Thame maintain title charge with big win

Alex Merrick Scored two and set up the rest in an impressive performance
Alex Merrick Scored two and set up the rest in an impressive performance

THAME men’s first team maintained their five-point lead at the top of the league with a comfortable 8-0 home win over fourth place Witney.

The match started competitively with both teams attempting to maintain possession and play some flowing hockey.

Early on the visiting right-back looked to cause problems as he started letting loose with a number of long-range aerials which caused the home side a few problems.

With a host of injuries and absences, Thame were playing with an unfamiliar line-up but still managed to put together some strong passing moves as Sam Seddon and Tim Trailor worked hard to maintain width.

The deadlock was broken when Gareth Birkett converted a short corner won by Clifford Brown to put the home side ahead. Witney dug in and fought back as they attempted to level the scores, however it was Thame who scored next as Alex Merrick was well positioned to convert a Birkett mishit just before half-time.

After the break, it seemed the game was going to continue at the same competitive pace but a nasty looking injury to a visiting player and a lack of substitutes saw Witney unluckily reduced to 10 men.

It proved to be the turning point of the game as Thame upped the pressure and the goals started flowing. First Will Sawrey-Cookson finished neatly before another two short corners found the backboard from Birkett.

Brown then made it six before Merrick, whose tireless running had caused problems all day, scored Thame’s seventh.

Birkett made it 8-0 with his fourth before Mark Gould went close on an impressive debut.

Thame now face third placed rivals Wallingford away on Saturday in what will be a tough game after a close 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

The men’s seconds continued their title chase with a 1-0 away win over Abingdon.

Thame Hockey Club train at Thame Leisure Centre on Wednesdays from 8.45pm.

Visit www.thamehockey.co.uk to find out more.