Is it the end of an era for Gymkhana?

The Hockey Paper - - MEN'S CUP - By Claire Mid­dle­ton

DE­SPITE having around 100 years of goal­keep­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween the sticks, the rel­e­ga­tion play-off be­tween Ox­ton and In­dian Gymkhana turned into a strik­ers’ dream.

For­mer Great Bri­tain and Eng­land keeper Si­mon Ma­son, 44, was on duty for In­dian Gymkhana while at the op­po­site end of the pitch was for­mer Wales cus­to­dian Chris Ashcroft, still nim­ble at 57.

And it was the Ox­ton man – who played for Ne­ston in the in­au­gu­ral Na­tional League sea­son back in 1988 – who had the bet­ter day as his side edged home 4-3.

The re­sult means Gymkhana are hang­ing on to their Na­tional League sta­tus by a thread as a vic­tory for Ox­ton against Fare­ham this week­end would keep them in the Con­fer­ence North and send the Lon­don­ers tum­bling down to the re­gional com­pe­ti­tion of the South League.

In­dian Gymkhana have been in the Na­tional League since its in­cep­tion but en­dured a tough sea­son in Con­fer­ence East.

They won only two matches to fin­ish sec­ond-bot­tom and sacked coach Ian Jennings dur­ing the Christ­mas break.

Ahead 2-1 at the in­ter­val, Gymkhana had scored though penalty cor­ners from Mar­cus Mahne, while Jonathan Hodgkin­son had re­sponded in kind for Ox­ton.

How­ever, af­ter half­time a sec­ond from Hodgkin­son, plus open-play goals from Alis­tair McKen­zie and Mark Wor­rall gave the vis­i­tors the edge and a last-minute strike from David Rae proved too lit­tle too late.

In the In­vestec Women’s League play­off, Exe took con­trol of the sec­ond half to power to a 5-2 win over West Herts.

The match was evenly poised at 2-2 at half-time but three penalty cor­ner con­ver­sions gave the Con­fer­ence West side the ad­van­tage.

Mi­randa Hall and Anna Cop­pel were the West Herts scor­ers while Sarah Payne, Clare Whit­worth Emma Ross and two strikes from Emily Mitchem put Exe in pole po­si­tion.

Con­fer­ence North out­fit Tim­per­ley join the fray this week­end.

Old guard: Si­mon Ma­son was in goal

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