Report and Photos from John Coxon
Returning from Polo Farm, Canterbury last Saturday with an important 2-1 win that saw them clear of the relegation zone, Poynton had then to play a match re-arranged because of the European Indoors against last year’s champions Slough, on Sunday. Ironically, as will become clearer, the game was played not at Bellevue but at Brooklands Manchester University Club. Any fears that the Cheshire side would be jaded after the previous day’s game frantic game were quickly allayed and the home team put the Southern visitors under immense pressure in the first half. It was Captain, Sinead McCarthy who laid on Pippa Jones's first goal of the season on 9 minutes. Just before half time Helen Armishaw narrowly missed with a flick which would have consolidated what was by then a commanding position. The Berkshire side rallied in the second half with Lauren Penny scoring on the 47 minute but with Michelle Thomas in fine form in goal and stalwart defending by Kirsty Dawson the game was to end in a draw. Elsewhere Bowdon confirmed their place as champions in an unbeaten run that saw them 3-0 winners against Clifton. Bottom of the table Chelmsford were beaten 3-1 by Slough whilst hapless Ipswich lost 2-1 to Trojans. Second in the table Olton drew (1 -1) with Leicester
At the game rumours abounded on the touchline that the local Premiership side were poised to merge with Brooklands, making the Georges Road club their new home. Poynton have been without a permanent headquarters for some twenty years since hockey abandoned the then Poynton Sports Club when the game moved from grass to artificial turf. Thereafter they were nomadic but, for the last seven years, have used the Regional Hockey Centre at Bellevue for their home games and Levenshulme Cricket Club for after game tea and hospitality since Bellevue catering is confined to vending machines! Brooklands Sports Club, like Poynton, has a long tradition going back more than a century. It was originally a cricket club with hockey embraced just six years after the original club’s birth in 1883. The modern day clubhouse is new and wonderfully appointed thanks to the club’s partnership with the Dragons (LA Fitness) Club with which it shares facilities. Because of sharing the site with a very popular fitness Centre the bar and food is pretty much available all day. Brookland’s is noted for being one of the most hospitable clubs in the country.
It was confirmed today in the weekly Club E Newsletter by Brookland’s Media and Publicity Officer, David Meeks, that the merger between the two clubs has now been formally agreed. The arrangement is seen as mutually beneficial; Poynton will have a new home with impressive facilities and, it is hoped, the Brooklands Ladies section will be strengthened and developed to a higher standard where this season they have been struggling for numbers and position. The new team will play under the name Brooklands Poynton in similar style to Hightown when they merged with Bowdon.
Currently Brooklands Ladies have two teams, with their firsts playing in the Cheshire Women's League Division 1. They finished 4th in 2007-8 and were looking for promotion this season but this year have struggled. Currently they are languishing second from bottom, 20 points beneath league leaders Winnington Park and , ironically , 12 points clear of bottom of the league Poynton Ladies 3rds who have managed just one draw in 15 games and no wins. The Men’s 1sts at Brooklands go from strength to strength offering the possibility, should they make it through the regional playoffs, of a second Cheshire Club having both a Women’s and Men’s team playing in the Premier Divisions. Bowdon are the only club in the country at present who have that privileged position. Poynton already have an association with Brooklands since the current captain of their men’s firsts, Andy Howse is also Poynton’s Ladies First’s Physio and Assistant Coach.
More images from the Poynton v Slough game at johncoxon.com
photo Getty Images