Chester Men’s 5ths 4

Whitchurch Men’s 1sts 4

WHITCHURCH hockey men’s firsts fought back against a tough Chester fifths side last weekend, as they drew at their near neighbours on the road.

Nick Cooper scored all four for the Reds in a result which leaves Whitchurch top of the league and undefeated.

Like last year’s fixture against Chester, Whitchurch found a number of umpiring decisions frustrating, and this raised tempers and a loss of composure duly followed.

This set the tempo for the match; the Reds could never quite find their rhythm, and certainly not the wide, expansive, flowing hockey from last week.

For several periods in the game, they had control of the play, and put together some good passages of passing hockey on a wet day where the pitch was slippery and control was harder than expected.

Chester’s standout player in their team was their midfielder and they were able to take the ball through the middle and around several players, something Whitchurch struggled to deal with.

It was Whitchurch who took the lead though, with Nick Cooper getting a shot away.

The Chester goalkeeper made a number of decent saves over the afternoon and the Reds could have scored more, but it was Chester who then applied the pressure.

The home side were able to drive down the wings effectively and left a man high, and were able to chip away at the defence until eventually it paid off.

A hit from outside the dee only came off Sam Conway’s stick before going in, shifting the momentum back towards Chester.

This marked the start of frustrations for the Reds, and their composure began to wane.

Some cards were shown, which increased the pressure, and Chester were able to grab more goals.

Whitchurch responded and, as with last week’s game, success came from width.

Tom Forster drove well down the left wing, and Fred Egerton had another good game in attack.

Jack Barnes, Joel Leese and Rob Chappell controlled the middle of the pitch, with Ben Kimberley offering pace and control up the right.

Conway, Pip Jones and James Partington flanked Danny Foulkes at the back, and again were able to build attacks from either side of the pitch.

Dale Seymour showed great skill driving through the Chester defence to lay off passes to Cooper who continued his good season in the opposition dees.

With the game as finely balanced as it was, having that safety net at the back gave Whitchurch the chance to build up from the back, but as the two umpires gave conflicting decisions for a free hit, Chester took advantage and were able to score another quick goal.

However, Whitchurch fought back with Nick Cooper scoring all four as the Reds earned a point.

The result leaves Whitchurch top of the league ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Sale seconds.