BLACKBURN HAWKS 2- 6 ALTRINCHAM ACES 16 FEBRUARY 2003
A Northern Cup match and the last Hawks- Aces derby for the foreseeable future.
The first chance of the match saw Bobby Haig through on Danny Higgin but Danny came up with the save and that set the tone for Danny’s outstanding performance throughout the match. Brian Worrall deflected a shot – saved by Colin Downie. Chances coming at both ends, Corner Swerve Sharman fanned on a powerplay chance, Brian sent in a screened shot, Gordon Whyte shot over from near in before Aces got the first goal. It was Aces’ first powerplay and a passing move from Billy Price to Simon Mills set up Greg Allen open in front of the net with Downie out of position. We lost Simon as Corner S pushed his head/helmet onto the ice and Simon’s visor came in and reopened old scars on both sides of his face. Simon reappeared covered in plasters just before the interval. Hawks levelled on the powerplay with a typical Haig goal, skating in, Danny committed and Haig took it wide and put it in the now open net. Simon exacted some retribution on Corner S before the interval taking 2+10 for a check from behind as CS was stirring it on the boards.
The second period started with Danny making a good pad save to deny Whyte and Billy shot over from close range. Danny then stopped another Haig break before Jason skated round the back of the net and passed in front for Russ Richardson to slot home. Lots of Aces pressure – Downie saving from Billy on a powerplay. The third goal finally came at 37.54. Jason skated in and backhanded it in past Downie, Downie beaten so comprehensively that he’d hardly moved.
Michael Brunton missed an early open net for the Hawks before the Aces added another on the powerplay, the puck being passed in from the side for Billy to turn and shoot home along the ice. Goal officially credited to Stephen Elliott who’d been sat on the bench for the whole game until then (apart from serving Simon’s minor). Soon after, Russ skated in but whilst his shot was saved, Steve Michie was on hand to scoop the rebound into the net past Downie. The match had up until now been simmering with all the old niggles from previous derby games and now erupted. First of all, Chris Black and Billy got involved with each other, Black appearing to start the fight. Both got misconducts with Billy getting an extra one presumably for verbals. A couple of minutes later Neil Howarth fouled Greg and Greg showed he had learnt something in his year at Whitley – the fact that Greg should get involved in a fight shows how niggly the game had got. It probably needed Referee Aaltonen (less impressive tonight) to get both teams together to cool it but that didn’t happen and eighteen seconds later, it kicked off again between Russ and Peter Tapp. Russ suffered a deep cut on his face and in bringing that to the ref’s attention (as well as the fact that whilst one of the linesmen had restrained Russ, Tapp was still punching) Russ ended up with a Gross Misconduct for travesty of the game. The referee’s view was that Russ had been threatening him in coming back onto the ice ‘several’ times but Russ being Russ was pointing out an injustice in his own style. All that had spoilt the match as a spectacle. Brian beat Downie from in front on a 4 on 4 for Aces’ sixth and Haig scored again, putting in a rebound after Danny had saved from Brunton.
The Hawks programme referred to the many memorable matches between the teams over the years. Although the result was right, this wasn’t one of them.
0-1 09.19 Allen from Mills and
R Richardson PPG
1-1 14.10 Haig
1-2 28.55 R Richardson from Hewitt and Price
1-3 37.54 Hewitt from Price and Allen
1-4 42.41 Elliott from Mills and Allen PPG
1-5 45.01 Michie from R Richardson
1-6 55.15 Worrall from Hewitt
2-6 57.36 Haig from Brunton
Greg Allen 1+2, Russ Richardson
1+2, Steve Michie 1+0, Brian Worrall 1+0,
Nick Crawley, Jason Hewitt 1+2, Simon Mills 0+2, Arran Richardson, Stephen Elliott 1+0,
Billy Price 0+2, Luke Stretton, Steve Daly,
Phil Verstappen , Danny Higgin (38s, 2g, 94.74%)(MoM)
SOG 38-48 PIMS 62-94