Atherstone hockey heroes ‘deserve civic recognition’

  Posted: 16.09.20 at 18:22 by Nick Hudson

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TOWN COUNCILLOR CALLS FOR RESPONSE TO ‘FANTASTIC ACHIEVEMENT’ IN WINNING EQUIVALENT OF THE FA CUP

PHOTOGRAPHIC LEGEND GRAHAM BEALE: I CANNOT RECALL ANYTHING LIKE IT IN 50 YEARS

CUP winners Atherstone Adders are set for civic recognition after their epic performance put the town on the hockey map of England.

Town councillor Brian Henney is planning to raise the issue of their “fantastic” achievement in what amounts to the sporting equivalent of an FA Cup final victory at tonight’s monthly meeting of the authority.

Two goals from former skipper Martin Webb – one from a delightfully-worked short corner move – was enough to see off the strong challenge of Southport at the weekend.

The 2-1 result was a moment of redemption for the TQEA-based club who lost 4-1 in the corresponding Tier 3 England Hockey Knockout Cup final fixture last season against the University of Nottingham.

Councillor Brian Henney: The hockey team have become an important part of the sports scene and calendar for Atherstone and deserve to be congratulated for this great win

Few will realise that in the latter part of the 20th century the Ratcliffe Road club almost went under and had to play their hockey in Tamworth because no suitable pitches were available to play on in the town.

Councllor Henney – former chairman of Atherstone Town Community Football Club – told Nub News: “What the Adders Men’s Firsts have achieved is nothing short of fantastic for our town, literally the FA Cup of hockey.

“It’s no mean feat to get this recognition and beat local teams such as Tamworth in the process.

“The Adders hockey team have become an important part of the sports scene and calendar for Atherstone, and deserve to be congratulated by our civic signatories for this great win.

“Credit were credit is due to all players staff and supporters, very well done.”

Professional photographer Graham Beale, associated with covering the town’s sports scene for more than 50 years, added: “I cannot recall anything like it.

“I hope the town will recognise this sporting achievement in the proper way.”

Goalscorer Webb, who racked up more than 60 strikes for the club last season, said after the game: “It was the toughest we have had all year – a really good challenge.”

At the other end of the pitch, Will Murphy was making only his second competitive appearance between the posts after signing from Chesterfield last month. He replaced teenager Will Parsons who signed for Stratford-upon-Avon HC to further his pathway to a full England international.

The 4-0 EH Cup semi-final victory against Lewes in Sussex was his debut for what is now the 10th club of his career.

The 34-year-old keeper, who made a couple of crucial stops in the final, added: “I have only come into the club in the last three weeks but the welcome and team spirit has been incredible.

“I am proud I could finish the job Will Parsons started and he really deserves the plaudits for the hard yards last season.

“I was worried I wouldn't enjoy hockey this season but I'm very glad to have found an incredible new home.”

Losing finalists Southport were magnanimous in defeat, offering “congratulations” to Atherstone on winning a “tightly-fought, competitive game”.

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