Lincolnshire were drawn against local rivals Yorkshire in their semi-final match.Things did not go well from the start for Lincs, as Yorkshire dominated the first half and looked by far the better side. They scored first and it was always going to be difficult for Lincs to get back into the game, and they also faced a first half barrage of five penalty corners against them but, thankfully, Yorks did not capitalise and messed up each one, with David Overton (Lindum) outstanding in the Lincs goal. The second half was better for Lincs and whilst they never dominated the game at any time they were playing much better than in the first half. They had chances but did not get the goal they needed and the game was back and forth each end with neither team managing to score. Lincs had a couple of penalty corners themselves but again failed to find the equaliser and with time running out it looked like they were doomed. With barely three minutes left the ball came into the Yorkshire "D" and their captain, Alex Humphreys, appeared to have it covered and under control but his clubmate, Sam Perrin (Brooklands MU), in the Lincolnshire side saw the opportunity and robbed him of the ball on the reverse, turned and controlled a simple push into an empty net, to the jubilation of the supporting Lincolnshire crowd and his teammates. 1 - 1 and on to Penalty Strokes. Yorkshire went first and scored, as did Lincs on their turns, only for one player on each side to miss their flicks to make it 4 - 4 (Finding, Perrin, Johnstone & Wright all netting for Lincs) and on to sudden death, with Lincs going first this time. Lincs scored (Finding) and Yorks missed, so our county side went through to the Final 5-4 on penalties to play Kent. All very exciting for the onlookers.
The Final, unfortunately, became a bit of a one sided affair, as Kent had strengthened their team since The Lindum weekend (they had lost 1-4 to Lincs there) and pulled in four National League Premier players including England squad players Nick Bandarak (Holcombe) and Rob Farrington (ex Surbiton). This was always going to be a tough one for Lincs and they were soon 0-2 down, the second of which Bandarak scored with an exceptional piece of skill in lobbing Overton. Lincs hung in but went a third goal down before Josh Pettinger (Lindum) latched on to a Chris Porter (Oxted) pass and deflected the ball high into the Kent net. 1-3 and Lincs were back in the game only to give the ball away yet again and Kent scored number four. Lincs soon recovered once more when Rob Johnstone (Lindum) fired home one of his reverse stick specials into the bottom corner, giving Lincs an opening if they could take it. Sadly, Kent grew stronger and killed the game with three more goals, winning the game in similar style to their semi final victory over Lincs two years ago. Lessons to be learnt again for Lincs but a valiant effort in reaching the final this year and a great performance in the Preliminaries.
Lincs squad: David Overton GK, Matt Bell, Rob Johnstone, David Dykes, James Wright, Sam Perrin, Sam Temple-Baxter, Louie Sadler, Joe Finding, Ben Treadgold, Ross Booth (captain), Ben Read, Chris Porter, Stuart Cunnington, Josh Pettinger, Simon Miles.
Written by Tony Perrin