East Grinstead were in seventh heaven after being crowned men’s indoor champions for the seventh consecutive year.
EG narrowly edged out a tenacious Canterbury outfit 6-5, but the momentum was in favour of the Kent side as the final buzzer sounded.
In what was the most physical and feisty encounter of the day, the tone was set early on as Glenn Kirkham was given a green card for a cynical foul after just 40 seconds.
His side soon had the lead though, with Niall Stott firing high and proud into the roof of the net, nothing Diccon Stubbings the Canterbury ‘keeper could have done.
Canterbury were back level soon after when their trademark routine – Kwan Browne passing behind his back from a PC – and Harry Jawanda found the net.
The lead was quickly regained by EG though, when the flick from a penalty corner struck a body on the line, the umpires played excellent advantage as the ball fell to Andy Bull and he slotted home Grinstead’s second.
Richard Potton in the EG goal was tested several times at the end of the first half but got low and saved well to divert the pressure.
Early in the second half Stott found the net again, when Mark Pearn’s shot pinged back off the right post and the Scotsman reacted fasted.
A flurry of goals followed in a breathless spell of play, with Jawanda adding a second for Canterbury, but Griffiths scoring a brace for the opposition.
Looking to close the deficit, Canterbury, who had swapped Stubbings for Chris Wyver in the second half, opted to remove their goalkeeper and play a kicking back – a tactic that had won them their place in the final earlier in the day. However in the semi-final there was only two minutes to play, in this match there were 16 minutes still on the clock.
The decision was looking like it might have been a mistake as Griffiths snatched his hat-trick, slotting into an empty net on the counter-attack.
But the comeback was still on, and Wei Adams got a third for Canterbury with a powerful, high finish from an outrageously wide angle. A fourth came via the sideboards and across, as captain Tom Richford neatly slapped home to close the gap to 6-4.
Potton made another save late in the game to deny Jawanda from a PC, but a fifth goal did come at the stick of Kwan Browne.
The master showed his stunning talent, with a net-bursting effort that rocketed past Potton.
Canterbury pushed and pushed, with sustained pressure and were the half just a few minutes longer, they no doubt would have equalised, but as it stood, the buzzer sounded out and gave East Grinstead the chance to continue their tenure at the very top of the indoor game.