A late start on the sand pitch and SHC got off to a flyer, Alex Gibson on the score sheet early doors and a swiftly taken superb defected goal from Ivan Stark off a short and the Snipers were away- 2-0 up the second a goal of pure hockey poetry with his outreached stick finding the back board all done at lightning pace.
Notable in this game was the unusual and sprightly figure of Veysel Demir cannoning up the level channel playing left back. Determined to make an impact and Veysel found himself not just in the channel but swimming in the D and coming close on a few choice moments. Alastair Whatley found a beautiful pass from Oscar Prior on the RHS and converted with a demure finish from the top of the D.
Veysel nearly put one away a few moments later with Whatley again just coming in to put the fourth of the evening away. At this stage 4-0 up after 20 minutes the game looked set and fair, Snipers playing some lovely hockey. Nigel Knight, Noah Lavy, Alex Gibson and Lucca Bilyard bossing the middle and finding some nice overlaps with Alessandro Onano at right back constantly causing turnovers from the Hampstead forwards.
Yet slowly the tide turned and a goal before half time sent the Snipers to their huddle 4-1 up, and still looking good.
The second half won’t be recorded in any annals of SHC playing history. Players holding the ball for too long, forwards not converting chances and short corner after short corner just missing the mark. Snipers played hard for the first15 minutes and were still on top conceding one goal and scoring one from Tom Murphy with a smart finish. Yet tiredness crept in and the Hampstead men with only 11 kept pushing and the 5-2 scoreline gradually eroded to a last gasp 5-4 thriller.
A good close game, but if we are honest a game the Snipers should have put to bed much earlier. Nevertheless a win is a win regardless and with it the Snipers head back to the top of the table.
Good performances seen from Lucca Bilyard at centre back, Andy Buckle up front and Ivan Stark running the lines all over the place helped ensure we walked away on top.