Leadenham Hockey: Ladies in waiting as title decider snowed off

Leadenham's Second XI play through the snow showers to record a comfortable win over City of Peterborough EMN-180320-084302002
Leadenham's Second XI play through the snow showers to record a comfortable win over City of Peterborough EMN-180320-084302002

Snow and ice halted a title coronation as the potential championship decider between Leadenham Hockey Club ladies and Spilsby was called off.

The delay may mean the Division Four champions will not be crowned until mid-April.

Three men’s fixtures got the go ahead, and were played in less than ideal conditions.

The First XI made a shaky start when defender Ben Lane was forced off with an ankle injury, while Ely City looked strong on the ball.

But they couldn’t find a way through Leadenham’s reshuffled back four, and from a counter-attack started by Nathan Chambers, Cam Salisbury finished smartly at the top of the D to put Leadenham ahead.

Salisbury added a second, 10 minutes before half-time, stabbing in at the far post as Sam MacAllister’s shot headed wide.

The second half continued in much the same way, with Ely dominating possession but Leadenham showing more of a cutting edge on the counter.

Charlie Cade continued his scoring run with two fine finishes late on.

Tempers frayed as Ely’s frustration grew and a yellow card was issued for a push on Ben Groom.

Greg Amess also saw yellow a few minutes later for a similar offence, and this more rugged style seemed to suit the visitors who scored twice in the final minutes, but Leadenham held on for a 4-2 win.

* Poor weather blighted the Seconds’ game with Peterborough, with rare bright moments punctuating snow flurries.

The hosts started slowly as they looked to improve on the previous week’s lacklustre performance, and Neil Ireland opened the scoring before James Ireland added a second from the penalty spot.

But Leadenham struggled to find their passing rhythm and Peterborough’s young side offered a consistent threat on the break with fast pace and technical ability.

But Leadenham’s defence maintained their discipline and Thomas Pinchbeck was rarely troubled between the posts.

In the second half Leadenham’s forward line came alive, adding five more goals (N. Ireland (2), J . Ireland, Andy Carter and Ben Huggins) to seal a comfortable win.

* Henry Young also notched a hat-trick for the Thirds at Wisbech.

The Thirds also base their success on a strong defence with Tom Cade and Freddie Naylor standing out as they held firm against a persistent attack.

A rapid counter led to a short corner, allowing Young to net his first.

Leadenham’s high press then forced the hosts into an error, presenting Young with a fine opportunity to double the lead.

Leadenham continued to hold firm after the break and steadily built possession. Steve Gretton was impressive in midfield, starting the build-up which led to Young’s third.

Wisbech pushed hard late on and grabbed a consolation, but the Thirds held out for another well-deserved win.

The club would like to thank the umpires and sponsors, Mountains Skip Hire.