Ben Hibberd completed a point-saving hat-trick before being one of three Winchester players sent off in a card-strewn South Hockey League Premier Division 1 4-4 draw against Oxford University at Iffley Road.
Midfielder Mark Maunsell and young goalkeeper Caelen Dillon were also red carded and, alongside Hibberd, have already begun an automatic initial 16-day ban, putting them out of Winchester’s next two SPL matches against high flying pair London Edwardians and Spencer.
Winchester picked up a staggering nine cards at the historic Oxford venue, where Sir Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four minute mile in 1954.
The significant one-team card tally is believed to be unprecedented in the South Hockey League.
No Oxford player was disciplined, while Winchester collected four yellows and two greens in addition to the three reds.
Winchester finished the match with one point – but only nine players on the pitch. Goalkeeper Dillon is believed to have received a Match Day Misconduct red card after the final whistle.
Winchester, who fought a titanic Premier Division 2 promotion battle with the Dark Blues last season, were twice in front from penalty strokes at Iffley Road.
Twice Oxford University defenders were penalised for ‘foot on the goal-line’ offences and each time Hibberd tucked the strokes away.
In between times, Andrew Oxburgh equalised for the University with a reverse stick shot into Dillon’s top corner.
The second half saw Oxford convert three penalty corners – an Oxburgh equaliser and a drag flick brace from Nick Leach.
Winchester, who picked up a green and a yellow card before the break, began to lose their cool and collected three more yellows as Oxford opened up a 4-2 lead.
Yet a Kent Langridge goal got Winchester back into it – only for Maunsell to see red.
Down to ten men and into the closing stages, Winchester levelled 4-4 with Hibberd’s hat-trick clinching short corner, but soon after he too was sent off.
It meant Winchester playing out the dying minutes with nine men, but creditably they held on to draw.
Winchester club captain Stuart Swift commented: “We are disappointed with the cards shown. We are investigating the circumstances of each one and an appropriate response will be forthcoming from our discipline officer.”
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