WELWYN Garden City Hockey Club’s men’s 1st team defeated East League Division 3SW leaders Southgate Adelaide 4-2 on Saturday.

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To add to the unpleasant chilly weather conditions, Welwyn were without their two regular centre-backs, and played the aging David Searle in the midfield.

Despite this, spirits were high, and both sides set about playing good attacking hockey.

It did not take long for the hosts to find their way into the Adelaide D, and Robert Sansom shot just wide from a pass by Peter Mullens.

The Welwyn front duo of Charles Southey and Paul Kimber linked up well as the Southgate defence showed respect for Southey’s speed and Kimber’s guile.

It was far from one way traffic, and the visitor’s high scoring attack pushed hard to breakdown the re-vamped Welwyn back line. Stand-in right-back Nathan James kept the classy Adelaide winger at bay, and James Lutrario, on the left, was a launch pad for the counter-attacks.

Welwyn took the lead when Benedict O’Boyle pounced on a poor clearance as he touched the ball back into the D his fierce shot gave the goalie no chance.

Stung by going behind, Southgate reacted positively, they breached the WGC defence and the Southgate centre forward, calmly slotted the ball past skipper James Florence in the Welwyn goal.

The deteriorating weather conditions failed to lower the standard of hockey.

Mark Skilbeck’s coaxing passes from the heart of the Welwyn midfield were finding the runs from both the wide players and forwards.

Bryn Evans on the right found space to work the ball into the Adelaide D only to see Kimber fail to connect with his attempted slap shot.

It was the visitors who took the lead with another well-taken goal, this time with a reverse stick shot.

However, Welwyn’s heads did not drop as they knew they had more goals in them, and just needed to get to half-time.

Within minutes of the re-start David Searle robbed the Adelaide full back and fired in a cross that was just out of reach of the rapidly arriving Sansom.

It was from their first short corner of the second half that Welwyn drew level.

Skilbeck’s injection to Searle was spot on, as the Welwyn ex-President fired a rocket into the bottom left hand corner.

The equaliser seemed to rock the visitors, and it was Welwyn who looked more likely to break the deadlock again.

The weather was now horrid, as the light rain turned to driving sleet.

Despite this Welwyn pushed for the lead and gained another short corner.

Once again the Skilbeck to Searle combination paid off, as Searle’s strike flew into the backboard.

Welwyn’s confidence was sky high and they went in search of a fourth goal to seal victory.

A mazy run from Skilbeck ended with the ball pinging about in the Adelaide D, where Southey capped a marvellous performance by smashing the ball into the roof of the goal to round off the win.




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