Devon Cup Quarter Final

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ECV Hornets 1st XI 2, SOHC 1

Having lost 3-0 to ECV Hornets 2nd XI a few weeks ago and on the back of a long losing run, SOHC travelled into Exeter last Sunday with a little trepidation to take on a team who play hockey three divisions higher than them.

Coached by Laurence Cole, who had previously assisted at both Ottery Crickets and Sidmouth in years past, Hornets started the game much the brighter as expected of the statistically vastly superior team.

Indeed they took the lead a few minutes into the game courtesy of a well worked short corner routine.

As time progressed and SOHC settled into a rhythm, the game evened out with both sides sharing the possession. Matt Ogborne and Charlie Please controlled the middle of the park and certainly matched their opposite numbers. Bright running up front from Sam King and Lloyd Colin caused the hosts to be uncomfortable and their coach to offer a few nervy words of encouragement from the side.

Hornets’ tactically-astute coach made all present know that he was not content with his side’s shape – a result of being run ragged by Andy Clemmans, Will Gallantree, Anthony Dibble and Tom Down, who rotated through the midfield.

With only a goal in it at half time, SOHC took on fluid with smiles on their faces given the new-found belief that they are a quality team. The news of a South West Sports News reporter being present pitchside, spurred Sid to take to the second half seeking a giant killing result.

A slightly unfamiliar defence including the weighty combination of Peter Baker and Chris Lewis looked impenetrable and as the game progressed, so the confidence grew. So much so, SOHC threatened the home goal on numerous occasions, Clemmans and Dibble missing open goals. The pressure told with the hosts conceding a short corner. Up stepped Harris, keen to please some vocal female fans on the side, slotting home a nicely-taken drag flick.

With time on the clock ticking down, fears of a shock result were clear on the faces of the Hornets’ players. Their reputed sting had been thwarted and their coach was becoming ever more animated on the side.

With the occasion reaching fever-pitch, even an official momentarily faltered under the considerable pressure of the occasion. Having insisted a Hornets’ penalty corner could only be played on his signal, he subsequently awarded a goal when the home side took the play early. A SOHC player remonstrated with passionate eloquence, causing the umpire to order the corner to be retaken after consultation with his colleague.

The Hornets goal continued to be threatened but with two minutes to go, the hosts managed to convert a corner to take a lucky win, seeing them progress to the cup semi-final.

This week SOHC take on Isca at home (Colin Tooze SC) – 2pm start.

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