The University of Sheffield Men’s Hockey 1s ended 2016 on a high with a 9-3 victory over MMU. The win was not only the perfect end to the calendar year, but it was also a fitting farewell to club ‘veteran’ Jack Coulson.
This is Jack’s fourth year playing for the university’s hockey club, but Wednesday was his last game for the side after deciding to leave the University at Christmas. In honour of this, Jack was named the Sheffield captain for his final game and it was a fitting finale to his Sheffield hockey career as he scored a hat-trick.
It took him just 16 seconds to score after redirecting Steve Palmer’s shot into the net. Sheffield were not ahead for long as MMU drew back level less than two minutes later with a rebound after Matt Fetzer saved the initial shot.
Palmer scored his first of three goals to put the hosts back ahead with a reverse-stick shot in the 8th minute. He scored again just four minutes later from Freddy Gurney’s pass. Gurney was the provider once more; this time for Coulson’s second goal of the game. The MMU goalkeeper came out to narrow the target Gurney had to aim at, but he passed to Coulson, who had an empty goal to shoot into.
Coulson completed his hat-trick in the 25th minute after a well-worked goal. Nick Hale was involved in neat play in the centre of the pitch, before the usual BUCS captain Jack Culmer found honorary captain Coulson. The latter had his back to goal, but on the turn, he fired past the goalkeeper into the bottom left corner of the net. Freddy Gurney then showed great instinct to force a defensive error from MMU; intercepting a pass from the goalkeeper to one of the defenders, before hitting the ball home.
MMU scored their second goal five minutes before half-time, but Sheffield took a comfortable 6-2 lead into the break. As in the first-half, Sheffield dominated the play in the second-half, but MMU remained a threat on the counter-attack. A clinical attacking move saw the visitors pull a goal back 10 minutes into the second-half, but from this point onwards, it was mostly one-way traffic.
Gurney restored Sheffield’s four-goal advantage after Gavin Haseler unselfishly played the ball to him, who was in a better position to score. Sheffield’s eighth goal came after good work from Joe Kopka on the right, who played the ball to Coulson in the centre. Coulson passed to Jack Culmer, who hit his shot first-time past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Sheffield could have extended their lead further as Steve Palmer saw his shot hit the inside of the post, before the hosts were unable to capitalise on a series of penalty corners. Palmer did extend the hosts lead with five minutes left on the clock as he rounded the goalkeeper, before firing into the net to complete his hat-trick.
Jack Coulson told Forge Sport: “It is a wonderful way to finish the year and my time at Sheffield. Celebrating a win as the captain and scoring a hat-trick it couldn’t have gone much better today. I am going to miss it because we are such a good team. When we raised all the money after the bus fire that just showed what we can achieve when we come together.”