RAF Inter-Stations: 30th – 31st March 2017
This year, the RAF Inter-Stations were held at RAF Halton, with a record-breaking 130 athletes playing over the two days.
Eight teams entered the competition, all aiming to knock Brize ‘Wildcats’ Norton off their perch, since they had won the last four Inter-Stations. The tournament was split down in to two groups of four teams. All the teams would play each other, with the top two going through to the semi-finals, whilst the rest of the teams would go into playoff games. High Wycombe/Northolt ended up second in league, so they went through to the semi-finals.
In the early classification games, Akrotiri beat Marham 1-0, meaning a 7th place finish for Akrotiri, whilst underdog Wyton beat Lossiemouth 2-0 to finish 5th.
In the first semi-final of the day, the reigning champions, Brize Norton, faced favourites for the Brent McCarthy Inter Stations Trophy, Waddington. In an end to end semi-final, the game ended 2-2. This would mean a penalty shoot out to decide who would make the final. With the scores tied 5-5, Waddington Captain, Cpl Ben Lowe, stepped up, only to fire his shot against the bar and over. This meant the Brize Norton playmaker, SAC Tom Stopper, had to score the next penalty to win the game and progress into the final. Safe to say, with his cool head, he slotted the ball into the roof of the net. Commiserations for Waddington, another final for Brize Norton. Could anybody stop them on their way to a 5th title?
In the second semi-final, High Wycombe/Northolt played a combined side of Odiham and Benson. Both sides were desperate to make their first Inter-Stations final. Lucky enough for High Wycombe/Northolt, they had a superstar playing upfront in the name of Wg Cdr Ady Portlock. By the time half time came, he had already put High Wycombe/Northolt 3-0 up. In the second half, it was a much tighter affair. Odiham and Benson came out fighting, shifting two quick goals, putting High Wycombe/Northolt on the back foot. With minutes of the game remaining though, High Wycombe/Northolt killed it, thanks to a long solo run from Cpl Kyle Barnes. The final score was 4-2 to High Wycombe/Northolt.
So the big game had finally arrived: four times reigning Inter-Stations Champions, against an all or nothing Team High Wycombe/Northolt. The game started very edgy, with both teams scoring early doors. Half way through the first half, Brize Norton started to tire; High Wycombe/Northolt took full advantage of this, with Fg Off Andrew Seimann and SAC Liam Sanford starting to dictate the game, with two well-worked goals being put in the net before half-time. The score going into the break was 3-1 High Wycombe/Northolt. The second half saw most of the same, with High Wycombe/Northolt dominating the game, through possession, physicality and goals. Come the final whistle, High Wycombe/Northolt were champions, winning the Brent McCarty Inter-Stations Tournament 6-2 in the final.
These types of competitions would not be possible without the support of RAF Hockey. We would also like to thank the Royal British Legion and Mr. Mark Collins for coming down and supporting the event this year.