Stafford HC 1st team wrapped up the 2015 – 2016 season in slightly disappointing fashion losing their first game 2-1 against runners-up Leamington HC.
Stafford had already secured the league title two weeks previously and made the trip to Warwickshire without their player of the season Andy Peatfield. Their cause was not helped when Captain Ben Hollands was injured within the first 5 minutes and could play little part in the proceedings.
It soon became apparent that Leamington were up for the challenge, needing the win to take 2nd spot in the league. They took the game to Stafford, forcing them to defend deep. The defence held firm but Dan Howe in goals was forced into a number of early saves.
Leamington took the lead from a defensive mistake, Leamington broke and scored with a tap in at the far post. Stafford rallied, winning a number of penalty corners, a switch to Piers Wooller saw his shot saved but James Wilde was on hand to score with an excellent reverse stick shot into the roof of the net.
Things evened out after that, Stafford could have scored when Giles Rowden fired past the post and Charlie Trotter squandered a penalty corner. Dan Howe was called on to make an excellent stick save that saw the ball go over the bar.
Leamington grabbed the winner late on in the second half, a penalty corner was well saved initially but the ball broke to the far post and the opportunity was taken.
Stafford had a couple of half chances later on but could not take them, Leamington controlled the ball well and ensured the win.
Congratulations to them, Stafford will hopefully see them next season in West Midlands Premier, barring any re-shuffling.