Potters Bar beat coronavirus to the punch as victory at Bury secures promotion with game to spare
PUBLISHED: 06:56 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:23 17 March 2020
Danny Loo Photography 2017
The coronavirus threat may have brought the hockey season to a sudden stop but there won’t be too many complaints at Potters Bar after their men clinched promotion to East League Premier B.
A superb 1-0 away to Bury St Edmunds in their penultimate game put them on the brink and when news filtered through that nearest challengers Crostyx had only drawn at Bishop’s Stortford, the celebrations began in earnest.
With the league all but finished anyway, they decided not to follow the lead of other sports and a full programme of fixtures was played.
In fact the sweeping pandemic meant Bar had Ray Li and Hugh Kenney-Herbert available after trips to watch Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations and skiing respectively fell victim to cancellations.
They were still without regulars Ed Seaman, Tom Clarke and Miles Tomkins but they travelled in good spirits and Li kept those spirits high with a tremendous tackle in the first two minutes to prevent Bury from scoring.
Ben Balmforth was in sparkling form too and was needed to be a couple of big saves in the first half to stop the hosts and having survived the pressure, Potters Bar broke clear to score what turned out to be the vital winning goal.
A fine move saw the ball moved to Mark Turpin via Harry Wilkinson and only a fine intervention by the keeper stopped Turpin getting a shot away.
However, a short corner was finally turned in by Ed Whybrow when he deflected Graham Abrey’s astute pass.
That’s how it was at half-time, Aaron Cornish slipping at the crucial moment just before the break, and the second period followed a similar pattern to the first.
Bar again started brightly, Jonathan Elms denied twice by the keeper, before Bury put pressure on the visitors’ defence.
Balmforth, with help from Simon Tenwick, helped them got through and the final stages were as comfortable as they get with a 1-0 lead.
Turpin even had a clipped effort cleared off the line and despite a late green card for Abrey, Bar were able to close the game out and confirm their promotion.
Their final game is scheduled for Saturday when Bishop’s Stortford visit Dame Alice Owen’s School.
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