Dumfries – Kingston Cobras have won the Dave Webster Memorial Tournament for the third year running, beating Durham Dragons 3-1 in a hard fought final. The result capped a great weekend for Cobras, winning every game in the tournament for the first time. Kingston have now won Dumfries Tournament seven times.
The draw for this year’s competition saw Cobras grouped with some strong sides leaving little margin for error in the qualification stages.
The defending champions opened the tournament with a tough match up against Edinburgh Knights. Edinburgh drew first blood with just over 6.25 minutes on the clock. However a powerplay marker from Beddoes (10.35) and a four on four effort from Hogarth (14.00) put Kingston in command. Hogarth added a third in the dying moments to seal an opening 3-1 for Cobras.
Kingston’s second game saw them face Irvine Flyers. The two sides had split games in 2015, with Irvine winning the group game before Kingston beat them in the semi final. This year’s game went in Cobras’ favour with them shutting out Irvine in a 3-0 win, Roddy and Hogarth (2) with the goals.
The last game of the first day saw Cobras matched against Newcastle Predators. Kingston were on top for the majority of the game and established a three goal lead before the halfway marker with Beddoes, Robinson and Hogarth scoring. Despite being under constant pressure, Predators netminder made some outstanding saves but it was not enough to slow down Cobras momentum as they ran out 6-1 winners with Hogarth completing his hattrick and Gavin Tidy adding one.
The end of the opening day saw Kingston sat at the top of Group B, one point in front of Durham Dragons, Grimsby Lightning and Edinburgh Lions who both had 5 points.
Kingston had a lie in and a late start on the Sunday, earlier game results meant that a win in game four would all but guarantee a semi final spot.
Game four saw Cobras face Paisley Blackhawks in a repeat of the 2015 final. In similar fashion last year’s final the game was end to end until Kingston took the lead through Hogarth (5.25). Following the goal Cobras established some good puck possession in Paisley’s end, however Blackhawks were a constant threat on the break. The game sparked to life in the closing minutes with Tidy (22.44) and Beddoes (23.56) seemingly putting the game beyond doubt. However a late goal by Paisley’s Turnbull (24.34) and two shots hitting the post in the last 30 seconds lead to some nervous moments on the Cobras bench.
The final group game was also the last game of the group schedule, both Kingston and hosts Dumfries had already qualified for the semi finals. Despite both teams having qualified the game started at a quick pace. Cobras were first on the board with Chris Reader finishing calmly from a Daintith pass (1.55). With both sides quelling each other’s attacks the game began to dwindle out with qualification secured. Gowan Beddoes added a second for Kingston in the closing minutes (23.53) to secure a 2-0 win.
The start of the semi final match up was a different matter. Dumfries forwards caught Kingston’s players flat footed and took the lead through Woodward (1.49) with under two minutes on the clock. Prior to this game Cobras had only been behind once in the tournament, back in game 1 vs Edinburgh.
The home side had the chance to extend the lead with a powerplay shortly after., however Cobras managed to quell Demons threats and started to pile on the pressure in search for an equalizer.
Chris Armitage added the go ahead goal for Cobras (12.30) with a top shelf finish following some nifty stick handling.
Despite falling behind, Dumfries continued to pressure the Kingston net and a second powerplay saw them ring the outside of post. Captain Gowan Beddoes then went down in pain, blocking a shot from the point. With Beddoes struggling to his feet Demons once again went close, before the puck found its way to Beddoes stick. The captain managed to get past two defencemen before ringing the puck home (16.30) to extend Cobras lead to 3-1.
Chris Armitage added a fourth for Cobras on the powerplay (20.24) with Dumfries running into penalty trouble. With Cobras on the powerplay for the last five minutes of the game, the clock ran down and we were off to the final for the third year running.
The final saw Kingston matched up against Summer Cup rivals Durham Dragons. Durham advancing to the final having beaten Paisley Blackhawks. Both sides have enjoyed a healthy rivalry over the last couple of years with some close fought encounters.
Both sides started the game tentatively with the puck being iced long in the opening exchanges with little to show in terms of chances. Following the opening salvos, Cobras began to pressure the Durham end and were rewarded when Jay Robinson broke clear and finished neatly through the Dragons’ netminders legs (5.40).
Less than two minutes later Cobras lead was doubled when an innocuous looking back hand dump in from the red line by Chris Hogarth found its way into the Durham net (7.12).
Dragons to their credit didn’t let an unfortunate break get to them with netminder Davies making some great stops to deny Cobras, Beddoes and Hogarth from extending the lead to three.
Durham finally found a chink in Cobras armour with forward Ian Greenwood firing a rocket from just inside the blue line to reduce the deficit to one goal (10.50).
With tiring legs on both sides the final was poised for a nail biting last five minutes.
Mike Smith in the Cobras net made a heroic lunging save with bodies on the floor around him to deny a gilt edged chance for Durham to level proceedings.
With the clock running down to the final minute Durham pulled their goalie, as they looked to send the game to penalty shots. Despite Durham winning the ensuing offensive zone face off, Cobras managed to force a turnover and Chris Hogarth fired into the empty net with seconds remaining on the clock (24.59), securing the game and the tournament for Kingston.
At the final buzzer Cobras players rushed to netminder Smith for the customary team celebration, before shaking hands with Durham who had fought a hard game.
Cobras then had a double celebration; Chris Hogarth was awarded Best Forward in the tournament before the team collected the one that matters: The Dave Webster Memorial trophy.
Captain Gowan Beddoes, “We are pleased with the way the lads stuck together from start to finish. It was a solid team effort, all weekend. Great times off the ice too, as always.”
Chairman Mike Roddy, “Thanks once again to all the organisers and volunteers from Dumfries Demons who put a great amount of effort into this tournament each year. It is a privilege to be invited and we look forward to defending the trophy again next year.”
Coach Andy Daintith, “It was a great weekend of hockey and socialising. We had solid performances from every player. The team had the lowest goals conceded (four) throughout the tournament. We also went undefeated in all seven games for the first time. Player wise:
Steve Hudson – solid performance controlled his crease area, helped the defence throughout
Mike coco Smith – solid performance never panicked and came up big in the final
Tom Brierley – awesome display, blocked shots even though he was playing with a bad ankle injury all weekend.
Jay Robinson – never stopped skating, his shot from the point was unstoppable
Andy Daintith – My best tournament to date, but l play with the best players, who listen to what I want, which is always key.
Gowan Beddoes – Cappy lead from start to finish. He scored goals as always, whilsy putting up big ice time minutes. Great example, got injured but carried on regardless.
Chris Hogarth – Awarded the best forward of the tournament and well deserved. Grafted all weekend, linked well with Gowan and Rods.
Mike Roddy – Always does the right things, gets in the correct positions and scored a big goal. Game time knowledge and shot blocking was key.
Gavin Tidy – Brilliant skating performance and he never gives up. Also causes opposition players problem.
Alex Naylor – Great weekend, never gave up, caused problems for opposition defence. Gives Cobras a lot of energy.
Chris Reader – Linked well with Gav and Alex, scored a big goal when team needed a goal, great energy player. Quality team guy.
Chris Armitage – Got stronger as the tournament went on, produced some outstanding performances on the Sunday and was key to the team winning.
Rob Brattan – Doesn’t give himself enough credit, grafted all weekend. Positional play a big improvement, very strong tournament in all of the games.
Connor Medley – First tournament for Cobras and a great addition to the team, got stronger throughout the tournament, linking well with Arms and Bratts.
Thanks to wives/girlfriends; Sam Daintith, Kate Blackie, Caroline Reader, Alyce Loather, Kirsty Jeakins and Stacie Reffin for all your support and laughs that you gave along with making winning the tournament a special one again. “
Cobras are next in action Sunday 3rd April, 5.30pm vs Newcastle Coyotes.