Mallet men march on towards the title
Shepton Mallet 5 Westbury & UB A 2
Central 1 leaders Shepton Mallet took another step towards the title with a convincing home win over fellow high- flyers Westbury.
Shepton started the brighter and got themselves ahead when Chris Reina picked up the ball and ran at goal before smashing into the roof of the net.
Westbury started to improve but Lewis Duchezaue won a short corner which Reina dispatched when the visiting defence again gifted him space.
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As the half wore on, Westbury began to tire and Shepton added to their tally when James Fry drove round the back and dropped the ball to Si Lord to smash against the backboards.
Shepton's Mike Spencer, Alex Reina, Jack Patterson and Mike Reina kept Westbury on their toes as the second half got under way but a turnover of possession undid the defence, allowing the visitors to score on the back post.
The home side responded superbly and restored their three-goal lead when Jamie Phillips played in James Fry, who rounded the keeper to slot into the unguarded goal
Again Westbury tried to press but became frustrated with Shepton's passing style, which led to the visitors resorting to fouls.
Westbury were able to reduce the deficit again, though, when an unmarked winger popped up at the back post to score but Shepton rounded off the win when Lord found Fry unmarked to add a fifth goal.
On Saturday, Shepton visit fellow title chasers Firebrands, where a win will be good enough to seal promotion.
Phillips Tyres man of the match: Michael Spencer.
Basingstoke 6 Shepton Mallet 3
The following day, Shepton's run in the England Hockey Vase ended at the last-16 phase with defeat at Basingstoke.
Having picked up a couple of knocks the previous day, Shepton travelled with a much- changed side but were the first to draw blood when Chris Reina dribbled through the home defence to score.
This seemed to invigorate Basingstoke, who applied increased pressure, but the visitors coped well until Jack Patterson suffered a hand injury.
Shepton stopper Tom Ward kept Basingstoke at bay with a flurry of fine saves but, midway through the first half, the home side scored twice in quick succession.
The first came when a crash ball into the D was deflected against the backboards, before an unmarked attacker tucked home a cross at the back post for the second.
A breakaway goal shortly before half-time then allowed gave Basingstoke their third goal.
Shepton conceded again early in the second half when an unmarked player popped up to extend the hosts' lead to three goals.
The visitors rallied and scored a quick-fire double. The first saw a short corner deflected in by James Fry before a Si Lord trademark reverse-stick smash brought them within one goal.
Shepton continued to test the home side, with Jamie Philips and Lawrence Heywood combining well in the middle to create attacks.
Their push was halted, however, when a cross was deflected into the Shepton goal by defender Jack Patterson. The visitors never really recovered and Ward conceded a sixth goal late on.
Phillips Tyres man of the match: James Fry.