Sport, Sports clubs

Hat-trick hero inspires UEA to victory over Warwick

A hat-trick from Merlin Smethurst helped UEA Mens 1s to an emphatic 6-0 victory over Warwick 3s in the opening match of this season’s BUCS campaign at a wet Sportspark. With the Men’s 2s receiving a walk-over from Anglia Ruskin earlier in the day, the attention focused on the 1st team in front of a substantial crowd.

uea warrick

UEA went into the match on the back of a heavy win over Harleston Magpies in the East leagues and, under the captaincy of Gabriel Inch, they were full of confidence as they pressed their opponents hard during the opening exchanges. Warwick were struggling to break out of their own half with UEA’s forward line hounding their defenders tirelessly. A number of chances went begging before Inch took control of a free-hit just outside of the Warwick circle and beat several heavy tackles before cooly lifting his shot beyond the keeper.

After taking the lead UEA pushed forward with greater enthusiasm but began to leave gaps in the middle for Warwick to play through. The match started to become stretched but the UEA defence was well marshaled by Dom Samways and Louis Preston and it was not long until the home-side found the net again through an incisive Merlin Smethurst finish to double their lead. Inch will have been impressed with how his team started the second half; again pressing high and putting their opponents under heavy pressure.

It was not long until Smethurst added his second and UEA’s third with another close range finish which effectively killed off the match. With their opponents heads down UEA added a forth through fresher Richard Shapland’s first-time goal. With the score-line ticking over, UEA lost some of the cohesion that had got them their lead, but their vastly superior play meant that the goals kept coming. Quick play through the middle from Inch and Robert Turnbull put a Warwick defender under heavy pressure and left him incapable of keeping the ball out of his own net.

Merlin Smethurst completed his hat-trick with yet another close finish bringing up his fifth goal of the season after only four matches. Fresher Josh Glass received a yellow-card and a sin-bin for his tackling, but UEA held on with 10-men to secure a 6-0 victory. Captain Inch will have been pleased that despite UEA not always playing their best hockey they have made a bold statement of intent for the season ahead. Promotion is the goal for this UEA team and victory over Warwick is a good start towards that aim.

The two sides also meet in the BUCS cup in the coming weeks.UEA 1s will now look forward to playing away at Aston next Wednesday confident of adding to today’s points.


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January 2022
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