East Grinstead clinched a place in the Hockey 5s final at the SSE Arena in Wembley with a 7-5 win over Reading.
The West Sussex side took the first men’s semi-final by the scruff of the neck capitalising on a slow start by their Berkshire opponents.
Topscorer Niall Stott added to his tally with EG’s first goal, slotting home from a penalty corner. East Grinstead looked comfortable in possession, with Glenn Kirkham and Mark Pearn moving the ball back and forth and they poked for an opening.
The spells of possession were rewarded with further goals from David Condon and Pearn.
Reading’s only real glimpse of chance coming from an audacious lob from Tom Carson, but it was wide of the mark.
Carson made amends soon after firing an opening goal for Reading, with a second soon after as Rick Mantell smashed the ball home from a penalty corner just before half-time.
Reading gave a stronger show in the second half and despite Pearn getting a second goal, EG’s fourth shortly after the break, Richard Springham added a third for blues.
Springham was dazzling, moving forward with skill and fluidity and created chances as Reading pushed on to close the gap, but the Grinstead defence was resolute, and two quick counter-attacks resulted in goals from Simon Faulkner and Chris Griffiths as Grinstead upped their tally to six.
Late in the second half, Reading removed their goalkeeper and played Dan Shingles as a kicking back and reaped the rewards as Mantell and Carson each got second goals, but a late goal from Niall Stott retained Grinstead’s two-goal advantage.
Reading played with more creativity and flair, but ultimately it was the sheer brute force of efficiency which sealed East Grinstead’s place in the final, for the seventh successive year.