Stafford HC 1st team got their West Midlands Premier division campaign off to a wonderful start last weekend with an excellent 2-1 away win against Solihull Blossomfield HC.
The newly promoted Riverway team were missing last year’s top scorer Charlie Trotter and travelled with a bare eleven compared to the opposition squad of 14 players. To make things even more difficult, three of the players got stuck in traffic and arrived a minute before the start time.
It soon became apparent that Blossomfield were very well organised and put the Stafford team under considerable pressure, a big wake up call to how league hockey will be this season. That said, Stafford defended very well, Dr Richard Buka, Ed Handley and Lucas Delanchy breaking down the attacks. Stafford were not able to create much and it looked like it could be a long afternoon.
Blossomfield took the lead when they won a penalty corner, a wicked deflection off Ben Hollands’ stick saw Dan Howe in goal save well, the rebound however was put through his legs.
The home team then probably made the mistake of sitting back and allowing Stafford to gain their composure. The work rate of James Wild and Andy Barnett saw Stafford start to create chances. Just before the break they won their only penalty corner, Piers Wooller took on the shot and it again deflected off Hollands stick but this time to be saved illegally on the line by a Blossomfield player. Ed Handley took on the penalty and calmly slotted it in for his first Stafford goal, 1-1 at half time.
After the break Stafford were pretty much in control, a few good attacks saw Dan Rennie and Giles Rowden miss chances. They took the lead after a Ben Hollands burst into the circle and his shot cannoned off Andrew Barnett’s stick into the goal. Blossomfield appealed hard about a missed foul but the goal was allowed.
The home team then started to lose their composure, they created chances but seemed to lack the final touch. Stafford were able to shut up shop and the final whistle went to jubilant Stafford scenes.
An excellent performance will give Stafford great hope that they can do well in this competitive league. Next week a full strength squad see them host Bromsgrove HC at Beaconside, 1.00pm push back.