The penultimate fixtures of 2017 left Leadenham Hockey Club somewhat disappointed after they fell to two defeats in three matches at the weekend.
At home, LHC ladies found themselves on the wrong end of a contentious goal decision to trail top-of-the-league Spilsby early on, but a Sally Darling goal balanced the books before half time.
Spilsby scored again as a much more physical second half began, before two quickfire penalty corner conversions from Katie Ireland gave Leadenham a slender advantage.
It was not to last, however, as Spilsby’s aggressive play paid dividends, the away side scoring twice more to finish the match 4-3 victors.
The men’s third team welcomed back Paul Swinburn from injury lay-off but lost another influential veteran in Richard Nelstrop after just three minutes.
Their opponents Wisbech fielded a skilful and energetic side, putting LHC under immediate pressure and took the lead inside 10 minutes. The game continued at a high tempo but a solid defensive display, including man of the match honours for goalkeeper Simon Chambers, kept the score close.
Leadenham improved in the second half but were unable to pull a goal back and the match ended in a 1-0 defeat.
With the men’s first team match with Ely postponed due to their participation in the Indoor Hockey Championships, the final game of the day was the late push back for the second string at Peterborough.
Captain Ant Chapman made a case for goal of the season with a superb long range strike to lead off the scoring, and represented the high technical quality shown by the team in the opening exchanges.
Leadenham had to remain wary though as Peterborough looked to counter-attack using aerial balls and quick forwards. An unfortunate but severe facial injury seemed to shake the hosts late in the first half, limiting their use of the lifted ball and allowing LHC to capitalise on their dominance of the ground game.
Two further goals from Chapman, plus contributions from Jack Cullen and Andy Carter, led to a 5-0 cushion, but a late surge from Peterborough tested the back line. Thomas Pinchbeck in goal demonstrated good concentration to protect the clean sheet.
The club offers it thanks to all of the umpires and sponsors Mountain Skip Hire
Results: Division 4 NW – LHC L1 3 Spilsby L1 4 (S. Darling, K. Ireland 2); Division 6 NWN – LHC M3 0 Wisbeach Town M4 1; CoP M8 0 LHC M2 5 (A. Chapman 3, J. Cullen, A. Carter).