Newmarket I 13 v 1 March III
Goalscorers: – Josh Dawson 6, Mark Pears 3, Will Wilson, Chris Leggett, Ben Shepperson & Greg Cummins.
Newmarket started the eighteenth game of the 5NW season still unbeaten, facing a strong March team who had won the last 4 games and 7 of the last 8. Buoyed by last week’s fine win over fellow title contenders Spalding Newmarket took the game to March from the whistle. Will Wilson threw a massive aerial which Ben Shepperson controlled and squared to Chris Leggett to slam home inside the opening minute. Within 5 minutes Newmarket had doubled the lead, Mark Pears in a lone role up front, collected a through ball, beat a man and squared to Dawson for a tap in. Newmarket were dominating possession, with every man comfortable on the ball, after another fine move featuring short incisive passing Newmarket won a penalty corner, which Wilson duly flicked into the top right corner. The fourth continued soon after from another penalty corner, the ball was slipped to Wade who’s firm slap was deflected into the roof of the net by Dawson at the far post.
Newmarket took their foot off the gas a little and March began to get a foot hold in the game but whenever they entered Newmarket’s half they found centre backs Greg Cummins and Jordan Newnes in commanding form. On several occasions Newnes in particular intercepted and intelligently started a fresh counter attack. With Ben Coupe and Pete Boyle providing width from full back Newmarket were comfortable moving the ball round the back to maintain possession.
With half time still 15 minutes away Newmarket made use of the rolling subs, bringing Will Balding and Marc Prentice on at full back, Newmarket once again upped the tempo and scored three in quick succession, all a product of unselfish passing and great movement off the ball. Josh Dawson completed his hat trick before Mark Pears scored his first of the day and Josh Dawson notched his fourth and the teams seventh just before the half time whistle went.
At half time coach Chris Evans emphasized the importance of continuing where the team left off and to keep the basics strong. The first 10 minutes of the second half were a little scrappy, March were clearly determined to get closer and disrupt the rhythm but Newmarket just worked harder to re-establish dominance, Chris Leggett in centre midfield once again began to dominant, always playing the right pass. Newmarket’s 8thgoal was scored by Ben Shepperson after a Mark Pears set him up. March Pears soon scored the ninth from a short corner.
March still weren’t lying down and Newmarket were grateful that goalkeeper Chris Warren, often a spectator, when he made a couple of reaction saves before March scored a consolation from their third penalty corner minutes later. Galvanised by this, Newmarket’s clinical passing, cut through the March defence for Pears to grab his hat trick.
Newmarket thought they were going to score their 11thwhen Chris Leggett smashed the ball into the post with the goal gaping, Wilson missed narrowly with a short corner before Josh Dawson finished another fine move with the 11th. Greg Cummins came on in midfield and scored the 12th, slotting home after the keeper made a smart stop from Pears shot. It was left to Dawson to score the last goal and complete his double hat-trick, Wilson broke through the defence, his diving reverse stick thunderbolt was well saved by the keeper and Dawson was on hand to complete formalities.
On the day Newmarket played free flowing expansive hockey which wouldn’t have looked out of place two leagues higher, with four games to go in the 22 games season the team broke four men’s club records, biggest win 13-1, most goals in a season 109, most goals in a game Josh Dawson 6 and oldest goal scorer, the effervescent Greg Cummins aged 45. Man of the match was Josh Dawson, but it was indicative of how well the team played that he was one of 8 nominations on the day.
Next week’s game in away against Cambridge Nomads, Newmarket need 3 points to confirm promotion and 6 points to be crowned champions, which on the basis of the first 18 games they would thoroughly deserve.