Crusaders Inline Hockey Club

Crusaders Inline Hockey Club News story

National Champions 2014

07 Dec 2014

A great weekend was had by Borehamwood at the Senior Nationals in Herne Bay on 6th/7th Dec 2014. Before the Tournament started we were already the most successful ball club in the country, having won 2 of the last 3 National Finals and being the only club this year to have an A and B team at the Finals. What unfolded over the weekend only confirmed this.

Crusaders started the Tournament off with a match against Sprint Raiders. On paper, a fairly straightforward match, and the result was a 5-0 victory. Although Crusaders never quite got out of second gear, it was a good victory to start the Tournament.

The Kings were next up with their first match. This was very important, as a win would open the way up for a quarter final place  whereas a loss would mean realistically the team would be competing for 9th - 12th place for the rest of the weekend. Heathrow Reapers were the opponents and the Kings put in a very good performance without quite reaching the heights of their outstanding Plate Final performance of a few weeks previous. The final score was 4-2 to the Kings.

Second match up for the Kings was against Hallamshire Hornets, probably the most consistent team in Europe over the last few years. This was always going to be tough for a young Kings squad with only 6 players. What unfolded surprised most people at the rink, not least the Hornets players themselves! The Kings put in the performance of the first day to take the game to the opposition. After 10 minutes played the score was still 0-0 and on chances the Kings should have been ahead. Eventually the Hornets did score a couple of goals but the Kings did not fold and hit back with a goal of their own. At times they were pinning the Hornets back in their own area. In the end the experience of the Hornets shone through and the the final score was 3-1. A truly great performance from the Kings.

Next up for Crusaders was Ash Avalanche. A strong team who have been mostly playing together since peewee level. It was a tough test for the Crusaders who were not at their very best. Even so, they still had too much quality for Ash and ran out 3-1 winners. Onto the quarter final against the Kings!

It cannot have happened often in the history of Bisha that 2 teams from the same club competed in a quarter final of the Nationals! It shows the strength in depth at Borehamwood.
The match was a close one, with Crusaders really starting to produce their top form, at the wrong time from the Kings point of view! Nevertheless, the Kings produced a performance similar to the one against the Hornets, and this time without a coach! The Crusaders scored 2 goals in the first period and a further goal early on in the second period to lead 3-0 midway through the second period. At this point, the Kings could have dropped their heads but they showed resilience and scored a quick goal from Dan Picton to make the score 3-1. Crusaders replied with a fourth but again Kings hit back with a goal. In the dying seconds Steve Dickinson scored a 5th for Crusaders to make the final score 5-2, a fair reflection of the match. A very good performance from Crusaders and an excellent one from Kings. A great first day for Borehamwood.

Sunday was a less successful day for the Kings. It was always going to be difficult continually producing top class performances with such a small and young squad, and this proved to be the case. Against Swindon, the team put up a good fight but eventually lost 3-1.
In the 7th/8th place play off against a strong Ash Avalanche, fatigue caught up with the players and combined with inexperience, resulted in a 7-1 defeat. However, this must not detract from an overall excellent Tournament. 8th place was a great achievement and the future looks good for these players.

Crusaders had a more successful Sunday! Their first match was the semi final against a strong Wigan Warlords team, who had knocked them out of the nationals a couple of years previously. Crusaders started the match well and went into the lead. They were producing their very best hockey, just when it mattered. However, Wigan would not be subdued and responded well, meaning the teams were tied at 4-4 going into the final few minutes. This was when the experience and class of Crusaders really told and they scored the winner with seconds to go.

The final saw Crusaders against old rivals, Hallamshire Hornets, their opponents in both their 2011 and 2013 National final victories. Matches between these 2 teams are always close fought, physical confrontations with lots of skilful play, and this was no exception.
The match started off at a relentless pace, a step up from anything else witnessed over the weekend and never really slackened. Crusaders took the lead with a goal from Jamie Campbell and followed this with a second from Ed Barnes. Crusaders were producing some great hockey, Steve Dickinson and Dexter were attacking with strength and purpose, and our penalties conceded were not costing us.
However, the Hornets are very experienced and gradually increased the pressure on the Crusaders goal. The score remained the same  throughout the second period though, thanks in large parts to some 'bodies on the line defending', in particular from Lee Hayter, and some great saves from James Wright. Into the third period it looked as if Crusaders might hold on, but the Hornets talisman Alex Pearman, took matters into his own hands and scored 2 quick fire goals. The score 2-2 and so into overtime.
The 2011 final against Hornets also went into overtime, but unlike then, when penalties were needed to separate the teams, Crusaders dominated this overtime, and Dexter and Campbell scored 2 further goals. Crusaders had won the final 4-2.
Steve collected the trophy and Borehamwood were National Champions again!

Unarguably Crusaders are now the strongest ball hockey team in the country. Three national victories in the last four years proves that. The challenge now is to replicate that success on the European stage, and to match Hornets and Street Warriors by winning a European title! 2015 might just be our year!!