Buxton Hockey Club’s men’s first team faced a tough test at the home of the league leaders Leicester Panthers on Saturday.
Arriving 45 minutes before push back, Buxton warmed up well and were waiting while the previous match - which saw three yellows and two reds - was still ongoing.
When Buxton eventually got on the pitch they started well. They executed their game plan well, moving the ball and holding out the strong Panthers opposition.
Buxton were holding firm until two quick fire short corners put them 2-0 behind, but they never let this get to them despite also being reduced to ten men for five minutes they held firm until half time at 2-0.
A rousing speech from Captain Dan Robins and a passionate scream from new boy Max Bartholomew left Buxton knowing exactly what they had to do, for the next 20 minutes they executed this perfectly.
There was amazing link up play from Joe Uprichard and Louis Forshaw-Perring putting Max Bartholomew on the end of a deflection which the keeper saved and cleaned Bartholomew out.
This set the tone for the Panthers to hack down the skilful Buxton youngsters for the next five minutes. Buxton converted one of their chances, a straight strike off a short corner by Bartholomew.
The backboard rang true and his celebration was louder than when Leicester won the league so an umpire’s warning to calm down followed.
Buxton had their tails up and the opposition were not happy. Buxton could not capitalise on this and the Panthers scored three more from short corners leaving Buxton 5-1 down at the end.
Despite the score, Buxton left with their heads held high and the commitment shown from all 11 was first class. Dom Pathe and Tom Griffin, the stalwarts in the middle, James Wibberley-Cross and Jim Roe, behind, delivered performances of note.
Meanwhile a foggy day in Buxton saw the third team lost 5-1 at home to Ashby. Ashby were full of confidence and buoyed by their victory away to Berkswell & Balsall the previous week and continued on similar form, going three up at the break.
Neat passing between Terry Lowton and Jack Bentley saw Joe Grindley score for Buxton but it was nothing more than a consolation.