Harps hit sixth gear

HOCKEY: Harpenden moved out of the danger zone after swatting aside league strugglers Pelicans at the weekend.

Harpenden shone in the first half, as they started to resemble the high-flying top-flight team they have hinted at all season, and the ball was consistently recycled, possession was cherished, and chances were ruthlessly despatched.

Such was Harpenden’s dominance, the first half passed without ‘keeper Ben Brind having to make a decisive intervention. Much of Harpenden’s defensive solidity can be assigned to the faultless debut of James Evans. In partnership with stalwart David Jeffrey, Evans produced the kind of robust defending that radiates confidence across the team.

With the score at 5-0 at half time and the game effectively over, the match failed to inspire after the break as both teams struggled for cohesion. So Harpenden’s sixth, and in particular its quality, came somewhat out of the blue.

The excellent Mike Bowler picked up a pass from Evans, and with little danger apparent, let fly with a superb cross field pass to David Thomas, who in turn found Nick McLean in the D. A simple reverse pass to Falk opened up the goal and with the Pelicans ‘keeper at full stretch the ball was crashed back towards Alex Beggs at the far post. With an acute awareness of space, Beggs turned his marker and buried his low snap-shot into the back of the goal.

At 6-0 up Harpenden fell asleep, allowing the Pelicans centre forward to score twice.

Speaking after the game skipper Tom Bunbury said: “We got to the ball first. Bang. We scored. Bang. We kept possession. Bang. We scored again and again. Bang. Bang. Finally everything I’ve been banging on about all season came together. Just need to bang some heads together now about keeping clean sheets.”

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Harpenden entertain Peterborough at the Brache this Saturday, and will be looking for nothing less than three points.