Having reached the quarter final stages in the competition on several occasion over the recent years there was certainly reason to head into the fixture with an air of confidence and optimism. Captain Shaun Wilson also had the luxury of fielding a very strong squad which is not always the case in the tournament, although Keswick were without Robert Owen and Ben Harrison – both of who were instrumental in the day’s previous league victory over Urmston.
The game began at quite a high tempo straight from the off which probably didn’t help the visitors having played only 24 hours previous and racking up nearly 500 miles of travelling in the same time -and although Keswick weathered the early storm while creating the best openings it was the hosts that grabbed the lead. A long searching ball fortunately finding an Adel stick to divert past keeper Tupper. This sparked life into the Cumbrians who began to find their stride and were rewarded with an equaliser almost instantly with Wilson leading by example by thundering the ball into the roof on the net on the half volley to tie to game. Keswick were then undone by a piece of counter attacking play that they themselves would have been proud of and gave the hosts the lead for a second time however, as previous – Keswick upped the anti and pegged Adel back thanks to a neat finish from Rikki Barnes heading into the break.
The second half started pretty much the same as the first – Keswick playing the better hockey and calving out the chances but were sucker-punched with a quick fire double to leave themselves asking how they now had such an uphill task infront of them. However credit to the visitors as heads did not drop and the work rate increased once again both on, and particularly, off the ball. The game plan switched to an informal all out attack inevitably leaving O Shea and Mattear exposed at the back on a couple of occasions - but both were sublime in the latter stages to keep the Cumbria’s in touching distance of the comeback. The game once again became a contest with 12 minutes to go as Barnes completed his brace whilst Cook completed his own hat-trick of assists to ensure a grandstand finale.
The final 10 minutes were well and truly dominated by the visitors as they bombarded the home goal. As KHC gained a second wind, Adel tired which resulted in a number of desperate challenges and in turn, cards - leaving their slender advantage hanging by a thread. The hosts did gain a couple of short corners to finish the game off but Tupper carried on his fine form from Saturday to take the contest to the wire. Swanston and Morgan worked tirelessly down both flanks trying to exploit and chance of a counter attack and the latter was agonisingly denied a last minute equaliser curtesy of the Leeds keeper being in the right place at the right time and the game drew to a close.
A slightly undeserved exit from the competition on the whole but plenty of positives to take away from the match.