Captain Dockley nets goal that seals title for SOHC men’s fifth team

Sidmouth and Ottery A at home to Okehampton. Ref shsp 08-17TI 7473. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth and Ottery A at home to Okehampton. Ref shsp 08-17TI 7473. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth and Ottery Hockey Club can claim two division titles in the men’s section this year, after the fifth team drew with Isca in the last game of the season.

The side had been up to 12 points clear at the top of South East Division 3 of the GoCrea8 League but with player availability issues earlier in the season leading to two conceded matches and a three-point deduction, the fifths needed to get a draw in the final game to become champions.

Playing at Cullompton, the fifths took on a stronger Isca side than they had encountered in previous meetings but played with their usual composure.

It was Isca that had the greater part of the early exchanges and took the lead when keeper Dan Weedon was unable to clear his line, after about 15 minutes.

After that setback, the fifths got into a better rhythm, passing the ball well and denying the opposition further chances.

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With the pressure mounting, so SOHC won a series of short corners, with one resulting in a series of shots on goal before Captain Andy Dockley’s persistence levelled the scores.

The second half of the match saw an increase in pace from both sides, as they both sought the winning goal.

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Isca came close on one short corner, but Keith Brown who was later named the team’s Player of the Season, was up to the challenge and pushed the ball around the post.

The rest of the game saw few chances, with the defenders holding sway over the forwards.

So, with the final whistle going, the fifth team claimed the title with a 1-1 draw - undefeated on the pitch in the league.

The season has seen a marked change in fortunes for a side that had ended up in the bottom half of the division over the last two years.

With solid commitment from a number of players throughout the campaign, the side has seen some strong performances, particularly from the youngsters who have joined the team as the season progressed.

Seventeen-year-old Matt Sheridan was named as Most Improved Player for the season.

With the first team gaining promotion as league champions in their own division, the club can justly claim a successful season for the men’s section.

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