Spencer are cruising to the league title but could face their toughest battle of the season yet as they travel to Hampstead in the Flags Semi Final.
Both teams have been gearing up for this showdown for weeks and the Men in Black are determined to halt the Earlsfied juggernaut.
Spencer’s league form is imperious – 16 wins from 16 games and 256 goals scored – while Hampstead have stuttered through a patchy season that has ranged from title-contending performances to three concessions.
A 15-1 victory over Bristol saw Spencer fine-tuning its slick attack while Hampstead had to concede to Hitchin last Saturday. But read little into those results….this is a rivalry that defies statistics and form.
“It was a good win and with a really strong team performance across the field,” said co-captain Rob Holmes. “Credit to Bristol for making the journey with a under strength side and showing fantastic commitment to get their fixtures played.”
The goals were spread around the team with middie Rob Arnott taking the MVP honours with an influential all-round performance.
“Hampstead have been on the horizon for some time and we’re really pleased it’s here,” added Holmes.” Our teamwork in recent weeks has been great and really looking forward to a tough test, but we know what we can bring and I expect us to come away with the win.
“Spencer have dominated the flag competition for the last 3 seasons and have no plans for it be coming down off the wall.”
The other semi is between Blues, who squeaked past Hillcroft 6-5 in a thrilling game last Saturday, and Reading whose game with Welwyn was postponed.
“It was disappointing not to win the game but we feel that, coupled with the result against Spencer, we’ve shown that next season we can compete with the best and fully believe that we’ll be challenging for the title,” said the Croft’s vice captain Harry Collins.
“It was an enjoyable and uncompromising game, with neither side holding back in their physicality. We knew Blues would be strong through their midfield, and traditionally they’re difficult to stop once they get hold of the ball, but we’ve been working hard on an aggressive slide package and as a result our defence forced multiple turnovers.
“Offensively, we stuttered slightly and as has been the case a few times this season. We created the chances but struggled to find the clinical edge we know we’re capable of. That said, the team is really looking strong as a unit and there’s a hunger to finally deliver on the promise that Hillcroft has shown over the last few years.”
East Grinstead eased towards safety with a 7-4 victory at Purley and, given a season of injury and low numbers, this represents a great achievement for the club, whose 2nd team are well placed for promotion to East 2.
It was another close one for Purley but their season will be defined by the last game match-up with Welwyn with the loser likely to be relegated.
The Flags dominates the fixture list this Saturday with the two Intermediate Divisional Plate and Minor Plate Finals being played out.
Spencer’s 2nd team face Hillcroft’s A team while Cardiff play Bath for the right to meet in the Intermediate Final.
Hillcroft 5 -6 Blues
Purley 4 – 7 East Grinstead
Spencer 15 – 1 Bristol Bombers
Senior Flags Semi Finals
Hampstead v Spencer (1:00pm)
Reading v Blues
Int Plate Finals
East Hillcroft A v Spencer 2
West Harlequins v Bath
Mnr Plate Finals
East Oxford Uni v Hillcroft B
West Warwick v Exeter