Hero Whibberley-Cross steals show with superb hat-trick

A SUPERB hat-trick by James Whibberley-Cross.
A SUPERB hat-trick by James Whibberley-Cross.

A superb hat-trick by James Whibberley-Cross earned Buxton 2nd a 3-2 victory in a tough match against Ashby 2nd in the East Midlands 2 Division of the Midland Hockey League’s second-team section.

On a wet and windy day, Ashby expected to return home with all three points. But man-of-the-match Whibberley-Cross had other ideas and soon opened the scoring after a cross from the right by Sam Longden that bypassed two defenders and found him at the top of the D with his back to goal. He turned his man and slotted past the ‘keeper into the bottom corner.

Not to be outdone, the visitors replied quickly from a penalty corner to equalise, and when the second half began, Ashby went 2-1 up from a goalmouth scramble. More pressure resulted in some terrific defending by Buxton and some top-drawer saves by ‘keeper Ed Bentley. But then Whibberley-Cross took centre stage again.

First, he received a fine pass from Louis Saunders on a quick break, ran behind the ‘keeper and calmly flicked the ball around him to level the scores. Next, with 15 minutes remaining, as James Roe and Paul Hancock turned the screw in midfield, he had a goal disallowed when tapping home after shot from a penalty corner had struck a defender’s foot. But not to be denied, Whibberley-Cross netted the winner in the dying minutes when a mistake in the Ashby defence allowed him to run on to a free ball 25 yards out, round the advancing ‘keeper and complete his treble.

A BATTLE between the top two sides in the East Midlands 1 Division of the third-team section in the Midland League resulted in only the second defeat of the season for Buxton 3rd.

Travelling to face a stronger, more physical team, Buxton went down 4-2 to Barton 3rd, despite taking the lead on a rare, quick break that led to Joe Grindy getting on the end of a Terry Lowton pass. Barton hit back so strongly that they led 3-1 at the break when some deservedly stern words were levelled at the Bucks by their captain.

In an improved display in the second half, Josh Stanway scored, Paul Lomas turned in a man-of-the-match performance and the midfield of Grindy, Dan Lowton, Adam Cook and Charlie Hyland worked tirelessly.