Hayer’s hat-trick gets promoted Khalsa off to fine Midlands Premier start

My report of Khalsa Hockey Club’s first game of 2008-9 as published in Leamington Courier on 26/9/08

Khalsa: 4                     Northampton Saints: 2

Promoted Khalsa got their Midlands Premier Division campaign off to a flying start at St Nicholas’ Park on Saturday against the side that came up with them.

The hosts, Midlands One Champions last term and Warwick District Sports Awards team of the year winners, were three goals up at the break and only conceded in the closing stages. Mickey Hayer, last season’s top scorer, opened the account with a hat-trick.

Hayer scored his side’s first goal, converting a penalty stroke after set-piece specialist Aaron Nagra saw his penalty corner hit a defender’s body.

The unmarked Hayer doubled the lead on 15 minutes after good work by skipper Jay Nagra and Guri Ghuttara, beating the goalkeeper with a diving lunge.

Northampton had their chances, but a combination of solid defending and weak finishing kept them out. Neither did they have much joy in midfield, where the dominant Jay Nagra skilfully set up Hayer for Khalsa’s third goal before the break.

If Northampton had any ideas getting back into the game they were dispelled within four minutes as Ghuttara collected a fine Davinder pass and beat the keeper.  He might have had another almost at once, but his excellent reverse diving strike was stopped.

Saints never gave up, prompting Khalsa to slow the game down. They re-jigged things, giving youngster Savhan Lall his first taste of Midlands Premier hockey.

The hosts started to wind down in the closing stages and were twice caught out by Ben Scott goals, the second from the penalty stroke right at the end.

Late slips aside, this was an encouraging performance from a side whose ultimate ambition remains National League hockey.

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