On Saturday 1st June Nottinghamshire discovered themselves again on the Nottingham Hockey Centre, trying to proceed their unbeaten run on this yr’s competitors and acquire promotion in to ‘A’ Division, the top-flight in County hockey.
Between them and a promotion place have been the Isle of Man. These two sides have met a number of occasions over the previous couple of years, the final assembly a gripping 5-5 attract Bedford.
Because the solar got here out and with the temperature and humidity rising, Notts began strongly. Inside the primary minute, Notts captain, Steve Batten, drove down the baseline in the direction of aim and his pinpoint shot beat the Isle Of Man keeper, Will Margot, to place Notts 1-0 up. The sport nonetheless remained within the steadiness and on 20 minutes the Isle of Man gained a penalty nook. Andy Whiting’s drag flick, hit the Notts publish man and deflected vast. The umpires conferred and, deciding it was on track, awarded a penalty stroke. Whiting stepped as much as calmly convert and the edges went into half time at 1-1.
Notts began the second half brightly, buoyed on by an incredible half time team-talk by new coach Matt Orridge. It clearly did the trick! On 40 minutes, after some sustained strain, Notts received a penalty nook, cooly dispatched into the underside left nook by Sam Dixon. Then, two objectives in two minutes, the primary an alternate penalty nook routine transformed by Steve Batten after which a screamer from Notts left wing again, James Fisher, noticed Notts go in to the ultimate 16 minutes with a 4-1 benefit. Then got here the comeback… An Isle of Man penalty nook led to a massively disputed penalty stroke, transformed once more by Whiting and only a minute later the Isle of Man’s Jonny Callow scored a penalty nook to convey the Isle of Man inside one with 12 minutes nonetheless to go. Some stout Notts defending held the Isle of Man at bay. Two minutes from time the Isle of Man swapped out their ‘keeper for an additional outfield participant after which, as time ran out, the Isle of Man earned a penalty nook. Whiting’s drag flick, saved by Notts keeper Neill Slane, was then judged to have hit certainly one of his personal defenders, stopping a aim and one more controversial penalty stroke was awarded. With the ultimate motion of the sport, the Isle of Man’s Andy Whiting accomplished his hat-trick of penalty strokes to ship the sport right into a penalty shootout.
After 5 strokes the rating stood at 3-2 to Notts, however Notts ‘keeper, Neill Slane was getting nearer to every of the Isle of Man flicks. He received a big a part of the Isle of Man’s third however couldn’t hold it out. Notts then scored their fourth. Notts’ Slane lastly received a full left glove to the Isle of Man’s fourth stroke and it was Notts’ James Fisher who ensured that Notts went into the ultimate, and gained promotion, with a cool ultimate stroke when the strain was on.
Within the different semi-final, Lancashire beat the Channel Islands 6-2 to arrange a Nottinghamshire v Lancashire ultimate.
With promotion already secured, and with the solar beating down, Notts have been fast out of the gates but once more. Notts skipper, Steve Batten, once more driving down the baseline noticed his pull again throughout aim hit a Lancashire foot. The ensuing penalty nook calmly dispatched low to the Lancashire ‘keeper’s proper, by Sam Dixon, to place Notts 1-0 up inside 3 minutes. However Lancashire remained calm of their play and on 9 minutes scored from free play. On 20 minutes, throughout an outstanding smothering save by Notts no.2 ‘keeper Jason Ward, Ben Docherty was controversially adjudged to have intentionally impeded the Lancashire ahead while clearing the rebound and a penalty stroke was awarded, however no private penalty. With Notts dropping their cool, Lancashire elevated their lead simply 2 minutes later. Notts regrouped and after a brief group speak by captain Batten, regained their calmness and commenced to get themselves again in to the sport, simply as half-time arrived.
Inside 5 minutes of the restart Notts had decreased the deficit to at least one, with one other basic Sam Dixon penalty nook aim, earlier than Lancashire regained their two-goal benefit by a penalty nook of their very own. With Lancashire legs tiring, Notts have been now making use of all of the strain, limiting Lancashire to speculative lengthy balls and deep aerials to relive the strain on their defence. With 12 minutes to go, Notts younger star, Jude Chapman, broke by the Lancashire defence and his fast pondering noticed him create the mandatory house to catch the Lancashire ‘keeper abruptly and slot the ball previous him to convey Notts again inside one. May or not it’s Notts flip for a comeback? Chapman then hit the publish, the ball bouncing again onto a defender’s foot for a Notts penalty nook. The ensuing Sam Dixon penalty nook was deflected by Chapman and his fast pondering noticed him knock the rebound from the ‘keepers save again previous him, solely to see it agonisingly hit the publish once more. A reckless problem from a Lancashire full-back was punished with a 2 minute inexperienced card, when nearly all have been anticipating a 5, and even 10, minute yellow card. Notts pulled ‘keeper Ward with 5 minutes to go, however Lancashire’s expertise within the dying minutes confirmed they usually managed to carry out to win 4-3.
Total this has been an incredible marketing campaign for Notts. Our intention/long run plan was to make it to Finals day – we went one step additional and gained promotion. The squad over the Preliminary match and Finals day was made up of 9 separate golf equipment, that brings about its personal challenges, however with a sympathetic coach, guiding the squad to play to their strengths who is aware of what may occur subsequent yr once we tackle the may of the ‘A’ Division counties!