There were wild scenes of celebration as Sheffield University Bankers won the England Hockey Trophy at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Bankers clinched a 7-6 victory in a dramatic penalty stroke shoot out against reigning champions Guernsey in the final, adding the trophy to the North 1 Division title they won in April.
The Goodwin-based side twice had to come from a goal down.
They trailed after just eight minutes when Steve Waldrom found the net but James Osbourne levelled the scores 19 minutes later to make it 1-1 at half-time.
Bankers fell behind for a second time as s Matt Stokes was on the end of a powerful strike across goal in the 52nd minute but again the Sheffield side showed great resilience and a Nick Fletcher goal in the 60th minute saw the game finish 2-2.
Skipper Matt Godden said: “It was a shock to the system going behind because we had dominated the opening stages, but it made us sharpen up and turn the heat on Guernsey.”
“Many times this season we’ve had our back against the wall and pulled crucial goals out the hat so every one of us on the side knew we would get back into it. This was important because at no point in the game was there room for us to panic.
“The second equaliser was always going to come and it was a great strike from Nick after a good team attack. At the end I thought we could have nicked it and we definitely finished on top.”
After the final whistle the final went immediately to penalty strokes with
Five players were selected from each team for the shootout with Bankers naming Godden, Josh Darlington, Fletcher, David Beckett and Joel Gandy.
It was quickly advantage Sheffield as Guernsey missed their opening stroke after keeper Simon Hibbert dived low to his right blocking a hard drive.
Godden, Darlington and Fletcher all converted taking the score to 3-3 but their enemies were given hope as Beckett’s right angled shot was stopped, but with Gandy making no mistake it finished 4-4.
Sudden death reared its ugly head, Darlington coolly dispatching the ball firmly to the keeper’s right before an identical strike from Guernsey.
Gandy expertly scored and the final was dramatically settled as Hibbert, voted Banker’s player of the season, acrobatically saved his rival’s powerful stroke.
“I was always going to put myself forward in a shootout because I’m incredibly confident in those situations,” explained skipper Gandy.
“There were incredible scenes after Simon saved the last shot. Everyone went berserk and it was even sweeter than winning the league.
Head coach Matt Northcott added: “What an unbelievable finish to the season, I’m incredibly proud of how this squad has performed. That trophy is down to the hard work of everyone at the club and the tremendous support on the day.”