Final flourish as Town target a trophy treble

Wisbech Hockey 1st Team vs Ashford (white)
Wisbech Hockey 1st Team vs Ashford (white)

WISBECH Town will be looking to reach the HA Trophy final for a third time when they travel to Gateshead this weekend for their semi-final clash.

James Sheppard’s side reached the finals in 2000 and 2002, but lost out on both occasions, however, there is a confidence in the squad that this could be Wisbech’s year.

Wisbech have not lost a semi-final in the competition so far and Sheppard, Brad Apted, Jon Shippey and Joe Melton all played in the 2000 final while the first three also played in 2002.

In 2000 Wisbech lost to Bournemouth and in 2002 they were beaten by Wandsworth side Spencer.

This Sunday’s semi-final looks certain to be a very open game.

Sheppard said: “Our strength is going forward and apparently Gateshead are also better at attacking than defending so there should be a few goals.

“They play at a level below us so we will not be underdogs this time. Everyone is looking forward to the game and we are playing well at the moment so we are going there with a confident attitude.”

“Having four players in the side who have experience of playing in the semi-final before is a big help. This is the only cup competition we play in so we are always looking to do well in it.

“The fact we have lost in two previous finals only makes us more determined to put the record straight and win the competition.”

One player Wisbech will be looking at to make the difference is the experienced Apted, a former New Zealand international, who is a real threat in front of goal and he had a hand in all four goals when Wisbech beat Ashford 4-3 in the semi-finals in 2002.

Fortunately Wisbech do not have a game on Saturday and so they will be travelling up then and stay overnight before Sunday’s big game.