Varsity Hockey – Penalty drama to take Uni into the lead!

It was a glorious day at the Highfields pitches, with the sun shining and the stage set for another captivating event in the Varsity series. Ahead of the main event, there were mixed fortunes for the men’s lower teams as the 2nd and 3rd teams narrowly lost on penalty-flicks, and the 4th team doing Uni proud with a much needed win. Would Uni’s 1st team be able to build on the success of the 4ths and convert that crucial win?

The Uni men were stunned into submission in the early stages of the match, as Trent surged towards the goal forcing an immediate save from Uni’s goalie. Just as they breathed a sigh of relief, Trent came on the attack again and shocked the players and fans alike with a scrappy goal to take them into the lead at 1-0. But, the surprises didn’t end there! Trent again came blazing towards goal resulting in a controversial short-corner, leaving Uni lucky not to be trailing by two.After a succession of controversial decisions from the umpire, Uni were cautioned with a green card for a dodgy tackle. However, this didn’t seem to perturb either team’s challenges as the game became increasingly physical, with Trent tripping Ben Arnold to halt his promising drive towards the goal. The first half couldn’t have come soon enough for Uni, who were in great need of an inspirational half-time team talk.

However, it was Trent yet again who took the initiative at the beginning of the second half as they skilfully dribbled the ball around the goalie, only to be denied on the line by Uni. Before Uni had the opportunity to recoup, Trent capitalised on the rebound to increase Uni’s devastation with a 2-0 lead.Both teams’ discipline worsened, culminating in a yellow card for Trent to reduce them to 10 men. Uni’s hopes were falsely raised almost immediately after as they managed to get the ball in the back of the net. However, to their outrage, the umpire had blown the whistle for a foul just a millisecond before, robbing Uni of that essential goal. Trent then rubbed salt into Uni’s wounds as they increased their lead to a convincing 3-0. Uni’s chances of winning the match looked very bleak indeed!

However, Uni’s grit and determination finally paid off as Sam Arnold’s skill beat the goalie to bring the score to 3-1. Uni continued to pile on the pressure and after the devastatingly resounding sound of the ball hitting the post, Uni kept their come-back alive with another goal from one of Varsity’s newest heroes, Sam Arnold. With only minutes remaining and the momentum very much in Uni’s favour, they completed the dramatic come-back with a goal from none other than Todd Mills, who’d been a nuisance to Trent and the umpires alike throughout the match. With the score at 3-3 at the final whistle, the unrivalled excitement was set to continue with the match left to be decided by penalty flicks.Uni ‘s Richard Lawrence was the first to step up to the penalty spot and comfortably slotted the ball away, with Trent following suit. After a further round of successful penalties from Uni captain Adam Jolly, and his Trent counterpart, Trent yet again took the advantage with an excellent save to deny Uni’s Ben Arnold. With Uni’s fate hanging in the balance, Trent simply had to maintain their composure to emerge the victors.  But, after Sam Arnold completed his hat-trick, the pressure of the occasion obviously became too much for one of the Trent players, as he completely missed the goal to draw level once again. Todd Mills coolly converted Uni’s final goal, leaving the tall task to Trent to equalise. With a fantastic save, Uni completed their come-back in dramatic fashion with a 4-3 win in the penalty-flicks!

As the players and fans basked in the celebrations, Uni’s Thomas ‘Tracey’ Anderson was in a state of utter disbelief and commented that he’d lost all hope of a win going down 3-0. But, Uni’s inspirational and relentless perseverance paid off and earned them the much deserved lead for the first time in this Varsity series!

(Note from the Editor: Apologies for Impact’s lateness in putting the Hockey match reports online. An unfortunate bout of man-flu this week put such operations on hold.)

Lowri Morgan


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