Leadenham Hockey Club Ladies’ First XI came out on top in an exciting game full of goals against Alford.
Lena Wilkinson opened the scoring from Ellie Talton’s pinpoint cross before Siobhan Croft quickly added a second goal as Alford struggled to contain a rampant midfield.
Abby Christen, who showed her commitment by squeezing in half-a-game in her lunch break, converted two well-worked goals in the first half before returning to work.
Captain Sophie Walker was on the end of a glorious Croft assist to deflect the ball through the keeper’s legs right on half-time.
There was no let-up in the second half, with Becks Bennett getting in on the scoring with two goals, and Sally Darling finishing the game with a fine goal.
Leadenham were rarely tested defensively, but the back four held firm all game to ensure Susan Garrick had a quiet time in goal, and Ayla Wilkinson won player-of-the-match for a solid display at the back and launching many of their goalscoring moves.
Team: S. Garrick, I. Glaves, L. Jacometti, M. Campbell, S. Amess, S. Walker (c), S. Croft, A. Christen, A. Wilkinson, S. Darling, M. Wright E. Talton, L. Wilkinson, B. Bennett.
* Leadenham First XI men put out a youthful side for the trip to Cambridge which was duly punished by ruthless opponents.
The 10-0 defeat was a tough lesson for Leadenham but will be hugely valuable experience for a young side playing at a high level.
The side have already shown they can compete with anyone in this league on their day, but will need to work on their concentration and game management.
Tom Cade was man-of-the-match for regularly breaking down Cambridge attacks.
Team: S. Chambers, F. Mack, A. Cade, T. Cade, N. Chambers (c), B. Huggins, D. Case, J. Porter, M. Beavis, C. Cade, I. Sanderson.
* Leadenham men’s second team tightened their grip on top spot with a powerful 4-1 win at rivals Long Sutton.
The visitors were camped in Sutton’s half for most of the first 20 minutes and created plenty of chances before James Ireland broke the deadlock with a rocket of a shot into the bottom corner.
One of many short corners was then converted by in-form Nick Playford, who finished with his reverse stick from the centre of the D.
Sam Darling’s mis-hit pass then bobbled beyond an unlucky defender and slowly made its way across the line to make it 3-0.
Long Sutton upped their game after half-time and worked well in attack to win a short corner which they duly converted following Neil Ireland’s deflection which landed fortunately for their man on the back post to sweep home.
Leadenham pushed forward once again, and Paul Cullen showed pace and skill to dribble to the base line and cut the ball back for James Ireland to score an easy tap-in.
Team: T. Pinchbeck (c), B. Russell, F. Naylor, N. Baldwin, E. Groves, R. Booth, S. Darling, N. Ireland, P. Cullen, J. Ireland, N. Playford.
* Leadenham Third XI put in arguably their best performance of the year in a tight goalless draw with Horncastle.
Nick Turner returned to the squad in place of the injured Oli Robertson and added calmness under the pressure in front of the defence.
Horncastle put on a strong show but struggled to break though the back line of Mark Wrigley, Mark Pearce and Nick Mountain.
In midfield, Oliver Down and Oli Philips controlled the flow of the game and set up plenty of chances for forwards Stan Mountain and James Pearson who battled hard against the Horncastle defence and went close several times.
A brilliant result for the third team which allowed the Second XI to move further ahead of their closest promotion rivals.