Oaks bow out of Premier but vow to return

England Hockey Mens Premier: Sevenoaks 1 Beeston 3

Sevenoaks finished their two year stay in the Premier League with a 3-1 home defeat to Beeston on Sunday.

Despite putting in a fine performance Oaks were again unable to turn possession and territory into goals. In the first half Oaks started strongly and could have taken the lead on a few occasions, most notably two penalty corner opportunities, but they could not find a way past the visiting keeper. After 16 minutes a loose ball in midfield was latched onto by Beeston and the ball was played into the D where the forward controlled and shot on the turn past Richard Potton into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Beeston. Oaks continued to play some really good hockey but couldn’t find the finishing touch, this time Tim Warrington saw a shot from wide right in the D flash just wide of the goal. The score remained 1-0 at the half time interval.

After the break Oaks again started well and were on the front foot. Within ten minutes they were back on level terms when an aerial ball from Duncan Parnis found Tom Graham, who proceeded to bamboozle the Beeston defenders with some excellent stick skills, before squaring the ball for the diving Ali Taylor to slide the ball into the net on his reverse to make it 1-1.

Unfortunately for Oaks the joy was short-lived as three minutes later Beeston re-took the lead, with a scrappy goal, as the ball was crashed into the D from the right hand side, then a combination of goalkeeper and defender failed to clear the ball and the attacker smashed the loose ball into the backboard for 2-1. Beeston had a couple of penalty corner opportunities but Potton was equal to GB international Mark Gleghorne’s efforts.

Oaks should have drawn level again when a counter attack saw them squander a 3 on 1. They were punished for this moments later when Beeston managed to score a third to make it 3-1. Oaks removed their goalkeeper to play with 11 outfield players and were on top for the remainder of the game but couldn’t break through, not helped by pernickety umpiring reducing them to ten men on two occasions with soft sin-bins.  The full time whistle went with the final score being 3-1 to Beeston.

The game signalled Sevenoaks’s final game in the Premier League as they are relegated to Division One South next season. It has been a tough season for the Oaks but it has been a real treat for the club and the fans to have top level domestic hockey at Hollybush Land for the last two seasons, for the first time in the club’s history. The team will regroup and look to bounce straight back next season.