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Havant & Waterlooville won the Senior trophy, the Kevin Forsyth Memorial Shield, at the annual Denham United tournament on Monday, triumphing ahead of a strong field of over 40 teams at the end of nine hours of competition.
The South West Combination club met familiar opposition in the Final, league rivals Chesham United. Teams from Premier League Barnet, Watford, Queens Park Rangers and Lewes had all missed out as the underdogs fought out a tense battle which was finally settled in the second period of overtime.
This popular event features five-a-side games played over seven minutes on six pitches fitted into Denham's home ground. Groups of eight to ten teams played a round robin group stage followed by four knockout rounds. A feature of the final stages is the withdrawal of two outfield players if the match is drawn, then the goalkeeper, after three minutes overtime.
The Hawks went through their group stage without conceding and beat Swindon Spitfires 1-0 in the round of 16. Their route to the trophy then became considerably harder as the next three matches all went to double overtime with just two players left on each side.
The odds against winning three such shootouts in a row must be high, but Becki Bath and Lauren Cheshire managed it. The dynamic duo put out a team from the host club in the quarter finals, then saw off Barnet's Cheryl Williams and Stacey Sowden in the semis ater a 1-1 draw which saw Hawks' Sally-Anne Thompson concede for the only time.
Chesham went closest to winning the final in normal time and the first period of overtime, but, once again it was the teamwork of Cheshire's ability to go past an opponent and Bath's cool finishing which won the day.
Denham United run their annual tournaments over three days and, as so often, were 'blessed' with the full range of weather. At least the sun came out for the final stages of the senior competition! As always, an army of club volunteers officiated, catered and organised a highly enjoyable and successful event.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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