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Undefeated are defeated at the Fortress

Newmarket Men’s 1st XI  6 – 3  Wisbech Towns Men’s 2nd XI

Newmarket went in the seasons penultimate league game knowing that they would need to defeat unbeaten Wisbech to maintain their slim hopes of winning their 3rd consecutive league title.  It was a pulsating encountered, with a fantastic atmosphere generated by the large crowd.

The whole game was played at a frenetic pace with the back 4 of Will Wilson, Jordan Newnes, Simon Harrington and Dave Worrall stretched often, pulling put great tackles and blocks. Wisbech shaded the first 10 minutes without brining keeper Chris Routs into action.

Newmarket struck first, the ball was played into Harry Bell on the right flank who picked out Mike Skelton in the D, he took one touch and finished into the bottom corner. At this point Wisbech suffered and injury to one of their players which seemed to disrupt their rhythm and Newmarket dominated the rest of the half.

The second goal was a brilliant individual event from Ollie Wade, having been moved into the middle for the last 2 games and recently had his hair styled by local hairdresser Loren Davenport the young midfielder has really come into his own. Intercepting a Wisbech 16 on his reverse stick he drove into the D, beating a defender and keeper in one fluid movement to finish into an unguarded net.

With Alex Andreou’s introduction from the bench and good distribution from Chris Leggett in central midfield, Mark Pears combined with Matt Holden to win a penalty corner. Having wasted all but 1 of the 23 the team won when loosing at home to Cambridge South, they were much more productive today, scoring from the first. The routine broke down, but Wilson found Skelton at the far post and he made no mistake. With Skelton having visited the same hairdresser this week she could be busy before most big games next season!

The whistle went for half time and Wisbech trudged off looking dejected, Newmarket knew that the next goal would be crucial and so it proved. To their credit Wisbech demonstrated why they had been undefeated so far this season with a strong first 15 minutes of the second half. The dominated possession, partly because Newmarket couldn’t keep it, and forced a flurry of penalty corner. Most were expertly saved by the outstanding Routs but they scored with a couple he could do nothing about. The first from a firm strike which deflected of the otherwise excellent Harrington’s stick into the net on (or just outside) the far post. The second was forced home over Routs after a goal mouth scramble.

With the score now 3 – 2 to Newmarket it got a little tense, but Newmarket dug in, with Holden finding space on the left he won another penalty corner, Wilson’s strike was blocked and Wade struck the rebound first time into the bottom left corner. Wisbech went up the other end and scored another, the ball was crossed from the right and Harrington notched his second own gol deflecting it high into the net!

Newmarket’s heads didn’t go down they just went up the other end and scored again, another fine passing team move culminated with Holden slamming the ball in from 10 yards. Ed Griffiths made the game safe with about 5 minutes to go. Harry Bell reacted quickly and took a quick self pass on the sideline, he drove the base line and pulled the ball back to Ed Griffiths who slotted home from an acute angle. With 5 minutes left and Newmarket 3 goals to the good the game was won, it was marred late on when Ed Griffiths collected a yellow card for an over enthusiastic challenge and DaveWorrall decided he fancied completing the umpiring course and muttered one word too many about the decision.

Man of the match was Chris Routs in goal, who pulled off some vital stops, especially during the crazy first 15 minutes of the second half. He was run very close by Ollie Wade who was outstanding in the centre of the pitch. Dick of the day was close, Dave Worrall finally got the yellow card for dissent he has been striving for all season, but with 2 own goals and a reputation for making dick of the day his own the winner was Simon Harrington.

With 1 game to go Newmarket are a point behind Wisbech, but with both teams likely to win next week it looks likeWisbech’s title, they deserve it for being so consistent over a long drawn weather and indoor hockey interrupted season.  It is just a shame Newmarket had such a shocker against Cambridge South last month, if they had won that they would be 2 points ahead. The team would like to thank Nic Thorpe for all his help, coaching the men’s side of the club every Wednesday and helping the first team every Saturday.

The team now look forward to competing in Division 2 North next season, the highest level the club have played at for a very long time, if ever. Long live the revolution!