Poynton 3 3 2 3 1 12
Hampstead 1 1 5 4 0 11

Poynton crowned National Club Champions

Poynton held their nerve to win a scintillating overtime contest against Hampstead and be crowned National Club Champions.

Poynton and England captain Sam Russell scored the game winner with 19 seconds to play as the Blackbirds completed an historic treble to thwart Hampstead’s courageous fightback.

Poynton had led 8-4 midway through the third before a rousing comeback actually saw the men in black ahead with 2:00 to play before Alex Russell forced the game into overtime.

A close encounter was always on the cards as the North and South double winners met at Nottingham Trent University, and while Hampstead got the game underway through Mike Carbone, it was Poynton who raced into a 3-1 ¼ time advantage with efforts from Steve Swift and Luke Goldstock.

The second quarter followed very much in the same vein as the first, Carbone pulled a goal back early with a diving effort, but Poynton then hit another three without answer.

A lack of discipline was proving costly for Hampstead, first UNC alum Goldstock and then Alex Russell both took advantage of man up opportunities before A.Russell added another just before the half, resisting the defensive pressure to finish along the ground.

Poynton went into the break 6-2 up and looking comfortable, but Hampstead had other ideas and came out evidently pumped for the second half.

Hampstead began to control much more possession after the break, playing with a more controlled tempo and soon made it count, Will Pickett picking out Cam Joyce on the crease for his first goal.

And Joyce doubled his tally seconds later receiving the ball straight from the face-off win and ripping one past Will Baxter in goal.

Cutting the lead to 6-4, Hampstead had the momentum, but that was swiftly killed off first by a Will Hardy effort and then off yet another man-up advantage, Will Prescott restored the four-goal lead for Poynton.

While Hampstead could have easily thought the game may have been slipping by them, instead a crucial five-minute period brought the match back to life.

Pat Timothee, playing at Uni of Nottingham this year, first got one back and then Will Pickett, on the 2018 Australia roster, found another, and when Cam Joyce got his second of the day just on the ¾ time, the game was back to 8-7 and the tide turning once again.

This time, the Londoners didn’t let the opportunity go and Benjamin LeSane, one a number of players on field who won the BUCS Championships with NTU in March, levelled the game up early on in the fourth.

Poynton were then given a breather from the onslaught with another man up chance, that once again was finished by Alex Russell, but Carbone quickly cut the lead, seizing on a rebound after a good save from Baxter.

The sides traded goals once again, Joyce getting his fourth and Sam Russell following on from his brother to get his first, before Carbone found a big goal with 4:00 to play to give his side an 11-10 lead.

However, Hampstead lost possession with 2:00 to go and were made to pay as Alex Russell, the dependable option all day for Poynton, sent the game into overtime at 11-all.

The first OT period drifted by with chances for both sides, but the nerves were evident as the normally sharp shooters were failing to find the target.

It then seemed as if the game would be heading into golden goal territory with neither side able to make a breakthrough before more Hampstead indiscipline ultimately proved costly.

Another penalty call gave Poynton a final OT opportunity and as they had done all day, duly took advantage, Alex Russell spying his brother’s run through the middle as he lost his man and Sam Russell squeezed the ball in under the ‘keeper.

Poynton won the resulting face-off and ran down the remaining 19 seconds to seal the historic treble and book their place at the European Club Championships in September.