Oxford secure BUSA promotion

BLUES HOCKEY   OXFORD 5 COVENTRY 0  The men’s hockey blues earned promotion from their BUSA league on Wednesday with a convincing 5-0 victory against Coventry University. The match never looked in doubt as Oxford took the lead early on with 2 penalty corner strikes from Captain David Cresswell. The game was being re-played after the previous meeting between the two teams was abandoned. A delayed start was followed by a Coventry player suffering a dislocated hip having got on the wrong end of a strike from the reputable Mark Oeuf. A strong Oxford line-up, including veteran Aussies Michel Molinari and Brad Tucker, dominated from start to finish. Perhaps the biggest positive for Oxford was that Jamie Holdoway, a surprise inclusion at the centre of defence, showed moments of class and a very cool head under pressure. The game was over when Martin Tricker scored twice in the second half, with Andrew Van Biltong capping off a polished performance by finishing a move including 15 passes with a reverse-stick strike. The win means the Blues will be playing in Midlands Conference 2A next year, a league somewhat below the class of the Oxford team on show here. I asked Cresswell how his side ended up so low in the BUSA standings: “It all goes back to a few years ago when we qualified for the National League. We found we didn’t have time to balance the Saturday games with midweek BUSA games, so pulled out of BUSA. When we came back down from the National League, BUSA decided to put us back in at the bottom. So we are having to work our way back up each season.” Judging by today’s performance, it will not be long until the Blues are fighting for honours at the top again.by Ian Rossiter