By Nick Hudson
1st Mar 2020 | Local Sport
Berkswell & Balsall Common 3 Atherstone Adders HC 3(Atherstone won 4-2 on penalties) Shot-stopper Will Parsons helped put one giant hand on Atherstone Adders' ambitions of reaching hockey's version of the FA Cup final for the second successive season. Teenager Parsons produced lightning reflexes to keep out two of the three flicks in a drama that saw the Adders win 4-2 on penalties against Berkswell and Balsall Common after the sides finished 3-3 in normal time. The 17-year-old, called up earlier in the month to the England and GB Colleges under 19s side as first-choice keeper, kept his nerve in the shootout phase of the game as did Daman Johal who slotted home the winning penalty. Atherstone Adders can count themselves a tad fortunate to be just two ties away from another final appearance in the Tier 3 competition of the English Hockey Cup. They were behind all game – and trailed 3-1 with only five minutes remaining before staging a Lazarus-style comeback. The young side, without their leading striker talisman Martin Webb who has bagged more than 50 goals in all competitions this term, went behind in the last 16 tie played at Bablake School, Coventry this afternoon. A Josh Wagg drag flick put Adders on level terms before Berkswell's consistent pressure paid off to see them race into what looked like an unassailable 3-1 lead. Last year's beaten finalists looked done for – but a scrappy second by Cameron Hobbs left the door open and Jack Bullmore completed a spectacular comeback equaliser to take the game to penalties. "Then it was never in doubt", said Adders manager Mick Thomas who bemoaned the fact his side had 20 short corners in the game and only converted two of them. Parsons' glove work between the posts and cool heads from Adders in taking their penalties saw them through 4-2, setting up a home quarter-final clash between either Southampton or Okehampton on Sunday March 15. Adders reached the last 16 after going through in the previous round with a bye after neighbours Tamworth cried off. They beat Wolverhampton in the round of the last 64. "Berkswell must be feeling pretty low as they were never behind in the game until the penalties," added Adders coach Thomas.