Hampstead & Westminster’s men hit magnificent seven to ensure trip to League finals
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead & Westminster’s men secured a place at the League finals for the third year in a row with four games still to play after a 7-2 win over Holcombe.
Having drawn 0-0 earlier in the season, they raced into a two-goal lead inside 10 minutes as Sam French and Rupert Shipperly netted.
Matt Guise-Brown got onto the scoresheet with his 13th goal of the season, a trademark drag flick, and then sent a long aerial pass to Kei Kaeppeler, who skipped past the visiting defence and set up James Oates to break his duck.
James Chaffey smashed a bobbling ball into the net from the top of the D to make it 5-0, but Holcombe’s Nick Bandurak hit back when controlling a long pass and smashing a shot into the top corner of Toby Reynolds-Cotterill’s net.
Player-coach Kwan Browne stressed the importance of goal difference during the break, but Holcombe struck again after the restart through Bandurak’s short corner.
Hampstead moved 6-2 up soon after when some improvised play in the D was finished off by Wales forward Shipperly and Ireland’s Chris Cargo fired into the bottom left corner to complete the tally.
With Surbiton winning 5-1 at Reading, Hampstead remain in second place on goal difference but with a 10-point gap to third-placed Beeston, who they visit on Sunday.
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Hampstead then welcome Surbiton to Paddington Rec on Sunday March 17 for what could well be a title decider.
Hampstead’s women remain two points clear at the top of the East Conference after a comfortable win of their own at Horsham.
The home side were contained well to few chances and goals from Lou Radford and Lauren Turner put Hampstead on top at the interval.
Solid defensive work kept out early short corners in the second half, before Turner bagged her second goal of the game and was joined on the scoresheet by Mel Wilkinson, Jas Clarke and Emily Douglas in a confident display.
Hampstead are set to visit Bedford this weekend, knowing four more wins will give them the title for a second successive year and another shot at the play-offs for Premier Division hockey next season.
And they are also set to face a cup semi-final against Ben Rhydding, from Leeds, after coming from a goal down to beat Sevenoaks 2-1 on Sunday, with a dominant second-half display.