Whitley Bay and Tynemouth Hockey Club Men’s first team’s challenge to win the North Premier League took an early dent as they slipped to third place, three points off league leaders Leeds HC.
The league leaders lost their top spot after a 5-3 defeat to Chester HC.
WBTHC started the game well creating a number of chances and penalty corners but without being able to test the Chester keeper.
Chester then launched a counter attack and a high ball chucked over the home defence was picked up well by the Chester forward who forced the ball into the ‘D’ and a loose ball fell into the hands of the centre forward who passed it into the net.
WBTHC started trying to force the ball forward and again got caught on the break. This time the counter attack resulted in a penalty corner which was dispatched with a low flick past Jordan Thompson.
If WBTHC thought things were not going to plan they were about to get even worse as a break down the left hand side led to a nice cut back pass for Chester’s centre midfielder to hammer home the third goal.
In the second half WBTHC tried to come out fighting, but within five minutes they found themselves 4-0 down.
Finally WBTHC started to show some fight and pulled together a series of good passing moves. Chris Traynor’s cut back from the baseline for James Redpath allowed him to open WBTHC’s account, and soon there was a second to follow.
A good attack down the baseline brought a chance for Stoddart and he took it to bring the score to 4-2.
WBTHC felt they had some motion in the game now and drew the game close with another goal, this time from Simon Miles on a counter attack of their own.
The Chester defence was creaking but time was quickly running out to complete the comeback as WBTHC poured everyone forward.
But in the dying minutes this became their downfall as another high ball was played out from the Chester back and poor tackling brought a Chester penalty corner. From the resultant flick Thompson in goal was left no chance and the game was Chester’s at 5-3.
On Saturday WBTHC face top of the league Leeds HC in a crunch game that could see them climb back to the top or fall six points behind.
Meanwhile WBTHC Ladies’ 1sts beat City of York Ladies’ 1sts 2-1.
They went into the match confident after a recent good run of results, and the addition of three new players boosted their performance from the off.
As Whitley Bay settled they gained more possession and a penalty corner early on was converted with Joss Plummer scoring a fantastic goal.
The play then became end to end with outstanding play by Ali Gordon who was voted man of the match for her diligence and great play going forward.
Whitley Bay went two ahead when Rowan Rochester converted another penalty corner.
At the end York won several penalty corners and puled a goal back, but it was not enough and Whitley Bay held on.
Next week the ladies’ first team play Sheffield Hallam.
Other results: Ladies’ 2nds 2 Lymm 4; Men’s 2nds 3 Tynedale 1sts 2; Men’s 3rds 2 Stockton 4s 1. Over 40s Men 3 Durham City 3, WBTHC won 7-6 on penalties (Nation Knockout Competition).