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Sidmouth HC Men’s 1st XI 3, Ashmoor 2
Owing to their commitment to a National Indoor Cup Final, Sidmouth's visitors Ashmoor asked for this game to be played on an alternative date and, given floodlights are still not installed at Sidmouth's home pitch, the game was played on a Wednesday evening in place of the club's usual training session at Ottery St Mary, writes Brian Woodward.
The visitors were sitting in second spot in the league, pushing promotion places. Buoyed by their qualification into a national cup final, an appropriate amount of respect was probably not afforded to the home side who, thus far, have had an indifferent season. For the first time this year, Sidmouth fielded the same team as they had done the previous week.
The opening exchanges were dominated by a young Ashmoor side who took the lead midway through the first half with a sublime strike which would not have looked out of place on a much higher stage. However, this setback proved to be the inspiration that Sidmouth required and pressure finally resulted in a penalty corner, converted by Dan Devine, notching his first successful drag flick of the season.
With the impetus with the home side, a scrappy goal tapped in ultimately by Joy saw Sidmouth go 2-1 up, much to the satisfaction of the majority of the home fans. The job was far from complete though, as the team were frequently reminded from the sidelines by self-confessed pessimists Paul Gannon and Simon Price. Ashmoor managed to secure a penalty corner which they duly converted to level.
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In a tense finish, the steady heads of Graham Pidgeon, Scott Rowson and the league's oldest player, Charlie Plowden across the defence stabilised Sidmouth, countering the exuberance in attack of Jon Pike, Devine and sixteen-year-old Charlie Please.
Please was on hand at the right time to knock in a well worked penalty corner routine that Sidmouth had earned with about three minutes to spare, allowing them to run out the 3-2 winners of a fierce encounter, for which they were not the favourites.
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On Sunday, Sidmouth bowed out of the Devon Cup, having reached the quarter-final stage to Premier Division 1 side ECV Hornets.
This Saturday, Sidmouth play Ottery Crickets, 2pm.