There was once a man who said ‘you can’t write a report on a 0-0 draw’. Well I beg to differ…… Saturday easily witnessed the best game of hockey Blackpool have played in for quite some time. A great spirit, some competitive hockey and end to end action. The sell out crowd at the Princess’ Parkway Arena were treated to a full strength side missing only one first team member. From the warm up several members of the crowd likened the Blackpool routines to the Harlem Globetrotters of the late 70’s. When the game did start it was with the customary feel of two 600 pound silver back gorillas weighing each other up, and that was just the Blackpool centre back and the Sale centre forward.
The two sides have played each other 12 times in the last 6 years so it was fair to say that both teams knew what to expect. Counter attacking hockey was the name of the game for both teams but the defences on this day were up to the challenge. Neither team were able to score but on the day Blackpool definitely created more opportunities. Morgan, Whitley, Gettings, Abbott, Ashfield and L Morrow all having good chances that were either squandered or expertly saved by the Sale goalkeeper. The highlight of the match was the Sale team having a penalty flick turned town, but as it was Sale’s umpire that failed to spot the infringement so Blackpool have no cause for concern.
This watching reporter must congratulate the Blackpool team on its combined defence this season and especially during the game. From the backs, right the way through the team to the centre forward everyone tracked back and tackled well. There is another story to be told about the Blackpool left back but it is not the time or the place. Marking was good and no one looked out of place, the backs solid and the passing through midfield was just as the captain had ordered.
Blackpool have the tightest defence in the league and have become a very solid unit going forward and when tackling back. They are at the top of the Hockey England ‘Fair Play League’ and a place in Europe is theirs for the taking if they continue their good start.
Squad – Blakemore M, Woodman, Gettings, Wright, Morrow L, Abbott, Morrow K, Boniface, Whitley, Ashfield, Morgan, Blakemore A, Edmondson. Man of the Match – Woodman.