Purple army fall short of National promotion playoffs

National Hockey League South East One: Teddington 3 Sevenoaks 3

Sevenoaks saw their outside hopes of snatching the National Division One South title dashed by a disastrous final ten minutes against Teddington on Sunday. Having led 3-0, Oaks folded under late Teddington pressure, allowing their hosts to level the game in the final minutes.

Oaks were slow to get going and it took them until the 21st minute to open the scoring when a penalty corner was converted by Craig Wiid to make it 1-0. Oaks should have extended their lead when a loose ball in the D was pounced on by Alex Thomson, but his goal bound effort was miraculously saved by the Teddington keeper. Teddington has their fair share of chances, as Oaks too often allowed them to get to the Ball first in and around the D, but a combination of Richard Potton in the Oaks goal and poor finishing meant Oaks went into half time 1-0 up.

Straight after half time Oaks won a penalty corner, which was duly dispatched by Wiid for his and Oaks’s second of the game making it 2-0. It looked like it would be plain sailing from then on, and with twelve minutes remaining it got better still when a lovely move involving Andrew Ross (sponsored by Felsted School), Nick Barker (sponsored by Stratega Law) and James Thomas ended with Thomas sliding the ball across goal for man of the match Lewis Wilcher (sponsored by Ecolution Group) to react quickest to slam in a reverse stick shot to make it 3-0. The final ten minutes was a catalogue of errors for Oaks, with first Ross slipping and gifting the ball to the Teddington attacker to run through on goal to make it 3-1. Repeated turnovers deep into Oaks territory enabled Teddington further opportunities and they took one with three minutes to go to make it 3-2. With a minute remaining the umpires, clearly caught up in the moment too, awarded Teddington an extremely soft penalty corner. After initially charging down the first effort, Teddington were re-awarded another corner for the ball striking an Oaks foot. This time the ball found the side netting to make it 3-3 with little time for Oaks to reply.

With Oxted dropping points against Southgate, with a 4-4 draw (having been 4-0 down), an Oaks win could have seen them still in with a shout going into the final weekend, but it wasn’t to be and Oxted were crowned National Division One South champions and will now compete in the promotion playoffs for a place in the National Premier League next season.

Nationwide coronavirus lockdown update means that Oaks will not now round off the season next weekend against Southgate.