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LONDON INDOOR FINALS: Ady Kerry Bowdon Hightown carry their penalty-save final hero Amy Tennant across the Wembley Arena w


embley provided the atmosphere, the players delivered the excitement as the English indoor season came to a close


on January 30. Bowdon Hightown took the women’s championship with a penalty-shootout final win while East Grinstead retained their title in a close men’s decider against Beeston – who themselves made the final with a penalty strokes defeat of Reading. The women’s tile was decided when


Bowdon Hightown keeper Amy Tennant producing an amazing, low stick save on her left post to deny a net-bound stroke from Reading captain Emma Thomas. Bowdon’s Tina Cullen had earlier forced the shootout with a 35th minute goal to tie the match at 5-5. Alex Danson showed some electric finishing skills for Reading but her four stunning


goals and another excellent finish from Sam Quek proved not enough to bring the championship to Sonning Lane. East Grinstead’s third championship


in a row came with the help of a final hat-trick from indoor goal-shark par excellence Dave De Prez. Beeston threatened to edge themselves back into the final at times, but the Sussex club always seemed to have the extra gear when needed and England’s, as yet uncapped, indoor skipper Barry Middleton was always ready to chip in with some deft attacking play at crucial times.


The first penalty barrage of the day


came in the Beeston-Reading semi- final which finished three-apiece in normal time. Bees’ England indoor keeper George Pinner was another of the England squad showing fine form at Wembley ahead of February’s


indoor world cup in Poland. Pinner produced a match-winning semi-final effort backing up a fine all-round performance by producing a stick-side save from a Richard Mantell stroke in the shootout. Chris Gregg then held his nerve to net for Beeston before the shootout, and Reading’s final hopes, ended when Jonty Clarke hit the bar. Reading took the game to strokes


when Iain Mackay deflected home a long pass out of defence from Richard Mantell – a packed Wembley crowd roared the house down. East Grinstead’s Mark Pearn said his club’s third championship in a row was down to the squad having been together for a number of years – this year’s additions being former EG player Darren Cheesman and England/GB skipper Barry Middleton. “We’ve only really had Barry coming in.


llllllllllllllllllllll PLANET HOCKEY


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