Hockey: Tunbridge Wells recover from poor start to extend lead at top

Hockey: Tunbridge Wells recover from poor start to extend lead at top

TUNBRIDGE WELLS Men came away from the south coast with victory after a poor start, and a slip-up by second-placed Banbury saw Wells extend their lead at the top of South Premier League Division Two to six points.

The Dorset side had frustrated Wells in the corresponding fixture in October, coming away with a draw. So the visitors were determined to take all three points from this game, their longest away trip of the season in the league.

The driving rain and cold weather were pretty miserable – and Wells seemed to have brought this with them as they started poorly. Within 20 minutes, Bournemouth had earned themselves a two-goal lead.

This seemed finally to galvanise the visitors into action and in quick succession Harry Roberts and Ben Brandt scored to equalise by the break.

A stern half-time talk from player-coach Ben Allberry saw Wells come out for the second half up in fighting form at last and they started to play the sort of hockey that has taken them to the top of the division.

A good cross from Kyle Mathieson early on gave Allberry the chance to apply a delicate diving deflection to give Wells the lead for the first time.


Although there were few clear-cut chances, a penalty corner for the visitors saw Chris Pelmore convert smartly and double Wells’ lead – which was extended further as Allberry notched his second late on to secure a 5-2 win.

With Banbury slipping up at Trojans, whom Wells had beaten the previous weekend, Wells have a sizeable lead in the table with six games remaining.

Wells will be taking nothing for granted, however, as those remaining games are against sides at the higher end of the table.

Next they entertain West Hampstead at Kent College, Pembury this Saturday (February 17, 1.30pm start) while the two sides immediately behind them play each other on the same day.

Meanwhile the Tunbridge Wells Ladies narrowly lost 1-0 at Upminster in a hard-fought contest but they remain third in East Region Division One South as other results went their way.

The visitors fell behind in the second half to a goalmouth scramble with Upminster somehow bundling the ball over the line. Wells were unable to find the goal they needed to earn a point.

The ladies’ leagues now take a break, before Wells will hope to get back to winning ways when they travel to Brom Becks on February 24.

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