing first half as neither were able to capitalise on several promising opportunities. For Banbury Captain Will Kellett, George Godwin and Harry Simons came so close to breaking the deadlock, but the East Grinstead Keeper Jack Egerton pulled off some great saves to deny them.
The second half was just as hotly contested as Josh Nunneley, Darsh Theara, Peter Lamb and Ben Clarke had to work particularly hard in the first 10 minutes to repel the E Grinstead onslaught. The East Grinstead fans had travelled in their numbers and were nearly sent into raptures when Will Denny went close – denied by the brilliant Lamb in goal.
But Banbury also continued to press for a winner. Richard Hobley and Josh Nunneley started to settle the defence and Tyson Nunneley, James Long, Steve O’Connor and Sam Chadbourne launched attack after attack down the flanks and it was the E Grinstead keeper, Egerton, who was under pressure as the second half progressed. Banbury came closest to snatching it at the death as they enjoyed a dominant spell of four quickfire penalty corners but Josh Nunneley’s drag flicks were denied by a defiant East Grinstead defence.
That sent the game to a shoot-out and it was Banbury who held their nerve for glory, with keeper Lamb delivering a dazzling display to cap a brilliant day of hockey in the capital.
Banbury Manager, Andy Camp, said: “This is an amazing achievement for the club and players. After the disappointment of losing out on league promotion through goal difference this is a fitting reward for this talented squad. To come here to the London stadium and win the trophy in front of our fans is a great ending to a phenomenal season.”