SATURDAY saw a return to action after the Christmas break for Timperley Hockey Club men's first eleven.

It was a tough return with a double-header weekend starting on Saturday with a Cheshire Cup semi final. Timperley welcomed Oxton to Stockport Road who currently sit top of the league and have already comprehensively beaten Timperley away from home this season.

The hosts knew they would have to be on top of their game if they were to book a place in the cup final. The game opened at a hectic pace with both sides wanting to stamp their authority. The home side had the best of the opening exchanges and took the lead after some fantastic work from Sinclair down the left.

He surged into the circle having rounded a number of the Oxton defence and driving along the baseline he neatly slipped the ball past the advancing Oxton keeper to Bolton, unmarked on the back post to slot the easiest of chances. 1-0 Timperley. The boys in blue continued to dominate the half and doubled their lead through Chapman who is making a good habit of popping up in the right place at the right time and slotting the ball home, Kulpa slotting a pass into the circle that rose up off a defending stick and Chapman neatly slapped the ball home.

Oxton grew onto the game despite being 2-0 down, as you would expect from a side in such fine form. Their efforts were rewarded when they pulled a goal back through McKensie. A ball into the circle caught the defence flatfooted and found its way to the Oxton striker who neatly rounded the Timperley keeper to slot into the empty net. 2-1 Timperley. The half ended with Timperley guilty of wasting a number of chances to restore their 2-goal cushion and the score stayed 2-1 to the hosts.

Oxton came out firing for the second half with some sustained pressure. The Timperley defence stood strong for the first 20 minutes or so with Philips marshalling the defence superbly, rebuffing attack after attack. The steady defence was breached for the second time in the game, once again with Timperley more than aiding the Oxton cause and giving the ball away in their own defensive 25 for McKensie once again benefitting from the hosts seasonal gift. 2-2, game on. Timperley managed to get into the game a little more, created some good attacking chances, and were unlucky not to get a goal or a couple of more penalty corners. Eventually one was awarded. Zywizcka tested the Oxton keeper Ible who managed to get fingertips to the drag flick and see it spin on to the base of the post and out of play to the frustration of Timperley. The pressure continued and another penalty corner was awarded, somewhat fortuitously, it seemed for the hosts. This time Zywizcka expertly wrong footed Ible a nd slotted low to the keepers left. 3-2 Timperley with just 3 minutes to play. Oxton stepped up their pressure, throwing the metaphorical kitchen sink at Timperley in the closing phases. Timperley held out, booking their place in the Cheshire Cup Final. They will face either Brooklands or Alderley Edge later in the season.

Sunday saw Timperley hosting Formby in a rearranged league game. The visitors sit bottom of the league but Timperley knew they could not take their opposition lightly as there are no easy games in the Northern Premier Division. Especially with Formby being fresh having not played the day before. Timperley had some fresh legs in their ranks with the evergreen Beel returning to the squad.

The hosts dominated the opening passages in front of a good home crowd who had come to see the fixture. It took 20 minutes for Timperley to make the break through despite being on top. One of two recent signings, Zywizcka slotted the ball home in open play. This started a flurry of goals in the remaining first half. Timperley's second was from a broken down penalty corner. The keeper made a good stop from the initial attempt on goal, the ball fell to Hans in the D but he could only flick the ball at the Formby keeper, this time the ball dropped to Chapman, again popping up in the right place at the right time to make it 2-0. Timperley's continued pressure resulted in another penalty corner, this time the keeper was unable to deal with the shot, Zywizcka doubling his personal tally for the day.

At half time, the score was 3-0 to Timperley and low on confidence Formby could risk being blown away in the second half. Timperley continued as they had finished the first period with some very early pressure resulting in a penalty stroke being awarded. Philips stepped up to take the stroke with a hope to put Formby to bed early into the second half. The keeper saved his tame flick and the score stayed at 3-0.

Timperley, despite being three goals to the good were playing at a frenzied pace and appeared to be chasing the game, not controlling it and taking the sting out of the match. Nerves were settled a little from a very unlikely source. Will Tobin sealed some fine attacking play from right back with a neat finish a couple of yards out after a goalmouth scramble in the Formby circle, his first goal for the first team. Formby weren't yet out of the game and were still causing the occasional problem and won a couple of penalty corners. One of which ended up in the Timperley goal but was ruled out for a foul on one of the defenders. From the resulting free hit Timperley broke with speed down the right wing and Miller was found in the circle with only the keeper to beat. He shimmied right then left, wrong footing the keeper and slotting a neat reverse stick shot. An impressive finish but nothing compared with what was to come from the on form Zywizcka. 5-0 Timperley.

With the game won and three points assured, the icing was put on the day and the weekend with a spectacular strike from Zywizcka to seal his hat trick. He tormented the Formby right back as he had all day, broke into the circle on the left hand side and unleashed a rocket on the reverse stick high into the net past the Formby Keeper. 6-0 Timperley and a great weekend. Next weekend Timperley host Alderley Edge 2.30 pm start at Stockport Road.