Leadenham Hockey: First XI safe despite late defeat

Hockey (stock image)
Hockey (stock image)

It was a disappointing weekend for Leadenham Hockey Club with two defeats across three games.

The men’s second team travelled to Wisbech for an early pushback, looking to maintain their impressive 100 per cent record.

The pace of the young Wisbech team threatened to unsettle Leadenham early on, but they gradually found their feet and the high press led to them dominating possession.

Sam Darling opened the scoring when his mis-hit flick bobbled under the opposing keeper who then made a string of remarkable saves to keep the scores close.

But just before half-time, a better executed flick from Darling doubled the Leadenham lead.

Birthday boy Jack Cullen found his name on the scoresheet again after the break to maintain his eyecatching season form.

Leadenham pushed up the pitch with centre-back Neil Baldwin grabbing two goals, but the high line was vulnerable and a late break threatened to spoil the clean sheet until captain Thomas Pinchbeck made the save.

* The third team arguably deserved at least a point for a battling performance at home to Bourne Deeping, but lost 3-2.

Good form had given the third string confidence, showing in the smooth pass and move combinations as they pressured the visiting defence, but they lacked the cutting edge in front of goal and Bourne broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, converting a penalty corner.

Another set piece goal followed as Bourne led 2-0 at half-time.

A tactical shift yielded early results for Leadenham when Charlie Cade showed great technical skill to create a one-on-one with the keeper and coolly slot home.

Penalty corners are usually a strong point for the Thirds but Bourne made good use of them to convert a third goal despite claims the final ball was controlled using the back of a stick.

In the dying minutes, Nick Turner pulled another goal back with a fierce drive from the top of the D.

* Leadenham’s First XI also fell to a 3-2 home defeat.

Ian Sanderson scored an early goal, but further attacking play bore little fruit as the hosts spurned several chances.

Instead it was Cambridge who showed a cutting edge, replying twice to give themselves a half-time lead.

The second half was, for the most part, a quiet affair, but late drama erupted when talented youth player Greg Amess equalised.

This sparked a late flurry of end-to-end hockey, but with the final whistle looming, the visitors were awarded a penalty corner which they duly converted to take all three points.

The disappointment of defeat was eased by confirmation that Leadenham were safe from relegation after other results went their way.

The club thanks all umpires, opponents and club sponsors: Mountains Skip Hire.