Leadenham Hockey: Seconds complete invincible season with derby win

Third team captain Andy Cade (white) competes to clear his lines under pressure from Leadenham's leading scorer James Ireland EMN-180326-143317002
Third team captain Andy Cade (white) competes to clear his lines under pressure from Leadenham's leading scorer James Ireland EMN-180326-143317002

The East League hockey season continued beyond its official ending on March 17, as they catch up with postponed matches.

Leadenham ladies travelled to Long Sutton in midweek where Kath Price and Katie Ireland (2) netted under floodlights to secure a 3-0 win.

They now face a nervous wait until April 14 when they take on Spilsby in a match likely to decide the Division Four title.

* Saturday was an all-Leadenham affair when the club’s men’s second team took on their third XI to round off a successful season for both sides.

A large crowd who were treated to what was arguably the most competitive match of the season, and certainly the most enjoyable.

The casual observer would have been hard pressed to guess which side occupied which position in the table as the Thirds dominated much of the first-half possession, and using their understanding of their opponents’ tactics to break up play and keep the ball in the middle third.

Very few chances were created at either end, but with both sides pushing hard as half-time approached, leading men’s goalscorer James Ireland crashed home from the top of the D.

Henry Young made sure the league winners couldn’t rest on their laurels, equalising for the Thirds shortly after the restart with a savage strike from the right which deflected in off Neil Baldwin’s stick.

With both sides scenting victory, what had been a midfield tussle became an end-to-end affair which suited the Seconds.

Their high tempo and counter-attacking unsettled a well-organised Thirds defence, and further goals came from Ireland, Will Hill and Joe Beardall (2).

But the 5-1 scoreline did not reflect how hard the team had been made to work by their clubmates.

Leadenham Thirds finished fifth in their debut season, while the Seconds completed an invincible year, conceding a sixth division record of only six goals in total.

The club would like to thank umpires David Sykes and Ben Lane, who oversaw a free-flowing game without a single card, sponsors Mountains Skip Hire for their continued support and their supporters, some of who battled through snow and rain to cheer on both teams throughout the season.