Reading Wildcats are stalking SEMLA’s big game after recording their sixth win on the bounce to consolidate third place behind Spencer and Blues.Their 6-5 victory at Hitchin confirms them as the danger team and genuine force in deciding the league title.
Keeper Jordan Boreman put in an outstanding shift between the pipes to deny the Hertfordshire side in the tightest of games that finished 6-5. At the other end, teenager Stephen Munck continued his goal trail with another brace to highlight the Berkshire club’s depth of talent.
But it was Boreman, the ex Berry College player, who performed the game-winning save with gymnastic flexibility to reach a goal-bound back post shot.
“It was a big win and again we showed a lot of character to pull it off coming back from being 3-1 down despite not firing on all cylinders,” said Reading skipper Paul Milner
“Both goalies were immense with Hitchin’s making a string of saves along with Jordan who pulled off an unbelievable save at his back post from a cross crease pass in the dying minutes to secure the win.
“There is very little between us, Hitchin and Hillcroft and we’re all striving to close the gap on Spencer and Blues so it will be interesting to see what happens after the Christmas break.”
Hitchin captain Rhodri Stanford praised his defence in limiting Reading to 6 goals but added: “It was a frustrating game to be honest. I feel we had an off day offensively, combined with the Reading goal keeper having a good day. He made a string of outrageous one-on-one saves, which cost us the game.
“Reading dug deep and it wasn’t the prettiest of games which is often the case when two teams are closely matched.”
East Grinstead continued their good run with a 10-5 win at Welwyn, which lifts Tony Joseph’s hard-working team up to 5th place.
Blues bounced back from their disappointment at losing to Spencer with a solid 11-3 win after the long journey to Bristol. The Bombers put in a spirited defensive showing, with veteran keeper Bob Chapman MVP, but struggled to find penetration.
“Everyone responded well following last week and, whilst maybe we were slow to take control, I think we were dominant enough that the result was never in doubt,” said Blues captain Dave Cluney.
“I’m impressed with the way we controlled most of the possession especially as Bristol do have some talent and are clearly well drilled.
“We now have our sights set on Hampstead and are looking forward to a show down with a team that should be much stronger than the squad we faced at the start of the season.”
Hampstead’s trademark struggle with availability around Thanksgiving proved their undoing again as they had to concede to Hillcroft but they have the potential to put out an impressive roster.
Earlsfield continues to be SEMLA’s goal-coast as Spencer cranked up a 20-1 victory over former giants Purley whose skipper Dave Copple echoed a familiar post game analysis: “Respect to Spencer. They came out of the gates very fast and by the time we got to grips with them the game was already gone.”
Spencer’s co-captain Rob Holmes is content that the club’s season is on target but sounded a warning to his players that there are no medals for being top at Christmas.
“It’s good to get through the first cycle of games with some really strong stats. Scoring 150 goals and conceding just 22 is fantastic and 9 wins from 9 is just what we were hoping to achieve this side of Xmas,” he said.
“Half the job is done, but that gets you nothing. We know we have to perform at the same level for the rest of the year as one slip up could let others back into it. We have a tough start to 2015 and if we can come through that then we will be in a great position to close out the league title.”
The club is riding high with their 2s topping East 1 with a 100% record and 94 goals scored in just seven games. Competition for places could be the perfect antidote for complacency.
Bristol Bombers 3 – 11 Blues
Hillcroft 10 – 0 Hampstead
Hitchin 5 – 6 Reading
Spencer 20 – 1 Purley
Welwyn 5 – 10 East Grinstead
East Grinstead v Hillcroft
Hampstead v Blues
Purley v Hitchin
Reading v Bristol Bombers
Welwyn v Spencer