England: England Hockey Mixed Championship Finals 2023 Review

Spencer registered a narrow 1-0 win over Olton & West Warwicks to clinch the Tier 1 England Hockey Mixed Championships. Sean Gilmore (23′) scored the lone goal of the match.  
A quiet start to the match saw both teams making cautious runs inside each other’s halves. Spencer had slightly better ball possession and made a couple of goalscoring chances, but missed out on capitisiling on it.  

They continued with the attacking intent and their efforts paid off as they broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute through Gilmore’s field goal.  

In the closing stage of the first half, Olton & West Warwicks upped their ante in the search for an equaliser as they made circle penetrations but couldn’t avail the opportunity. Spencer, on the other hand, took control of the ball to end the first half with a slender 1-0 lead.  
Spencer started the second half aggressively as they took the shot on target in the very first minute but was defended by Olton’s goalkeeper. Olton made some half chances, but Spencer dominated the ball possession.  

They went on to earn back-to-back penalty corners, but Olton’s goalkeeper made stunning saves to deny Spencer from scoring. With three minutes left, Spencer again earned back-to-back penalty corners but failed to double the lead.  

In return, Olton had a glorious opportunity to equalise with back-to-back penalty corners but missed out on converting it. Olton yet again made a dangerous foray, but Spencer’s defence was up to the mark to clinch the title with a narrow 1-0 lead.   

The University of Bristol earned a hard-fought 2-1 win over Lichfield to emerge as the winners of the England Hockey Mixed Championship Tier 2 Final.  

Phil Bernett (60′) and Archie Sansome (64′) scored a goal each for the winning side, while Rob Gray (70′) scored the solitary goal for Lichfield.  

Both teams took time to shrug off the early jitters as they started the match with a cautious approach. It was the University of Bristol who enjoyed the ball possession in the latter stage. Their constant pressure helped them earn their first penalty corner in the 18th minute but couldn’t convert it.  

Lichfield made a couple of circle entries in the following minutes, but the University of Bristol goalkeeper kept the opponents at bay. They rode on the momentum as they earned a penalty corner in the final minute of the first half, but Bristol managed to clear it. The first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate.  

It was an even start to the second half as both teams battled out in the midfield, trying to create spaces in each other’s halves. 

The first real chance in the second half came from Bristol when they earned the penalty corner, but it was well-defended by their opponents. Lichfield took the shot on target during a quick turnover, but the University of Bristol goalkeeper nullified the attack. 

The University of Bristol finally broke the deadlock when Bernett found the back of the net during a penalty corner routine in the 60th minute. They doubled the lead in the 64th minute through Sansome’s penalty corner conversion. Lichfield responded quickly as they also won a penalty corner but failed to convert it.  

With just two minutes to go for the final hooter, Lichfield removed their goalkeeper and put an extra outfield player in the search for their first goal. They were rewarded with a penalty stroke, and Gray made no mistake in pulling a goal back for his team.  

But, the University of Bristol’s two goals in quick succession were enough to help them bag a thrilling win.  

by England Hockeyl

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