Canterbury skipper Tom Richford says the club are proud to have played in the best Hockey 5s final Wembley has ever seen, despite being pipped to glory by seven-time champions East Grinstead.
Despite a pulsating comeback from Canterbury’s men, they suffered Wembley heartbreak in the England Hockey 5s Indoor Championships for the second straight year on Sunday.
Despite having more possession, more shots, more circle entries and more short corners in the final, Canterbury were unable to avoid a 6-5 defeat against East Grinstead, who recorded an historic seventh-straight title.
The drama had begun earlier in the day as Canterbury needed a last-second goal from Liam Foster to see-off Sevenoaks 6-5 in the semi-final, with Richford admitting: “It was a rollercoaster but a good day. We played well.
“The Sevenoaks game was close and we managed to get the winner in the last seconds. They and their fans took it well and supported us in the final – Kent hockey came together which was great to see.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t quite able to do it again in the final.”
Canterbury couldn’t prevent EGs claiming the title and sole place in Europe, although Richford added: “A few people said it was the best final they’d ever seen and the closest match, so we can be proud of that.”
Browne was named finals MVP and Richford claimed the player-coach was an inspiration to the club’s young players.’
Richford said: “He is outstanding and unique. He looks after his body so well but still to be able to do what he does at the age of 37 is unbelievable.
“He is an inspiration and we are fortunate that he’s able to combine coaching with playing. He is like a hockey God.”
Richford added: “The club have picked up some hype the past few years with experience and confidence and hopefully we can convert that in the future.
“We had a lot of support and maybe people want to see new people at the top after all this time.
“First things first, though and we want to use it as a springboard and a platform for the rest of the outdoor season.”
Richford revealed the club were hoping to welcome striker Ben Allberry and midfielder Matt Burton-Bowen back from injury for the second half of the campaign, with two further signings set to boost them when their NOW: Pensions Premier Division season resumes on February 7.
Their preparations continue with a friendly at Surbiton on Sunday.