Whitley Wonderland!

Blackpool Men’s 1s 6-2 Carlisle Men’s 1s

by David Wright

Blackpool Mens 1sts made the long journey up to Carlisle for the last game of the season, with promotion all ready under their belt. in light of this Captain Rob Abbott had brough in some younger players, Ben Mortimer and Nathan Woodman to assess their potential for the 1st team, whilst welcoming back the club yo-yo in Simon Thomas.

Having watched the the 2nd team beat Carlisle’s 2nd team to fully secure their promotion, Blackpool started the game looking like they had something to prove and within 10 minutes they were 2-nil up, both from Steve Whitley strikes following Penalty corners, the first which Kieran Harris set up after Dave Morgan had hit the post and the 2nd following a deflection from another Morgan shot.

Blackpool were playing some attractive hockey apart from Left back Craig Brookes who appeared to be trying to play for Carlisle in the opening minutes. However, the 3rd Blackpool goal did come from the left hand side with Simon Thomas feeding Steve Whitley at the top of the D, his first shot being saved by the keeper only for him to put away the rebound with aplomb, despite the defender getting his stick to it. Mention must go to Nathan Woodman who played with a maturity beyond his 16 years!

Carlisle were having some of the play but most of these were broken down by the defence of Mistry, Joe Boniface, Brookes and most notably Ben Mortimer, who have a brilliant game as sweeper. However they did manage to score one goal following some poor tackling to make it 3-1 at half time.

Captain Abbott asked for more of the same at half time but warned against pushing too far up.

Carlisle came out after the break determind to attack and dominated play for large parts of the 2nd half, virtually playing with just one defender back but Goalkeeper Rainbow made a couple of vital saves to enable Blackpool to counter attack. This led Carlisle’s their downfall as a swift counter attack by the two strikers resulted in Swainey unselfishly passing the ball to Morgan for what seemed an easy goal only for him to hit the post again!! The rebound was collected by Whitley who crossed the ball for Swainey to tap in his 32 league goal of the season and go ahead in the strikers battle for top scorer.

Carlisle never let their heads go down and continued to play some good passing hockey and with Blackpool trying to counter at every opportunity, it was real end to end stuff, however defender Dan Woodman kept Carlisle at bay for a short while. It was Carlisle who scored next through their own counter attack, a run the length of the field by Kieran Harris was stopped just as he prepared to shoot, qucik passing had the ball in the back of Blackpools net before Blackpool could regroup.

This seemed to stir Blackpool into action and for the last 20 minutes they controlled the game despite Morgan being sin binned for arguing with the umpire (what a lovely man!). During this period Whitley manged to score his 4th goal of the game following a sublime pass from Rob Abbott.

With a minute on the clock, Morgan, after returning to the field, was looking at losing his goal scoring crown to the upstart Swainey. Then Craig Brookes took pity on him and slid a lovely ball into the D, Morgan unleashed the power of Greyskull….. only to see the keeper save, the defender went to clear the ball to safety but only succeeded in passing the ball back to Morgan who made no mistake to score his 32 League goal of the season and tie the leading goalscorer competition once again!! (maybe next year Mr Swaine lol!)

The game ended 6-2, and after a heartfelt speech by Captain Abbott, which left a number of players openly crying, Blackpool HC closed the book on what could be stated, is their greatest season in the Club’s History.

1st and 2nd teams Promoted, Lancashire Trophy winners, the 3rd team finishing a creditable 6th in their 1st league season and our Juniors going from strength to strength. There is only one Hockey club to be at at the moment in the Fylde and that is BLACKPOOL HC

Strength and Honour!

Dave Morgan – a very proud Chairman

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