Beeston showed why they finished top of the league in the regular season with a dominant display as they brushed aside Surbiton to win the Now: Pensions Championship Final. Two goals from Craig Boyne and further strikes from Oliver Willars, Simon Egerton and Martin Jones did the damage as Surbiton simply had no answer to the Bees’ firepower.
Beeston set their stall out very early on, pouring forwards at every opportunity, using a high ball pace around the back to pull Surbiton out of position and create spaces. Boyne brought David Kettle into action with a good run which the goalkeeper did well to smother, before Surbiton’s No.1 denied Jones with a point blank save. It didn’t take long for a goal to arrive, however. A long ball into the D in the 9th minute found Jones in plenty of space, he squeezed his shot over Kettle and inside the near post to make it 1-0.
It was 2-0 five minutes later. Tim Lewis made a good run down the right, his cross broke to Stuart Pilgrim, who slapped across goal where Willars was waiting to stab home from close range.
Surbiton pulled one back before the quarter was out. Tom Merchant picked out James Tindall in the D and Surbiton’s top scorer turned and found the far corner despite George Pinner getting a glove to the ball.
Boyne forced home his first of the match with a close range finish at the start of the second quarter. Egerton almost grabbed a goal with a deft touch in the D that flew just wide and Beeston were threatening to run riot.
Surbiton’s chances were sporadic. Johnny Gall almost put James Tindall in the clear with a ball over the top, but Pinner cleared the danger with his gloves. Egerton scored a low drag flick from a penalty corner to make it 4-1 in the 26th minute and then promptly stung Kettle’s gloves with a reverse stick effort from the top of the D.
Surbiton threw everything at Beeston in the third quarter as they tried manfully to get back into the contest. A slick move involving Ben Tibble and Rob Moore brought an excellent diving save from Pinner who then repelled a Chris Grassick penalty corner, again diving to his right. Rob Moore almost scored a fantastic individual goal but Pinner made another smart block after a mazy run from his international teammate. Despite a period of sustained pressure, Beeston’s defence and goalkeeper coped well with the task and did not allow Surbiton the goal which may have turned the tide.
In the fourth quarter, Kettle made another good penalty corner save from Adam Dixon and then the Bees’ captain fired wide with time running out. Boyne applied the finishing touch with his second and Beeston’s fifth as he calmly slotted the ball under the dive of Kettle when clean through just two minutes from time.
Surbiton worked hard, but will next season have to content themselves with a campaign in the Euro Hockey League, their first foray into Europe for 11 years. Beeston were deserved winners. Having topped the league by a distance during the regular season, their class, despite a scare against Reading in the semi-finals, ultimately told and they took home the trophy with something to spare.