Pride in defeat

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DONCASTER Men’s Hockey Club failed in their bid to lift the English Hockey Association Cup for the first time in their 111 year-old history, going down 6-2 in Saturday’s final at Cannock against holders Beeston.

The Conference (North) club started brightly and caused the Premier Division champions a few early problems, but Beeston took the lead from their first penalty corner to take a 1-0 lead.

The Town Fields club, who were contesting their first ever EHA Cup final, were largely on the back foot for the rest of the half and were grateful to keeper Ashley Watson - who produced a string of wonderful saves, particularly from a number of penalty corners, to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

Doncaster squandered a good opportunity to level in the first minute of the second half and Beeston made them pay when doubling their lead from a penalty corner to go 2-0 up.

The South Yorkshire side hit back almost immediately and Joe Morrison made it 2-1 from their first penalty corner.

Leigh Hodgson’s side then had their best period of pressure of the game - winning another penalty corner and then hitting the woodwork.

Beeston proved more clinical and scored twice without reply to lead 4-1. Long-serving Jonathan Redfearn threw his side a lifeline 15 minutes from time, netting from a penalty corner to make it 4-2.

Doncaster’s hopes of making further inroads into Beeston’s lead weren’t helped by a couple of controversial umpiring decisions - Morrison being harshly sin-binned for five minutes and what appeared to be a certain penalty corner not was not awarded.

As if to rub salt into Doncaster’s wounds, Beeston were awarded a very dubious penalty corner from which they scored from to make it 5-2. Beeston scored again in the last minute to make the final score line a little harsh on a Doncaster side who had competed very well for an hour.

“Overall it was a wonderful occasion for the club,” said Hodgson. “In many respects the achievement for the team was reaching the final.

“As a second tier club we always knew the challenge was a huge one, but we certainly felt that we just about fulfilled our potential on the day with all players delivering their best performances. We are immensely proud of the what the team achieved.”