Apted stars as East lift the title in Bristol
chance after Sheppard had saved the initial short corner.
The East then fell behind to the hosting West side who hit them on the break to score against the run of play but again Apted levelled to earn a 1-1 draw - only a fine goalkeeping display denying the East victory.
Apted opened the scoring in the final qualifier, netting with a reverse stick shot against the Combined Services. A fortunate goal made it 1-1 but Brown and Julian Codgell of Broxbourne gave the East a 3-1 win and they progressed as group winners.
The East went into the semi-finals in search of revenge, having lost at the same stage 12 months ago to the same opponents, but it was the South who went ahead in the first half.
To make matters worse, Apted went off with a tight hamstring but a late short corner goal from Adrian Crawley of Broxbourne took the game to penalty strokes.
Mark Braybrook (Dereham), Ap- ted, Crawley, Kulwinder Julta and Shippey all converted for the East while Sheppard was in fine form between the sticks. He went close to saving the first and fifth efforts but more importantly kept out the third as the East reached the final.
The Midlands were bidding to become the first team to retain the title but despite Apted, the tournament’s top-scorer, playing at half-pace he was still proving a class act and played a big part in their victory.
Apted, a former New Zealand international, and keeper Sheppard - who recently played his 350th consecutive first-team game spanning 16 seasons for Wisbech - will now join Drake in trials for the England Masters squad at Hampton-in-arden on May 20. The trials are to select a squad for next month’s Home Internationals in Edinburgh and the Masters World Cup at Canterbury in August.
City of Peterborough manager Jon Short was also in action, playing in goal for Wales. East squad - James Sheppard (Wisbech), Jonathan Shippey (Wisbech), Julian Cogdell (Broxbourne, Carl Parkes (Clacton), Paul Dover (Thurrock), Vernon Brown (Bishops Stortford), Kulwinder Jutla (Ramgarhia), Jim Pallister (Norwich City), Adam Drake (City of Peterborough), Nick Seagrave (St Albans), Brad Apted (Wisbech), Gary Hales (Long Sutton), Richard Lloyd (Cambridge Nomads), Phil Clegg (Cambridge City), Mark Braybrook (Dereham), Adrian Crawley (Broxbourne).
WISBECH WONDERS: From the left, Brad Apted, James Sheppard and Jonathan Shippey.