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Wisbech Ladies avoid relegation and men can do the same at the weekend

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It was a hard working weekend for Wisbech Town Hockey Club, though results did not always follow performances.

Missing several key players, the Mens 1st XI took on league leaders Spalding at Harecroft Road, with the visitors looking to wrap up the Division 1 North title.

Despite the absences, Wisbech were resolute in their task, and worked hard against their high flying opponents during the early exchanges.

Spalding eventually took the lead mid-way through the first half but found themselves unable to pull away as Wisbech continued to battle hard, with skipper Ben Tarratt and goalkeeper Aiden Falkus standing out for the home side.

Having soaked up much pressure throughout the game, Wisbech were unlucky not to get themselves on the scoreboard, hitting the bar, while also forcing the Spalding keeper into several saves with smart counter attacks.

The score remained 1-0 at the final whistle; enough for the visitors to secure top spot in the division, while Wisbech’s fate rests in their own hands, with a win at last place Sudbury this Saturday enough to secure their place in the Division for another year.

The Ladies 1st XI were also looking to cement their place in Women’s Division 1 North for another season, as they travelled to St Neots.

Jo Gomm’s goal helped ensure the game remained finely poised entering the break, with the teams tied at 1-1, but an early goal from the hosts in the second half started to swing the momentum away from Wisbech.

A change in formation followed, but the shift did not lead to a turnaround in fortunes, despite Wisbech’s best efforts, with St Neots eventually pulling away to secure a 5-1 victory.

Results elsewhere ensured the defeat would not be too costly for Wisbech, however, with the Ladies safe from relegation after Watton failed to win.

Jo Bland’s side hosts Cambridge City 3rd XI this weekend, their final game of the season.

The Ladies 2nd XI took on Shefford and Sandy in their final home game of the season, recovering from a sluggish start to take the lead through Emma Baker. The visitors equalised before half time, setting up an exciting second half. Shefford took the lead as the two sides traded chances, before Jane Pegg’s close range finish got Wisbech back on level terms, and 2-2 was the way it stayed.

Wisbech will play their final game of the season away at Cambridge City 5th team this weekend.

The Men's 3rd team took on Bourne-Deeping on Wednesday in a rare midweek fixture. Despite a solid first half, which saw young forward Brandon Ruff score his 20th goal of the season, after being called up from the 4th XI, Bourne were able to put some distance between the two teams in the second half, securing a 4-1 win.

A strong performance from the 3rd XI on Saturday saw the team secure a draw against league winners Long Sutton in a hard-fought encounter.

The weakened visitors had the better of the first half, taking the lead through Tyler Hagan after an outstanding pass by Ed White.

But Wisbech defended resolutely, and came close to equalising through Calvin Bishop, whose shot from a short corner forced a smart save from the Long Sutton goalkeeper.

Wisbech continued to work hard, eventually getting their reward early in the second half, when a quick counter attack saw Bishop collect the ball in the Long Sutton circle, shooting towards the back post where winger Robin Middleton was able to poke the ball home from close range.

Sutton’s Man of the Match Will White worked hard to create chances at the other end.

A clash between Bishop and Hagan shortly after saw both men dismissed, with each team also picking up a yellow card during the incident, leading to a brief period of nine against nine.

Neither side was able to capitalise on the additional space on the field, however, and the game ended 1-1.

The 3rd XI complete their campaign away at Cambridge South 4th XI this weekend.

Two goals and an assist from captain Brandon Ruff helped the Men’s fourth team secure a 4-0 win away at Kettering. Oliver Melton and John Lawrence also scored for Wisbech, while Jon Boyall picked up two assists. This weekend, Ruff’s side travel to league winners Spalding 5th XI.

Young forward Lily Cooper was on target for the Ladies 3rd team as they picked up a point in a 1-1 draw with Kettering at Harecroft Road. The Ladies travel to Newmarket this weekend for their final game of the season.

The Men's 2nd team also returns to the field after a week off, with a home clash against local rivals March.

  • Long Sutton firsts extended their run of form to four wins out of four after a feisty encounter at struggling St Neots

Sutton began well, with Baker and Proctor coming closest in the opening exchanges. Baker made it 1-0 after 10 minutes, swiftly followed by a fine diving tap in for Olly Taylor for his first for the team.

Nick Ellis strike from a rebounded short corner and Josh Baker rounding the keeper and hitting strong side into the back board sent Sutton in to a 4-0 lead at the break.

St Neots made it 4-1 from a scrappy rebound, but Baker scored his third from a penalty flick, shortly followed by a Dom Ibrahim effort to make it 6-1.

St Neots pulled another back but then Brad Sargeant was sent off after protesting about a crunching tackle which ended Baker’s game. The game ended 6-2 to Sutton.

The Ladies firsts played Bourne and, despite an excellent effort, trailed 1-0 at the break. Sutton grabbed a deserved second half equaliser and fought hard to end the game 1-1.

Long Sutton Ladies 2nds travelled to play a Cambridge South team that had not dropped any points all season.

Sutton were soon pushed back and the defence of Julie Skate, Claire Sisson, Lucy Smith and Emma Grosvenor had to be exceptionally alert.

Although Sutton were having to defend in numbers, they worked hard to try to take the game to South and Esme Whitelam in particular covered every ‘blade’ of Astro, ably assisted by Jasmine Smith, in yet another different position, and Sarah Skate.

The forward line of Florence Perowne, Wendy Canham and Immi Cooper were also putting in a shift tracking back to put pressure on South and also trying to stretch the game to give the defence some respite.

With a squad of 13, Sutton were also able to rotate with Aimee Betts again showing great improvement, and George Synott coming on to ensure the tempo never dropped. Half-time came with the score 0-0.

Sutton grew into the game further in the second half and possession was more evenly matched, Sutton winning short corners of their own to put pressure on South.

Florence Perowne found herself in the D and put in a great shot which went narrowly wide. It was a warning sign for Cambs which they failed to heed as 10 minutes in, a great ball out of defence was played to Esme Whitelam, who played an intelligent ball to George Synnott who with a first- time pass laid the ball on to Immi Cooper who had got in behind the defence with a brilliantly timed run. She only had the keeper to beat and did so with aplomb.

South seemed initially stunned, but soon recovered, continuing to fight to try to get their 15th win of the season to keep their 100% record.

But the whole Sutton team put in a huge effort to ensure the game ended with a 1-0 win and joyous celebrations at the final whistle.

Player of the match votes were spread with Esme Whitelam and Immi Cooper narrowly coming second to a deserved winner in Florence Perowne.

With a considerably depleted team, Sutton 3rds’ game was scrappy to say the least.

The first 15 minutes saw the defence of G Croxford, Milnes and Jerm under considerable pressure. Without some quality saves by Braginton, Sutton would have found themselves behind.

G Hales and T Croxford started to turn the attack on and get some through balls to the midfield. Adam Croxford had clearly been taking lessons from his dad when he danced with the ball down the sideline.

With Norey finding some space and driving into the D and M Braginton attempting a diving lunge, there were glimmers of the team that has developed this season.

Whilst goal chances from open play were being snuffed out, or sky rocketed by the younger Hales, the first came from a short and grit and determination. The straight strike was saved and looked as if it would dawdle off the back line but the speed of Norey saw the ball pulled back from the baseline for G Hales to put in the net. It was 1-0 at half time.

The second half saw the team take control, they kept possession and Sam Bartlett, Theo Perowne and Ed Hales all left nothing in the tank as they ran from end to end to support the defence and create chances for Braginton, Norey and White.

After a period of pressure, the second goal came from a trademark Ian White short corner strike, deflected off a foot or two on the way through to give him the record equalling title of scoring on every Sutton home pitch over the decades.

While Sutton had their chances, they closed out the game for a 2-0 win. Alfie Braginton was rightly recognised by his team for keeping them in the game in the first half to scoop POM.

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