|Saturday 08 December 2012|
|Bury Men’s 1s||NWHL Div 5 N|
|Didsbury Northern Men’s 3s||NWHL Div3N|
|Longridge Ladies 2nds||LCWHA Div 1|
|Longridge Ladies 2nds||LCWHA Caley|
|Preston Men’s 6s||NWHL Div 8 N|
|Southport Ladies 3s||LCWHA D3|
|Clitheroe Ladies Ladies 2||LCWHA PD|
One point gained… or two points lost?
Blackpool Men’s first team let a two goal advantage slip away at Didsbury Northern to draw 2-2, but climbed a place to third in the league.
Blackpool enjoyed a lengthy spell of possession in the opening minutes, but were soon up against it after Didsbury’s first touch of the ball resulted in a somewhat controversial penalty flick awarded to the home side. An injury to Dan Woodman allowed Didsbury to break through the Blackpool defence, leaving Captain Nick Rainbow in goal to prevent his side going behind in the opening five minutes. His challenge appeared clean to both sets of players, but the umpire saw it differently and awarded the stroke. However Blackpool felt justice was done when Rainbow made a good diving save to keep the scores level. From what could have been one down, Blackpool soon took the lead through Dave Morgan after Simon Thomas had stolen the ball from the Didsbury defence. Blackpool could have added to their lead but multiple chances were squandered and despite playing much the better of the hockey, they only led by one goal at half time.
After a half of missed opportunities, it seemed Blackpool had learned their lesson as less than a minute into the second half, Simon Thomas again pinched the ball from a dawdling Didsbury player and coolly slapped the ball past the oncoming goalkeeper. Strangely the game changed from this moment, and Didsbury suddenly looked the more threatening of the two sides. Blackpool were thankful for some excellent tackling from Rob Abbott and man of the match Steve Whitley to maintain their lead. Didsbury deservedly found their way back into the game after some careless defending, and soon brought the game back on level terms as Blackpool yet again failed to clear the ball. The final minutes were tense as both teams looked for a late winner, but Blackpool’s first draw in 18 months, was a fair result. However, Blackpool will rue the missed chances in the first half which could have sealed the three points.
Blackpool 2nds hosted Bury’s top team, but they are somewhat of a bogey team. Both sides have climbed up the league pyramid over the last 6 years from Division 10 to 5 but Blackpool have not beaten Bury since 2007 but the games are always tight affairs. This one proved no different with Blackpool taking the lead through Martin Hayes. However Bury battled back in the second half to score an equalizer, and then scored a controversial winner past Graeme Kilshaw. Bury stay top of Division 5 whilst Blackpool drop to 7th.
Blackpool 3rds made a great start against local rivals Preston 6’s in Division 8 going 1-0 through a Chris Pickles strike. The inexperience of Blackpool’s team, containg 8 under 16’s, then allowed Preston to score 5 unanswered goals through a series of counter attacks despite Blackpool’s greater possession. Even though 5-1 down at half-time, Blackpool’s youthful enthusiasm meant they carried on attacking, and Chris Pickles scored three more goals on the trot to come to within one goal of Preston’s score. Unfortunately there was to be no famous comeback as Preston nicked another goal and the final score ended 6-4, but Blackpool can be proud of their performance and remain in 8th place in Division 8 whereas Preston move up to 3rd.