Bully for you!

Doncaster celebrate after winning their semi final against Cannock Picture: Andrew Roe
Doncaster celebrate after winning their semi final against Cannock Picture: Andrew Roe

Jubilant players and supporters celebrated long into the night after the town’s hockey club won a place in the England national final for the first time its 111-year history.

Underdogs Doncaster continued their remarkable giantkilling run in the competition with a superb 3-0 semi-final victory over Premier League side Cannock on Sunday.

They now face a big day out in Staffordshire on May 14 for hockey’s equivalent of the FA Cup final against the current holders Beeston.

Sunday’s triumph was the culmination of an astonishing cup run by Doncaster who had only ever previously reached the quarter-final stages on a handful of occasions.

They chalked up 16 goals in beating Ben Rhydding, Preston, Oxton and Chelmsford to reach the last four for the first time ever but the clash against Cannock - four times winners of the cup - was by far their biggest test.

The Premier League side had one or two players missing through international duties and the town team cashed in to win in style with two goals from teenage star Joe Morrison and one from Andre Otten.

Former president John Marshall, who has been associated with the club for more than half a century said: “It was a wonderful occasion.

“Leigh Hodgson, the coach, has done a marvellous job and all the team played their hearts out.

“It’s the first time we’ve made it to the final - but it’s certainly been worth waiting for.”

Great Britain skipper Barry Middleton, a former Hall Cross student who started his hockey career in the Doncaster first team at the age of 15, was among the first to congratulate his old club.

Middleton now plays professional hockey in Germany and learned of the team’s triumph while checking the club website from his home in Hamburg on Sunday night.

He told the Free Press: “It’s a fantastic achievement and I just feel excited for everyone at the club.

“I think Beeston knocked them out on their way to winning it last year so I hope they can get their revenge this time.

“It will be a tough game but there’s no reason why they can’t pull off another upset if they play the best they can.”

The 27-year-old England star will not be able to make it to the final and he added: “I would have loved to be there but I’m playing over here.

“But I’ll be willing them on and it will be a great day out for the club’s supporters whatever happens.”

The club hopes to lay on several coaches for supporters travelling to the Cannock final which will start at 5.30pm.

Doncaster skipper Pete Bartlett, who was a key figure in Doncaster’s outstanding defence on Sunday, said: “I just hope as many people from the town as possible will come and cheer us on.

“It’s still hard to believe we made it and it’s probably not sunk in properly yet.

“But we certainly got there on merit.

“We’ve got some outstanding individual players, including the lads who scored the goals in the semi-final, but it was a tremendous team performance that got us through on Sunday.

“That’s the best we’ve played so we deserved it.

“It’s been a great season for us and this is the icing on the cake.”

Bartlett, 26, has been with the club five years but this is his first season as captain.

He joked: “Obviously it’s all down to my brilliant leadership skills.”

But then he added: “It will be a proud moment for me to lead out the side in the final.

“Beeston are a top team with lots of international players - but anything is possible on the day.

“It will be a great day out for the entire club and no doubt players and supporters from other clubs will be there to support us as the underdogs.

“For most of the players in the team it will be the biggest game they will ever play in, so it’s important we go there and enjoy ourselves.

“But it’s also vital that we represent the town with pride and give a good account of ourselves as well.”