Week 6 - Hampstead Close in on the Century
Hampstead remain the only team with a 100% win record and they beat early frontrunners Reading 16-7 to underline their Prem title potential.
The Men in Black have scored 97 goals in six league and Flags games, hitting 17 in three of them with a potent and interchangeable offense.
The Wildcats, fielding an understrength team for the trip to the Westway, knew they would struggle against such firepower but their makeshift team fought hard.
They were blown away in the first quarter which finished 7-1 to the home team and the going was tough for the ten men throughout.
With a stand-in keeper and 2nd teamers stepping up, captain Paul Milner was full of praise for his team. “It was a valiant performance and I have never been more proud of my team. “We were dogged in defence and created some great chances in attack. The Hampstead keeper had a fantastic game keeping our scoring to a minimum until we finally started finishing in the 4th quarter.
“A flurry of goals at the start of the 4th brought the score to 11-6 but Hampstead pulled themselves together after a timeout and sensibly used their more rested legs to wear down an already exhausted opposition and finish it off comfortably.
“I know they weren’t at full strength either but I thoroughly look forward to the return fixture.”
Milner who grabbed a hat-trick in the lost cause added: “As usual, great hospitality from Hampstead.”
Hampstead have a two-week break over Thanksgiving and close rivals Spencer and Hillcroft, both carrying a loss, will look to crank up the pressure with wins during their lay-off.
Spencer’s stop-start season continues as their game at Purley was washed out and they are forced to sit out this Saturday. They return to action on December 5 with a crunch home game against Blues who, although struggling to find top form, are putting in some impressive performances.
But it is Hillcroft who are gathering the head of steam to challenge Hampstead after dispatching Hitchin 13-2 at Tooting.
“We put together another strong team performance and the points were spread out nicely throughout the squad,” said captain Eoin Dunne. “Again the defence was solid and really limited Hitchin's creativity and drive, holding them scoreless in two of the four quarters.”
Thom Gilbrook put in a MOTM performance with three goals and John Goodwin and Alex Twiss continued their strong starts to the season, both scoring twice.
“We are looking forward to the trip to East Grinstead this weekend for what I'm sure will be a tough game as they have some good results so far this season,” added Dunne.
The Sussex’s teams excellent start was derailed in Cardiff who enjoyed a welcome 6-4 victory to lift them into a crowded mid-table.
“It was a tough game in some very cold conditions,” said EG skipper Andy Price. “We started very slowly and allowed Cardiff to paly their game. Although we got going a bit more in the 2nd quarter, we still couldn't get on the scoreboard with Cardiff's keeper saving everything. In the third we got some man-up time and allowed us to get into the game with 3 goals coming from Jack Foster.
“But Cardiff kept their noses in front and we couldn't quite grind out enough in the final to bring it back.”
Blues consigned Bristol Bombers to a 19-4 defeat at Banstead with Peter Ross reveling in a seven-goal blitz. The attacker had one of his best days up front as the return of Matt Birkett ensured positive possession from the Face Off.
“Both teams put out strong squads for this mid table game and we made a much better start than usual with the return of a few injured players,” said Blues captain Stuart Macgregor Dallas.
“Goals from Peter Ross and Ewan Willsmer catapulted us into a four goal lead in the first quarter. Bristol found some possession but never quite able to find the goal as Blues drove on to a 9-1 lead at half-time.”
Blues controlled possession and although Bristol worked hard to get a foothold - including a superb solo effort from the skipper Pete Wilson – the home team was over the horizon and ran out comfortable winners.
“We travel to Reading this weekend for another must win league game if we want to climb the league table ahead of the Christmas break,” added Macgregor Dallas.
Highlight of the weekend will be the local derby between Bristol and Cardiff – 9th v 6th and the pride of the West on the line. But the intriguing game will be winless Purley traveling Hitchin, who are yet to locate the form of recent seasons which marked them out as contenders.
Cardiff 6 - 4 East Grinstead
Hampstead 16 - 7 Reading
Hillcroft 13 -2 Hitchin
Purley P - P Spencer
Blues 19 - 4 Bristol Bombers
Bristol Bombers v Cardiff
East Grinstead v Hillcroft
Hitchin v Purley
Reading v Blues