Hockey: Wimbledon 1 Hampstead & Westminster 2
PUBLISHED: 15:56 28 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:56 28 April 2018
Hampstead & Westminster's men booked their place in the Hockey League final at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre with a thrilling win over regular season champions Wimbledon on Saturday.
The first quarter was fairly cagey as defences dominated, although Will Calnan had a couple of strikes from corners for Hampstead.
Calnan looked most threatening as play began to open up in the second quarter and deflected the ball onto the crossbar, before firing another over on the reverse.
James Bailey produced a fine save from a Hampstead corner ealry in the second half, but the deadlock was broken on 42 minutes when Matt Guise-Brown deflected home from a drag flick at another corner.
Hampstead forced Bailey to make another save from a corner before doubling their lead on 53 minutes as Sam French flicked home from a set-piece.
Wimbledon lost Henry Weir to a yellow card, before removing Bailey fora kicking-back, and then saw Simon Mantell shown a yellow card.
Peter Friend halved the deficit with 90 seconds left on the clock and Wimbledon won a corner in the final minute, only for the decision to be overturned.
Wimbledon then went down to eight men after Michael Hoarea was shown a card, while Hampstead were reduced to 10 following a card of their own.
But the men from Maida Vale held on for an historic win, having lost to Wimbledon in last year’s semi-final, and will take on Surbiton in Sunday’s final (1.30pm) for the right to be called champions of England.
Meanwhile, Hampstead & Westminster’s women fell to a 2-1 defeat against Beeston in their promotion play-off group at the University of Birmingham.
Having drawn 1-1 with Slough in Nottingham a week earlier, the Conference East champions held firm in the face of several early corners.
But Beeston opened the scoring on 16 minutes with a penalty stroke and doubled their lead with a good team goal.
Hampstead were unable to convert some corners of their own in the second half, until Annabel Driver deflected one into the net to halve the deficit and give them hope.
It proved only a consolation though as Beeston held on to secure victory and their place in the Premier Division next season. Hampstead will hope to join them in the top flight by beating Stourport in their third and final game on Sunday.