Leadenham Hockey: Frustrations for Firsts, but Ladies and Second XI hit form

Hockey (stock image)
Hockey (stock image)
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Last weekend brought a full match programme for Leadenham Hockey Club with every team in action, starting with the men’s fiorst teasm appointment with Cambridge City Fourths.

A slow start by the hosts saw Cambridge take the lead in the second minute from a penalty corner.

This was swiftly followed by two more goals from open play as the home defence struggled to track the visitors’ fluid front line.

Leadenham grew into the game in the later stages of the half, but another goal conceded early in the second period made a comeback unlikely.

In an open game, Leadenham’s day was over when Cambridge converted a fifth midway through the second half shortly after fine goalkeeping at the other end had preserved their sheet clean.

A frustrating afternoon was capped by a green card for defender Ben Groom.

Leadenham ladies also had an early start when a Katie Ireland strike put them ahead on eight minutes.

An effective high press saw most of the game played in Spalding territory, and before the half-time whistle, Sophie Gretton added a second.

Leadenham bossed the rest of the match, as the forward line continued working hard to defend from the front.

Some fine passing work was also on display, epitomised by Kath Price’s assist for the third and final goal; an excellently weighted pass to the far post, giving Sally Darling a tap-in.

The men’s second team picked up a win on their travels to Louth, but have several issues to work through on the training ground this week as confusion between defence and midfield offered Louth early opportunities.

The forwards, however, punished Louth on the counter-attack, with Neil Ireland continuing his superb form with a first half hat-trick and Jack Cullen adding another to make it 4–0 at the break.

Leadenham looked more organised in the second half and quickly added two more goals, Neil Ireland with his fourth, and Rory Booth steering in a penalty corner.

The club’s men’s third team travelled to Peterborough and contested an even game.

It was a day for defences as Robert Metheringham earned man-of-the-match honours for his performance in goal, and Rees Whitford made a vital goal-line clearance to keep the scores level at the break.

After falling behind early in the second half, Nick Turner made the most of a free hit into the D to feed Henry Young who calmly pushed in the equaliser.

* Leadenham’s participation at the indoor championships meant the delayed match against Ely was played on Sunday.

After again conceding an early goal, Ben Groom’s weekend misery was compounded when, following a trip, he accidentally tackled fellow defender Neil Baldwin and scored an own goal.

A third Ely goal came just before half-time to leave Leadenham with an uphill struggle in the second half.

Neil Ireland, called up following Saturday’s four-goal show, managed to net from a penalty corner, but another Ely goal sealed the defeat.

The club offers thanks all of the umpires and sponsors Mountains Skip Hire.