Opening weekend produced contrasting fortunes as Leadenham Hockey Club’s teams on Saturday.
The Ladies’ First XI completed a convincing win, while the men conceded four in defeat and the second XI drew.
Leadenham Ladies got off to the best league start possible with a composed win at Bourne Deeping Third in the day’s early fixture.
Debutant goalkeeper Susan Garrick had little to do in the first half other than watch from afar as Leadenham’s attack ran rampant.
But she went to ground quickly to smother Bourne’s first foray into the Leadenham D.
At the other end Katie Ireland put Leadenham ahead and quickly followed it with a second.
The tireless Sophie Gretton then worked the ball into space for Lena Wilkinson to score the third goal before half-time.
In the second half, Leadenham focussed on keeping possession and trying to build chances from the back.
Leadenham’s second debutant player, Llinos Jones showed creativity and skill in midfield, working well alongside player-of the match Siobhan Croft, and the talented Ciara Wright.
With Croft pulling the strings and controlling the game, another goal seemed inevitable, and this time Becks Bennett completed the scoring at 4-0.
Team: E. Talton, G. Dring, S. Croft, K. Ireland, B. Bennett, S. Darling, L. Jacometti, S. Gretton, L. Jones, S. Walker (c), L. Wilkinson, C. Wright, M. Mountain, S. Garrick.
* The Men’s First XI’s league campaign began with a narrow loss to visitors Cambridge University.
The students went 1-0 up with a deflected goal into the top corner, but Leadenham replied quickly, attacking from the push back and winning a short corner. MacAllister, Cade and Nelstrop linked together in the opposition D, with Nelstrop equalising.
Leadenham continued to pressure the visitors into mistakes and were rewarded with a deserved second goal courtesy of Ortyll’s ambitious reverse stick lob from the top of the D.
Leadenham then controlled the tempo and slowed down play to protect the lead.
Captain Nathan Chambers launched some big aerial clearances to buy some breathing space for the defence and disrupt Cambridge’s high press as Leadenham finished the half 2-1 ahead.
After the break both teams continued to create chances in a fast flowing and high quality game, but Cambridge’s fitness levels started to shine through and they levelled with a short corner.
Smart defensive work from Huggins, Chambers and Mack broke down their attacks, but the hosts conceded a penalty flick which was duly converted.
First team debutant Tom Corbett’s relentless energy made life difficult for the Cambridge midfield, but as Leadenham chased for an equaliser they were exposed to counter-attacks.
Using the new-found space, Cambridge picked up a final late goal to put the game beyond Leadenham.
Team: S. Chambers, T. Cade, F. Mack, N. Chambers (c), J. Porter, D. Nelstrop, B. Huggins, S. Darling, T. Corbett, M. Ortyl, S. MacAllister, C. Wright, C. Cade.
* Leadenham men’s second team made a winning start in a close encounter against a determined Long Sutton side.
Man-of-the-match Toby Young had a sterling game and was quickest to react to a short corner to put Leadenham ahead.
Leadenham’s dynamic midfield coped well against sustained pressure, with Morgan Beavis winning the ball back for the home team many times.
Long Sutton finally broke through a determined Leadenham defence to level, but in the second half it was experienced goalscorer Neil Ireland who secured all three points by smashing home a short corner.
But Leadenham M3s conceded their match at Horncastle because of lack of players.
* The club would like to thank the umpires and sponsors Mountains Skip Hire.
If you would like to get into hockey, Leadenham would love to hear from you.
Senior training is on the Leadenham Village Hall Astroturf, while junior training is at RAF Cranwell.
Times - Monday: 6.45pm to 8.15pm ladies; 8pm to 9.30pm Men 1 and 2. Thursday: 7pm to 8.30pm Men 3. Saturday: 10am to 11.30am juniors (7-16yrs)
Home matches are played at RAF Cranwell every Saturday.