Ramsey Crookall Bacchanalians Mens team travelled to the home of England Hockey at Lee Valley London yesterday to take on East London Mens 1st XI in the semi-final of the EH Tier 2 Cup.
The home team looked sharper in the early exchanges, picking better passes and using the channels well and forcing the first short corner on 3 minutes but it was handled easily by the Bacchas defence. East London continued to dominate the midfield as the Manx side struggled to find a rhythm and passing game. A second short corner four minutes later saw Jamie Brown getting a neat deflected save. When East London fired the ball into the D on eleven minutes and their striker got a neat deflected goal it was no more than the London side deserved given the pressure and possession.
The goal seemed to rally Bacchas and with George Harrison defending well at the back they slowly clawed their way into the game. Five minutes later they forced a couple of short corners the second of which needed a good defending to keep out. Elliot Reid playing in the biggest game of his life made a fine run down the left and James Harrison had a good reverse stick shot as Bacchas gradually started to get a foothold in the game. East London had a short corner five minutes from half time which Chris Bass defended well but the half finished 1-0 to East London.
Whatever skipper Jamie Brown said at half time worked as Bacchas came out to the blocks fast with good work from Johnny Callow and James Harrison forcing a short on four minutes which was well saved. Bacchas were starting to take over the midfield and restrict East London to breakaways. This put Bacchas on the front foot and we saw good interchanges between Johnny Callow and Craig Leece down the left. With Jamie Brown and James Harrison bossing the midfield East London looked increasingly ragged and a few bad tackles saw them get two quick yellow cards. From the resulting short corner the ball found Chris Bass unmarked on the far post but he couldn’t get the clean touch he needed and East London managed to scramble the ball away. Shortly afterwards Johnny Callow came close with a good deflected shot but a minute later he was on-hand to fire the ball home from close range to deservedly level the game with 15 minutes to go.
When man-of the-match George Harrison got a yellow and gave away a short with seven minutes left it looked ominous given that Bacchas were then on top but Dave Whiting pulled off a great save to keep the scores level. In the last couple of minutes it was Bacchas looking most likely to win in normal time but the final whistle meant for the second successive game it was going to penalty flicks.
East London scored first but Tony Bentley- Roberts neatly dispatched his to make it 1-1. When Johnny Callow and James Harrison both saw their flicks saved, Chris Bass’s flick and a good save by Dave Whiting couldn’t do anything when East London’s final flick found the net to make it an unassailable 4-2 and see them through to the final.
Bacchas will feel gutted that the amazing cup run has come to an end but when the disappointment subsides they should feel rightly proud of what they have done and how they equipped themselves over the course of the competition. A massive thank you to those that travelled down to support the team, it was also fantastic to see the club logo on the big screen at the Olympic stadium. It was also great to see a few “old” London-based Manx faces there too cheering on the whites. Thanks again to our generous Club Sponsors Ramsey Crookall, sorry we couldn’t get your logo to the final.