Leadenham Hockey Club use indoor championships to gain experience
Leadenham were the only Lincolnshire-based club to enter the Men's East Region Indoor Hockey Championships and used the experience to develop skills within the team.
Indoor hockey is rarely played in Lincolnshire so opportunities to practise are few and far between.
However, a young and inexperienced squad did themselves proud, playing to their limits in a fiercely competitive tournament.
Saturday saw Leadenham Hockey Club struggle to score against a well-drilled Braintree, eventually losing 3-0 after failing to put away some good opportunities.
In the next game, they were punished by excellent finishing from Saffron Walden and Leadenham were again wasteful in attack. The final scoreline of 13-4 was an unfair reflection of a match which flowed end to end, but flattered the more experienced Saffron Walden side.
The day ended with Leadenham staging a thrilling comeback against Sudbury, coming back from 3-1 down to win the game 4-3.
Finally getting to grips with the format, Leadenham's attack proved incisive and determined. Goals from captain MacAllister, Down and Amess set the game up for a close finish, before Ortyll made a claim for goal of the tournament, with an audacious reverse stick lob over the on-rushing keeper whilst under huge pressure from the defence.
With the score at 4-3, Sudbury pushed hard but a string of excellent saves from goalkeeper Friskney ensured Leadenham picked up their first indoor victory in the club's history.
Sunday started with a tough game against Norwich Dragons, in which Leadenham again seemed to suffer a scoreline which flattered their opponents, losing 9-3. Excellent defending from player-of-the tournament Ben Eagles made life difficult for the Norwich side but they continued to make the most of every opportunity.
Following this match the team took on eventual group winners University of East Anglia and showed great resilience to fight back from 6-1 down to finish 6-5 at the final whistle, with coach Booth picking up a hat-trick and a fantastic solo goal from Cade.
Leadenham's indoor entry was sponsored by D&B Farming Company.
From left, back – Ross Booth, captain Sam MacAllister, Charlie Cade, Matt Ortyll and manager Adrian Down; front – Greg Amess, Ben Eagles, Aidan Friskney and Henry Down.