Hockey: A bittersweet weekend for Sheffield Bankers as title slips away

Bankers captain Matt Godden
Bankers captain Matt Godden
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Sheffield University Bankers secured promotion from North 1 Division on Sunday, after beating Neston South Wirral 6-1 at home.

But the result was tinged with regret; their 2-2 draw with Crewe Vagrants away the day before means that the title is now out of their control.

The Sheffield side remain unbeaten in the league but are now four points behind table toppers City of York after 18 games.

That means that even if they beat their rivals in their crucial clash tomorrow, they may still lose the league trophy overall.

The Goodwin-based club had taken the lead in their Saturday fixture through an early Will Galloway strike.

But Crewe staged a second half comeback and it was only thanks to a late Jack Culmer goal that they rescued a point.

“Everybody was bitterly disappointed with the draw and I think there was an element of complacency to it,” said skipper Matt Godden, who was unavailable to play due to personal reasons.

“It didn’t help that a few of us couldn’t play, but that’s no excuse.

“Simple mistakes were made, and I just think players took their eyes off the ball.

“It didn’t help that we had to make a lot of changes to the side because of availability but we still had the quality there to win.

“If it wasn’t for a flurry of penalty corners at the end we wouldn’t have got a point. I think for the whole club this result was the shock of the season but we just need to pick ourselves up from it.”

Bankers were much more convincing against Neston as Jack Coulson and Jack Culmer both found the net twice with Oliver Large and Matt Fergusson also adding their names to the scoresheet.

“It was frustrating because the side put on an excellent display the next day and showed how clinical we could be,” Godden, right, added.

“But now unfortunately it’s out of our hands and we just have to pray that York slip up.

“It was much freer and we really played to our strengths. Importantly we controlled the ball in mid-field and that allowed us to push on in attack.”

Despite the setback captain Godden, aged 23, insists players are more determined than ever to win against their title ‘enemies’ this weekend.

And Bankers could still win silverware as the side play Ashford in the England Hockey Trophy competition quarter-finals the next day.

It looks set to be a highly contested game against York who they drew 2-2 with in the reverse fixture in November and Godden revealed that the Sheffield side will play their strongest team in both fixtures.

“I don’t need to motivate the players for the league game, and we are out for revenge because we would have won last time if it wasn’t for conceding a late goal,” he said.

“It will be an extremely fiery game and a great spectacle because we have nothing to lose now.

“It will be our hardest match of the season but I am confident we can win and we should do because of how we played against them before.

“We are also determined to get our hands on silverware and the trophy is very special to win.

“We aren’t prioritising either game... and we have the strength and quality in the side to get two positive results.”