Gerrard bows out on cloud 9

Blackpool Men’s 1s 6-3 Nelson & Rossendale Men’s 2s

by Alex Diver

Andy Gerrard led his tangerine team to an easy win in his last game as captain, after 3 successful years winning promotion from Division 6 to Division 3 of the North West Hockey League.

With the sun beating down, and both teams with nothing to play for, the match was played more like an August pre-season friendly. Blackpool soon showed their superior quality and passing ability, with incisive runs down the right wing by Liam Morrow and down the left by Gareth Gettings and Paul Wareing. The first goal came from Andy Mortimer after being free on the right hand edge of the D, his first shot being saved by the keeper, but managing to get a perfect second shot from a very tight angle. His striking partner Dave Morgan soon scored two more goals from well-worked moves.

Blackpool relaxed a little with the score 3-0 so early on, and despite some good defensive tackling by Rob Abbott and Peter Latimer, they conceded a few short corners. Rossendale turned to their specialist flicker and he duly obliged by squeezing one past Graeme Kilshaw in goal. Blackpool turned on the pressure once again, with midfield pairing Kieron Morrow and Rob Pasqualino, and Morgan got a great through-ball on the left. With just the keeper to beat, he unselfishly passed it to Mortimer with an open goal in front of him – however he misjudged it completely for the miss of the season which he won’t be allowed to forget. Minutes later, Morgan got the ball near the top of the D, and elected to go for goal himself, dribbling magnificently past four defenders and shocked the keeper with a simple shot into goal to complete his hat-trick.

Shortly before half-time, Dan Woodman stupidly got himself sin-binned for showing dissent to the umpire, which galvanised Rossendale to attack once again. They won another short corner and again successfully flicked the ball into the net to make it 4-2 at half time. Blackpool were determined to finish off the game early in the second half and Morgan duly obliged by registering his 4th goal and confirming his Man of the Match position.

Blackpool started making regular substitutions and youngster Dominic Chadwick made an impression on the left wing helping to win a short corner, with captain Gerrard scoring from the resulting set piece play. The remainder of the second half was played with a relaxed attitude, and despite a late goal from Rossendale from another short corner, nothing could dampen Blackpool’s spirit and they celebrated a 3rd successive promotion with champagne at the final whistle.

Blackpool Men’s Hockey Club would like to thank Blackpool Tower & Circus for their continued sponsorship of the team.

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