Difficult win keeps Thame in the chase

Thame skipper Gareth Birkett
Thame skipper Gareth Birkett

THAME maintained second place with a hard-earned 2-0 win over Wallingford.

After several weeks without a game due to frozen pitches both sides were rusty and Thame struggled to find the form which saw them win their last eight matches in MBBO Div 5.

A pair of goals from captain Gareth Birkett was enough to give Thame all three points against a well-drilled Wallingford side.

Thame went into the game with several key players missing, especially in defence, but the team acquitted themselves well with many of them playing out of position.

In the first-half Thame enjoyed long periods of possession with Will Sawrey-Cookson and Richard Davies controlling the game from midfield.

Wallingford allowed Thame possession and concentrated on getting men behind the ball, giving forwards Sam Hall, Clifford Brown and Joe Quilter scant space to exploit.

From the start Wallingford’s plan was to hit the home side on the break but the makeshift Thame defence gave nothing away.

Keeper Andy Sykes finished the first-half having only touched the ball once.

The second-half saw Thame play with much more composure as they built from the back and bided their time rather attempting to force through the well organised Wallingford defence. For long periods of time Thame found themselves camped in the opposition’s half, allowing Ben Bennet and Chris Humphreys to organise play from defence, pushing Tim Trailor forward and piling on the pressure.

An extended period of pressure saw Thame win a succession of penalty corners. After several missed attempts Birkett crashed one into the backboard, much to the relief of the home side.

Wallingford continued to play hard, not giving anything easy away, but Thame now had the momentum and soon went two up when a well struck Quilter shot was slotted in by Birkett.

Thame thought they had added a third when Quilter hammered home a penalty corner of his own, but the goal was disallowed because the initial shot was too high.

Next Saturday Thame host West London in a top table clash at Thame Leisure Centre with a 12 noon push back.

Thame Hockey Club train every Wednesday night at Thame Leisure Centre and are always looking for new players.

Visit www.thamehockey.co.uk.