Crickets through to last 16 of national cup

Ottery Crickets Under 18s edged past Plymouth Marjons in a tough, closely-fought contest to march forward into the last 16 of the National Hockey Cup competition. In driving rain and hail,

Ottery Crickets' Under 18s edged past Plymouth Marjons in a tough, closely-fought contest to march forward into the last 16 of the National Hockey Cup competition.In driving rain and hail, Ottery re-organised when they lost Watts, their captain, to injury within 10 minutes. Then, pegged back into their own half, with Plymouth playing the better hockey, Ottery went behind after 18 minutes to a close range shot.The game came to life at this point with play flowing from end to end. Within three minutes of the restart, Crickets had levelled, through Ellison, who forced his way into the D, skilfully beating a packed defence to score on the reverse. The rain persisted and both teams pressed to try to regain the advantage. Solid defending from Boulton, Townsend, Laws, Palfrey and 14-year-old Jon Thompson in goal kept Plymouth at bay until, on 28 minutes, a momentary lapse saw Ottery lose possession and go behind again to a deflected drive; 2-1 at half-time. The second half saw a determined Ottery re-emerge. Playing their best hockey, they powered themselves into the match. The midfield of Slade, Oxenham, Williams and Ellison were outstanding, breaking Plymouth down, whilst surging forward and creating at least three good chances for Symes and Bowker which the Marjons' keeper did well to save.Youngman replaced Laws and, with less than 10 minutes to go, Palfrey delivered a sharp 20 yard diagonal pass which Bowker lashed home to level. The excitement wasn't over when, minutes later, in one heart-stopping moment, a Plymouth shot hit the Ottery post and was deflected wide. All square at full-time, it was time to test the frayed nerves of both players and spectators with five penalty flicks each. Man of the Match Thompson saved the first, stretching low down to deny Plymouth; advantage Ottery. Symes calmed the nerves scoring Ottery's first flick. Oxenham, Bowker and Townsend followed with unerring confidence. Plymouth matched their efforts to leave Ellison with Ottery's final flick. He stepped up and coolly converted to give Ottery a fine win and cap a supreme team effort. They now join the likes of national league Southgate and Reading in the next round!

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