It was a family affair at Leadenham Hockey Club as Andy Cade lined up alongside his three sons in a league game for the first time.
A change in formation saw Andy restored to the men’s first team for the home match with St Ives to provide cover at centre-back, giving him the chance to play alongside sons Tom, Charlie and Dan.
The new formation focused on attacking down the wings and it started well, getting the ball into the D and creating problems.
A short corner won by Conor Wright was converted by Sam MacAllister and Leadenham were unlucky not to score again before half-time.
The second half continued with Leadenham spending most of their time in the St Ives half.
Tom Corbett was tireless in midfield, combining with Dan Cade and Ben Huggins to close down most attacks, but despite appearing in control, Leadenham relied on several crucial saves from Simon Chambers, and found themselves 2-1 behind following goalmouth scrambles.
A determined counter-attack from Charlie Cade and MacAllister won a free hit just outside the D.
MacAllister reacted quickest to drive into the D and send a well-placed shot into the bottom corner to level.
The hosts pressed higher and higher up the pitch until they won another free hit outside the D.
In an almost exact replica of the equaliser, MacAllister completed his hat-trick to earn a well-deserved 3-2 win.
* Ciara Wright’s hat-trick and a goal from player-of-the-match Abby Christen was enough to win a point for Leadenham Ladies in a 4-4 draw at Wisbech.
The two teams are level on points after five games, with Wisbech edging ahead on goal difference.
However, with an additional home game in November, Leadenham will be looking to target a good points haul before the winter break.
Team: S. Garrick, L. Jacometti, M. Mountain, E. Talton, S. Amess, S. Walker (c), A. Christen, C. Wright, K. Ireland, S. Darling, M. Hindmarsh, S. Croft.
* Leadenham men’s Second XI missed a chance to extend their lead at the top of the league as they were pegged back by a strong Horncastle side.
Horncastle took an early lead from a clever short corner routine before the game settled into a midfield battle.
An altercation between Leadenham skipper Neil Ireland and the Horncastle goalkeeper led to both receiving yellow cards, but Leadenham could not capitalise on the keeper’s absence and the game finished 1-0.
Team: S. Chambers, J. Beardall, N. Baldwin, F. Naylor, D. Case, S. Darling, J. Simpson, R. Booth, N. Payford, N. Ireland (c), J. Ireland.
* Two late injuries led to Leadenham Third XI travelling to second-placed Long Sutton with just 10 men, making an already difficult task even harder.
Long Sutton showed their skill and fitness and made the most of their one-man advantage.
Indiscipline from Leadenham’s forwards gifted the hosts possession, which they made the most of to score three first-half goals.
Nick Mountain shone under pressure with a superb defensive display, linking well with son Stan Mountain who impressed in the middle of the park.
Leadenham improved on their possession and made fewer mistakes in the second half, but struggled to convert chances and conceded once on the counter-attack.