With opponents Preston involved in EHL play offs in April, the 2019 Lancashire cup final was postponed, finally taking place in early September.
Following Didsbury’s promotion to National League at the end of last season, the two finalists now lined up as league rivals and played out a hard fought game at the Armitage Centre.
Clear chances were at a premium in the first half with Preston’s Ste Masterson going close with a deft lob onto the crossbar before Nick Rainbow in the Preston goal tipped over Didsbury skipper Rich Hayward’s diving deflection from an Ashton Spaulding cross.
Another diving save from Rainbow denied Luke van Bentum from a penalty corner with Dursh Patel’s celebratory yelps proving premature. At the other end Masterson converted a penalty corner to give Preston a 1-0 lead, which was soon matched as Dom Ashley’s crash ball was deflected by Hayward to a waiting Anthony Symondson for the equaliser.
In the second half Didsbury started to create some clearer chances with van Bentum denied by some last ditch defending on more than one occasion. When Preston did manage to penetrate the D at the other end, Jonny Grey repelled anything that came his way. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Didsbury finally made the breakthrough with a debut goal from Dom Ashley from a penalty corner.
The final minutes were played out with no further clear chances before Didsbury’s victory was confirmed.
Speaking after the game, Rich Hayward said, ‘It’s a great way to start the season and we’re all now looking forward to the challenge of a debut season in the National League. This was a tough early test for us and we’re delighted to come away with the trophy. We’ll be going all out to retain the trophy this season and become the first side to win the cup twice in the same season!’
This was just the third time in the club’s history that Didsbury have won the Lancashire cup, with previous successes coming in 2004 and 2011.
The Men’s 1s start their National League campaign on Sunday 29th September with a home game against Barford Tigers and would welcome support down at the Armitage Centre for a 2:30pm push back on pitch B.