Hockey: Tunbridge Wells outsprinted by Oxford University

Hockey: Tunbridge Wells outsprinted by Oxford University
HARSH LESSON: James Beck launches an attack against the students

TUNBRIDGE WELLS were left frustrated by their defeat at Tonbridge School in a mid-table clash between two sides who were separated by just three points in the congested South Premier League Division One.

The visitors were set up with a high press and deep defence but Wells’ back line moved the ball out from the back and worked the flanks well.

A period of pressure from the students midway through the first half saw them earn a penalty corner, and Wells keeper Keir Starley had to make three important saves in quick succession.

Soon after, an incisive break down the right by Sam George brought Ant Dalrymple into play, he found Ian Harvey in the D and the latter gave Wells the lead.

Harvey went close again moments later but was unable to deflect in another cross from the left wing and collided with the goalpost.

The visitors got back on level terms just before half-time. A fast break by Oxford led to a last-ditch tackle that led to a penalty stroke.

In the second period Wells lacked the incisive ball in the final third. Russell Self had a shot saved when one-on-one with the keeper, while Harvey fired just wide.

With ten minutes left, the visitors grabbed the lead after a fast break down the right and a fierce snapshot into the roof of the net.

For all Wells’ pressing, the visitors’ fitness levels showed in the final period to keep the home side at bay.

With almost the final play of the game Wells won their first penalty corner, but a defender got a touch to Harvey’s drag flick, which looped agonisingly over the bar.

The result leaves Wells in 10th place while Oxford University moved up to fifth, illustrating just how tight the league is.

Wells face another stern test against fourth-placed London Edwardians at Kings College on Saturday [February 23, 12.30pm start].

Playle tries hard but fails to stop leaders

East London 3 Tunbridge Wells Ladies 0

TUNBRIDGE WELLS came unstuck against the leaders of the East Region Divison One South after the home side showed their adaptability in the second half.

Wells started well, holding East London at bay and denying them the opportunity to enter the circle while Annie Wilson’s impressive attacking play put them on the back foot.

Despite solid defending, however, Wells were unable to stop East London’s fast-paced and skilful forwards creating scoring opportunities.

Player of the match Ali Playle showed her shot-stopping skills in goal but Wells conceded before half-time from a well-worked attack.

East London started the second half with a new game plan and a change of personnel, and scored two more goals, one from a penalty corner.

Wells reformed and tightened up, Laura Blaxland at the back keeping her cool and making successful passes to the midfield.

It was a tough game against a determined opposition but Wells worked hard right to the end.

The Ladies have a weekend off before they host Crostyx at Kent College on Saturday March 2 [2pm start].


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