Saturday saw a full match programme for Leadenham Hockey Club with every team in action, starting with Cambridge City 4th’s appointment with the men’s first team.
A slow start by the hosts saw Cambridge take the lead from a penalty corner in the second minute. This was swiftly followed by two more from open play as the home defence struggled to track the visitors’ fluid front line.
Leadenham grew into the game in the latter stages of the first half, but another goal conceded early in the second made a comeback seem unlikely.
General play was fairly open, but Leadenham’s day was over as Cambridge managed to convert a fifth time midway through the second half, shortly after fine goalkeeping at the other end had kept their sheet clean.
The finishing touch on a frustrating afternoon was a green card received by defender Ben Groom.
Leadenham ladies also served up an early start when a Katie Ireland strike put them ahead on eight minutes against Spalding.
An effective high press saw the majority of the game take place in Spalding territory, and before the half time whistle Sophie Gretton added a second goal.
Leadenham dominated the remainder of the match, as the forward line continued working hard to defend from the front.
Some fine passing work was also on display, epitomised by Kath Price’s assist for a third and final goal – an excellently weighted pass to the far post leaving Sally Darling with a tap-in.
The men’s second string picked up a win on their travels to Louth, but have a number of issues to work through on the training ground this week, as confusion between defence and midfield offered Louth a number of opportunities in the opening exchanges.
The forwards, however, remained on song and punished Louth on the counter-attack. Neil Ireland continued his superb form with a first half hat trick and Jack Cullen added another to make it 4-0 at the break.
In the second half, Leadenham looked more organised and quickly added two more goals – Ireland with a fourth and Rory Booth steering in a penalty corner.
Leadenham men’s third team travelled to Peterborough and contested a fairly even game.
It was a day for defences as Robert Metheringham earned man-of-the-match honours for his performance in goal, whilst Rees Whitford made a vital goal-line clearance to ensure it remained level at the break.
After falling behind early in the second half, Nick Turner made the most of a free hit to feed Henry Young in the D, from where he calmly pushed in the equaliser.
Due to Leadenham’s participation at the indoor championships, the delayed match against Ely was played on Sunday.
After again conceding an early goal, Ben Groom’s weekend misery was compounded when, following a trip, he accidentally tackled fellow defender Neil Baldwin and scored an own goal.
A third Ely goal came just before half time to leave Leadenham with an uphill struggle in the second half.
Neil Ireland, called up following Saturday’s performance, managed to net from a penalty corner.
Unfortunately, another Ely goal sealed Leadenham’s fate.
The club offers it thanks to all of the umpires and sponsors Mountain Skip Hire
Results: Division 3 NW – LHC M1 0 Cambridge City M4 5, LHC M1 1 Ely City M1 4; Division 4 NW – LHC L1 3 Spalding L3 0; Division 6 NWN – Peterborough M8 1 LHC M3 1, Louth M3 0 LHC M2 6.