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Kent Cup Finals - Match Reports

#* Holcombe 3-2 Sevenoaks# Chris Bassano-Harper got a hat-trick as Holcombe kept their grip on the Kent Cup. Sevenoaks were the opposition and while they gave a good account of themselves, Holcs extended their dominance of the competition to 5 years. They started confidently and it wasn’t long before Bassano-Harper took possession well outside the D, beat a handful of defenders and reverse-sticked a shot past the keeper from wide out. Oaks fought back and strung together a few passes with confidence and hesitation in the Holcs defence allowed them a chance from a short-corner. Daniel Lloyd-James fired past keeper Sean Parker to make it 1-1. The remainder of the first half was a tale of Holcs opportunities and a series of impressive (and fortunate) saves by the Sevenoaks goalkeeper. Taking the interval to regroup Holcs again made a strong start and quickly realized they only needed to piece together a few decent attacks and the game would be theirs. Breaking quickly on the counter-attack and being more aggressive in defence, Holcs exploited their greater experience and skill by developing opening upon opening. Bassano-Harper eventually seized on another half chance and with time and composure rifled another reverse-stick shot into the roof of the net. A real crowd pleaser!! Still on the front foot, Holcombe won a pair of short-corners which led to a free shot for Denzil Dolly and a penalty stroke, which Bassano-Harper put away with a professionalism beyond his years. With nothing to lose and the game slipping away from them, Sevenoaks tried hard to respond. They got back to 3-2 with 5 minutes left after Lloyd James scored his second of the day from another short-corner, but in truth Holcombe never looked like throwing it away. Retaining their title and looking forward to the off-season break, Holcombe will be strengthening their squad in the summer and thereafter looking to improve on their fifth place finish in the National League Division 1. Squad: Sean Parker, Andy Carney, Giles Osbourne, Ben Lawrence, David Hemsley, Phil Bourne, Iain Bryne, John Rye, Ryan Ravenscroft, Simon Owen, Johnathon Cooper, Denzil Dolly, Chris Bassano-Harper, Kevin Johnson, Stefan Smith, Stephen Friend. #*Holcombe 3-1 Gravesend (aet)# The Ladies 1st XI registered Holcs’ first leg of their cup double earlier in the day. They wanted to finish their campaign on a high note and having already been promoted to East League Division 1, at the first time of asking, added the Kent Ladies Plate to their collection. However, it wasn’t until extra-time that they finally got the goals to win. A team breakfast at Holcombe Park got the day off to a good start and there was a quiet confidence in the camp. However, along with their opposition, Gravesend, Holcs struggled to settle on an unfamiliar surface. Control and first touch proved difficult for both teams, although when Jennie Hoyte left her marker standing and drove in the D, Cheryl Lee was only a fraction away from the resulting cross. Hoyte herself went agonizingly close as Gravesend weathered the storm. Deb Gurr, standing in for the injured Jackie Gray, was called into action, but first blood came at the other end where Julia Axcell slotted home when Gravesend failed to clear their lines at a short-corner. Cindy Laing and Tamsin Cargill policed the back line admirably as the expected fightback materialized, but half-time came and went with Holcs still 1-0 up. One goal is never enough though, and as Gravesend poured forward in the second half, they produced a training ground move and made it 1-1. Both teams felt they could win it and as both teams pushed for the decider, it was nail-biting stuff. Still, there was nothing in it at the final whistle, and two 10-minute periods of extra-time started. Holcombe then seized their opportunity. Playing their best hockey of the game they dominated and regained their lead through Hoyte a few minutes in. Lara Hoadley tucked away number 3 at about the same time in the second period, and while the old legs were a bit tied, when there’s silverware at stake it’s worth the agony.