Vets looking to retain England Hockey Masters Title

Having won the England Hockey Masters (Over 50s) title in 2014 and 2016, the Ben Rhydding Men are preparing for their third final in four years at the end of April.

As last year they will be playing on the main pitch at the Lea Valley Stadium – on April 29th at 9am.

Although slightly disappointed by the timing of the game the team are looking forward to a great day and hope that plenty of supporters will make the trip.

Read the match report from teh Semi-Final against Isca below:

After many away ties, Ben Rhydding had a home match in the semi-finals, with Isca – a club with veterans’ pedigree – making the long trip from Exeter.

They weren’t the only ones travelling some distance for the match, however, as key Ben Rhydding players Mark French and Brian Kempson broke holidays to take part.

The first 15 minutes were tense, with Isca having the majority of possession and territory but the defensive unit of French, Neil Horsman, Neill Moore and Hugh Lambert holding firm to snuff out any visiting attacks.

David Cutter had a great chance to put Ben Rhydding ahead but lunged too far and suffered a hamstring injury, which ruled him out of the rest of the game.

Ben Rhydding thought they had gone ahead when a penalty corner was scored, only to see that, as the ball crossed the line, the umpire had blown and awarded Rhydding a penalty flick.

The penalty was missed and, in such a tight contest, either of these incidents could have tipped the balance against the hosts, but this is a team with genuine mental resilience.

The midfield trio of Kempson, Rob Ward and Richard Pughe were starting to gain an advantage over their quality opponents and, as the game continued, they used their strong bench to keep up with the pace of the contest.

Jonny Till had replaced Cutter to join Ian Cussons and Tony Wing up front, with Howard Pickard and Mark Westwood bolstering midfield.

It was halfway through the second half when Ward got on the end of a ball in the middle of the D and slotted home the only goal of the game.

Although Isca pushed hard for an equaliser, Rhydding kept possession in their opponents’ half, seeing out the game.