With the floodlights on and a huge crowd on side, Loughborough Men’s Hockey took to Water-Based Pitch to take on Nottingham in the BUCS Championship Final. In a tight fought game the home side lost out on the top prize by a hair, losing out on strokes. Emma Lawton was there for Label.
It got off to a fast start with Nottingham almost immediately being awarded a penalty corner, however Loughborough saved the shot and then defended themselves well. The two teams were inseparable for the first few minutes of the match with equal possession and attacks.
Ten minutes in and Nottingham went on the attack. They tactfully chipped the ball around the Loughborough defence to create a great chance to put themselves into the lead, however Loughborough scrambled back and Nottingham’s chance was quashed. The score remained 0-0.
The match continued with both teams playing equally well with end-to-end action. Nottingham came close to prospering from a Loughborough defensive error when the goalkeeper came out from his goal, again, however, they could not covert this chance into a goal. The away side were awarded a penalty corner in the sixteenth minute which this time they converted, putting them in the lead and making the score 0-1 to Nottingham.
The twenty-fifth minute saw Loughborough have a chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty corner, but Nottingham’s goalkeeper kept the ball out. They were almost immediately awarded another penalty corner, but that too was defended by Nottingham and Loughborough were unable to get a goal back.; the score remaining Loughborough 0-1 Nottingham.
The last part of the first half saw both teams have chances. Loughborough came close but put just wide of the goalpost. Nottingham were quick to counterattack making Loughborough scramble to keep themselves from conceding a second goal which they managed to do. At half time the score remained at 0-1.
Again the teams were evenly matched in the second half. Five minutes in Nottingham were awarded a penalty corner, which Loughborough defended well denying Nottingham a chance to increase their lead. Loughborough were straight onto the counterattack with a great cross into the D, but Nottingham’s goalkeeper saved it. Loughborough continued attacking, pressing for a much needed goal.
Nottingham were soon awarded another penalty corner, which was very close to becoming another goal for them, but it just rolled past the post. It was then Loughborough’s turn to be awarded a penalty corner after they had missed a chance on goal. They took the set play and Luke Taylor converted it. The crowd went wild, it was all even at 1-1.
Loughborough were spurred on and dominated the last part of the match, but were unfortunate to not capitalise on their chances. The match ended in full time Loughborough 1-1 Nottingham.
To decide who took home the glory of gold, the players participated in penalty strokes. It was the best out of five and after that if a decision had not been reached it would go to sudden death. Loughborough won the toss and chose to go first. The crowd huddled around the end of the pitch where the drama was taking place and tension filled the air.
Loughborough scored their first stroke with a fantastic shot, as did Nottingham, making the score after the first round 1-1. Both teams went on to score their second strokes, keeping the scores even. However the third roud of strokes saw Loughborough miss, Nottingham took the chance to take the lead making the score and taking proceedings to tense 2-3. Loughborough’s fourth shot was also wide of the mark and though Nottingham’s shot was on target the home side’s their goalkeeper saved the attempt, the score remaining 2-3 at the end of the fourth round. It was the fifth and final round of the penalty strokes. Loughborough missed again meaning Nottingham took the Championship title with the score 2-3.
Label would like to congratulate Loughborough on their efforts and though they were not able to collect the Gold, to reach the final and take the Silver medal is still a huge achievement they should be proud of.
Lens Photography coming soon