Newmarket travelled to Harleston for the annual May bank holiday tournament. Their group looked tough with Lowestoft Railway, Ipswich & East Suffolk, Norwich City and Marvel Loss a touring team from Lincolnshire. There were 2 groups containing 5 teams, games were of 20 minutes one way with semi finals for the teams at the top of their groups and a final to follow.
The first game was against Lowestoft on grass, the recent wet spell meant the grass pitch played well, Newmarket dominated with Josh Dawson deflecting Alex Andreou’s cross for the first, Mike Skelton scored the second after good work from Matt Holden and then deflected Andreou’s hit into the D for the third. Newmarket conceded a sloppy consolation from a short corner that bounced over logging stand in keeper Dan Brown.
The second game was also on grass against Norwich City. Newmarket went behind when Dave Worrall was fouled by the defender, who picked up the ball and slammed it into the empty net. Newmarket responded through Andreou who beat a couple of players and rifled into the bottom corner from the top of the D. Newmarket dominated possession with Ollie Wade and Chris Leggett playing well in midfield. The team were unable to capitalise on their chances and a Norwich break led to a short corner which they capitalised on to win 2-1.
The third game saw a welcome return to the astro against Marvel Loss, from Lincolnshire containing familiar faces from Bourne Deeping, Spalding and a couple of guests from Ely. The game was made easier by the opposition playing the first 5 minutes with 10 players with plenty sitting on the bench! Full back Will Wilson and Dave Worrall got much further forward, Centre backs Simon Harrington and Jordan Newnes marshalled the defence brilliantly. Will Wilson found himself on the right, his firm cross deflected in by Skelton at the near post.
Josh Dawson and Matt Holden wreaked havoc down the right, with Holden forcing countless penalty corners. From one of these Skelton found Dawson at the near post to deflect in. James Wrinch slotted in at the back and after his Achilles operation, with many years of experience he will be a great asset next season. With a second victory the team had almost clinched a place in the top 2 and semi finals with bottom of the group IES to play.
Newmarket coasted the last group game against IES. There seemed to be a competition to see who could miss from the closest! Simon Harrington broke the deadlock, reacting first to a rebound and scoring with his trademark 360! The team were lucky to not suffer for their prolificacy, when a shot from a short corner struck Worrall’s arm on the line. A penalty stroke was awarded which was saved by Town keeper Dan Brown.
The opposition in the semi final was Norwich Dragons. After 2 clean sheets, the defence of Wilson, Newnes, Harrington, Wrinch and Worrall were very tight, taking it in turns to push on and support the attacks. Once again they dominated possession and scored when Pears was sent down the right his cross shot was saved by the keeper with Wade ramming home the rebound. Newmarket thought they had doubled the lead when Holden moved on Dawson’s cross for Leggett to strike into the roof of the net. The goal was initially awarded was overturned after the umpires consulted each other, but the Whistle went and Town were through to the final.
The rain which had threatened to fall for much of the afternoon, held off no longer, although fortunately wasn’t too heavy. The opponents were Grrr, a touring team from the host club, its always bad form for the host club to win its own tournament and Newmarket didn’t really give them a chance. Playing their brand of possession hockey, the team created countless chances and really should have scored many goals. The winner arrived about 5 minutes from time, Wilson’s diagonal cross being knocked in at the second attempt by Skelton at the far post. Any breaks that Grrr could muster were snuffled out by the impressive Newnes. The final whistle went and Newmarket topped off an emphatic season with a second trophy. Player of the final was Grrr’s keeper, but Newmarket’s player of the day was team jester Alex Andreou who was dominating in central midfield on grass and astro.
Next season the first team will return to division 3NW for the first time since the 2001-02 season and the second team look to secure the promotion they almost achieved in their first season. New players are always welcome, regardless of age or experience. If you are interested in playing for the club, please look at the club website www.newmarkethockeyclub.com. Men’s captain Will Wilson can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.