Wisbech Town Hockey Club and Long Sutton HC in exciting action
Wisbech Town Hockey Club's men's 1st XI were left disappointed on Saturday after they suffered a 1-0 home defeat against Cambridge University 2nd XI.
Wisbech went close early in the game when a fast counter attack saw Jamie Hallatt round the keeper, only for his effort to be cleared off the line. The Fenland side went close again moments later, hitting the bar, while other chances came and went during a goalless first half, with Ben Tarratt at the heart of things.
The home side saw another opportunity cleared off the line just after the restart when Danny Haynes’ deflection was turned aside by a Cambridge defender, before the University side broke the deadlock against the run of play.
With Wisbech setting up to defend what they expected to be a sideline ball, the Umpires awarded a free hit to Cambridge further infield, who quickly capitalised on the confusion to free one of their forwards, who turned the ball home.
It was a frustrating turn of events for Wisbech, who had both created opportunities and defended well, led by player of the match Jason Esser and goalkeeper Aiden Falkus. Wisbech pushed hard for an equaliser, but they were unable to make the pressure count.
Wisbech will look to get back to winning ways next week when they travel to Cambridge Nomads, who sit immediately below Wisbech in the East Hockey Division 1 North table.
The Ladies 1st XI travelled to Norwich Dragons hoping to extend their unbeaten streak in 2022, but found themselves up against a very strong home side and a very strong head wind during the opening 35-minutes.
Norwich seized the momentum during the opening half, and led 2-0 at the interval despite the heroics of Wisbech goalkeeper Ali Beel, who made a string of saves to keep the ladies in the game.
Norwich did eventually secure a third goal, but Beel’s efforts ensured it would not be more. Wisbech will have the chance to bounce back this weekend when they host bottom side St. Ives at Harecroft Road (13:45pm).
Wisbech Ladies 2nd team also slipped to defeat at the weekend, losing 2-0 to Cambridge South 3s. Goalkeeper Lexie Klibanecz put in an excellent performance for Wisbech while forward Lillian Ley led the line well, but a failure to convert any of their short corner opportunities left the Fenland side with nothing to show for their efforts ultimately.
The result extended the gap between Cambridge in 6th and Wisbech in 7th in the East Women’s Division 3 North West table, but with 8th placed Huntingdon also losing on Saturday the Ladies look increasingly likely to remain in their mid table position - especially if they are able to beat Huntingdon this coming weekend.
Wisbech Ladies 3rd XI travelled to Ely determined to get back to winning ways. They started in positive fashion, and controlled much of the game, but struggled to find that elusive goal.
A strong rearguard performance led by player of the match Ellie Cavill, starting her first game at centre back, helped ensure Wisbech would stay on level terms until they finally found a way through with just two minutes left in the game, with Louise Cooper providing the finish to an excellent team move.
Away at Spalding, the Men's third team (pictured) went behind early to a well executed counter attack from the hosts, but were able to respond with an excellent effort of their own as young forward Ollie Overland and Gary Freear combined to set up captain Brodie Ellis to get Wisbech back on level terms. Spalding once again struck on the counter attack, however, before adding a third goal ahead of the break.
Wisbech improved in the second half, pulling a goal back through Jason Mallett whilst also testing the Spalding defence; despite those efforts, Wisbech were unable to draw level, with Spalding adding a fourth goal shortly before the end of the game.
The 3rd team hosts local rivals March Town 2nd XI this weekend (12pm).
Goals from Jon Boyall and captain Brandon Ruff helped the Men’s 4th XI bounce back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 away at St. Ives 5th team, with debutant Steve Rogers picking up the player of the match award while young goalkeeper Willis Ruff put in another strong performance.
Ruff’s side welcomes Spalding fifth team to Harecroft Road this Saturday (10:30am).
The Men’s 2nd XI also return to action this coming weekend after a week off when they travel to St. Ives to take on their third team.
Meanwhile, Long Sutton's hockey sides were also in action.
In a 16-goal thriller, their men's first team missed out on the points. 12 goals were scored in the first half with neither defence on bgood form, with Sutton having been 6-3 ahead at one stage.
Goals came via Frazer Watt, Josh Fyson, Brad Sargeant, Gary Hales and a brace from Josh Baker.
The second half was less in Sutton's favour, and their weaknesses showed in defence as they were caught out on three occasions with swift counters being the difference. Chances did come for Sutton, with Baker and Fyson the unlucky ones of the second half.
A Gary Hales deflected strike reduced the deficit.
It was another frustrating fixture in Cambridge for the men in green, and they look to bounce back quickly and find some form going into next week's home fixture.
Olly Taylor was named man of the match.
Meanwhile, Sutton's men's second team made the journey to Kettering with a makeshift squad of 12.
Missing Hagan for work and Watt through injury, Gary Hales and Olly Taylor stepped up to give the team a squad and both brought excellent positivity to the side. The team started well with Batten and Will White offering their usual guile and invention, making the most of the chances created by Fox, Ed White and Ben Hales.
Hales Sr, Taylor and Canham led the line well, linking midfield and creating chances from the off. Whilst these chances were not finished early on, they did apply pressure and resulted in advanced balls for the away team as well as a smattering of short corners.
It was from one of these short corners that Sutton took the lead, with Canham firing in from Fox's slip pass. Sutton continued to press and it was not long before Will White doubled the lead after a pass from his brother Ed.
Sutton's defence of goalkeeper Sisson and defenders Baguley, Clarke, Adam Taylor and Ben Hales enjoy earning a clean sheet and got just that on the day. Whilst Kettering boasted a lively forward line, the resolute Sutton defenders held firm - supported as always by the deep lying Fox.
Watt, although injured, worked hard for the team and was labelled Sutton's version of Kettering's finest son Sean Dyche as he managed from the bench, ensuring that the team was rotated and fresh.
This allowed Batten to create chances at will and it was from one of these that Gary Hales slotted home Sutton's third goal. Batten was not finished and it was no surprise when he slipped the prolific Fox in for Sutton's fourth before half time.
Kettering remained organised in the second half and showed they are a sound hockey team, never really threatening Sisson's goal and keeping Sutton honest and focused on defending their lead.
Sutton continued to create chances and whilst there were less than the first half they still paid dividends, with man of the match Batten creating a fifth for the prolific Ed White.
The Mens 3s were edged out by high flyers St Ives, with Tyler Hagan's brace not enough as the game finished 3-2.
The Ladies first team led 1-0, but three goals from the home side lead to an away defeat.
Elsewhere, the Ladies second team won 3-0 away to Kettering. Goals from Imogen Cooper, Florence and Penny Perowne sealed the win.