Roller Hockey: HBU double Senior National Cup Success with both teams progressing to the Semi-Finals
National Cup Quarter Final:
Herne Bay United v Letchworth & Herne Bay United (Veterans) vs Halifax – 15th March 2014
Match 1: HBU Vets vs Halifax:
HBU Veterans were the first of the HBU teams to play on Saturday 15th March against visitors Halifax. HBU Veteran’s have been entered into the National Cup due to HBU having a number of Veteran players who are preparing for the EVRicup in Voltrega Spain in June 2014. HBU hosted this international Tournament in 2013 finishing 3rd.
This would be HBU’s Veteran’s first competitive match in National Competition and they didn’t disappoint, after a slow start they found their feet and showed just why they had won 16 Premier League titles over 18 years.
HBU started with building play and dominating possession, however it was Halifax getting the firsts shots in at HBU’s Daniel Barton and showing they would be fighting for this match all the way. But HBU kept on and with some strong possessional play creating lots of gaps to penetrate Halifax’s defense. Brendan Barker scored his first after 5 minutes, which was shortly followed up with a team goal and Simon Hosking getting on the score sheet. The Match now settled and HBU making regular player changes, never looked like conceding but were looking to find their finishing form. Just before the Half time break Barker finished a team play to give United a 3 – 0 lead at half time.
United really found their feet in the second half and capitalized the run of play and set about killing the game off. Halifax at this point really were given little chance and the experience of the HBU veterans team showed and though Barker and Hosking got 7 between them in the second half these were largely down to the team play capitalizing on each others positions leaving the strikers to just finish the job, with Daniel Barton in United’s net setting about his target of I will not be beaten tonight and showing why he was one of the best in the world. United ran out the game comfortably 10 – 0 winners with youngest player on the team being 36 and oldest being 45.
The Veteran squad will now face either Bury or Middlesbrough in the semi-finals depending on their results.
Brendan Barker commented after the match: “it is great to win games like this and is our first competitive match this year in preparation for the EVRicup, we have had one training together and we now step it up in preparation but what is a great feeling is just playing without the pressure and just to enjoy ourselves..”
Team Lists: HBU Daniel Barton, Phil McVey©, Nick Barton, Nigel Mills, Richard Walker, Simon Hosking(3), Neil Austin, Brendan Barker(7)
Halifax: C Jones, R Lloyd, M Ratcliffe, S Brant, S Bannister, R Charles, T Wallis, R Jones, R Davis.
Match 2: HBU vs Letchworth:
With Herne Bay United entering two teams into this years’ competition it was decided to compose this team of players under the age of 25 in order to show what potential a team of the future had.
Due to their age it was always going to be a tough assignment against a physical and hard-working Letchworth team. United’s game plan was to keep the game tight from the start and use the fitness benefits of having a younger side to wear down the opposition and take advantage in the second half.
The match began as planned and Herne Bay United, although conceding the majority of possession, had no problem in keeping the Letchworth side restricted to long hopeful shots that were mostly blocked by good defending without the need for the goalkeeper to make a save. HBU could have even taken the lead when a good interception and quick pass to Lewis Greenwood sent him through one-on-one with the Letchworth keeper who saved well. However, just as HBU were beginning to have more possession a hopeful flick from James Taylor (scorer of 12 goals in 2 matches v HBU this season already) found its way through a crowded penalty area. This did not dishearten the young side who continued to defend well and began to create pressure on the Letchworth goal. This pressure got its reward when Joe Singleton finished well from inside the penalty area levelling the game up.
The half entered its final five minutes finely balanced and it took a moment of quality from James Taylor who showed great skill to volley past Eddie Mount from a tight angle to put the visitors back in front. This galvanised Herne Bay United and with time running out in the first half Alex Mount deflected in a long shot from Tom White to take the teams level into the break.
During half time the players were reminded of the necessity for concentration to be maintained and that as Letchworth were beginning to tire then the match was there for the taking. To their credit the players implemented the game plan superbly and were rewarded with a penalty when Fabio Vicente was crudely tripped when through on goal resulting in a penalty for which Vicente dusted himself down and scored with confidence.
As the half wore on both teams created more chances as tiredness began to creep in but both goalkeepers were equal to the task until Taylor completed his hat-trick with another individual goal. Again HBU fought back and minutes later scored what turned out to be the winner when Alex Mount got his second from close range
Once the lead was regained HBU never looked like conceding and with players being regularly rotated to ensure silly mistakes did not start to creep in were able to see out the remainder of the game in relative comfort to seal a magnificent 4-3 victory in a match that they were underdogs coming into.
The reward for this victory is a two-legged semi-final with unbeaten League Leaders Grimsby but if they play like this then any result is possible!!!
Commenting on the victory Captain Joe Singleton said: “I’m delighted with this performance. Every player stood up and played beyond their age, if we can continue to improve and work hard then the coming years bode very well for this team & HBU.”
HBU TEAM: Eddie Mount, Luigi Walker (gks), Joe Singleton,capt(1), David Martindale, Lewis Greenwood, Alex Mount (2), Ashley Barton, Josh Branchett, Tom White, Fabio Vicente (1).
Semi-Finals will be another doubleheader on May 17th at the Arena