HOCKEY: Leadenham ladies put Dragons to the sword

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With the league sewn up, Leadenham Hockey Club men’s second string were able to put their feet up and relax with a well-timed bye week.

In their absence, the club’s ladies took the opportunity to put in a table-topping performance of their own at Bourne Deeping Dragons.

The Dragons had a one point advantage at the start of the day, and would be hoping to widen that gap on home turf.

But Leadenham started strong, narrowly controlling possession in an evenly flowing game. Katie Ireland was eventually awarded the opening goal which deflected off a Bourne defender.

Goal scoring is very much in the genes as Florence Ireland doubled the lead five minutes later, assisted by Katherine Price who added a fine solo effort of her own just before the break.

The half time scoreline did not really reflect Bourne’s positive play, but a firm Leadenham back line held firm, including a number of key interceptions from Megan Campbell.

The second half continued very much as the first, Leadenham just about edging control of possession, and another Katie Ireland goal sealed the win which puts the club in the driving seat of Division Four.

Also on their travels were the men’s third team. They faced a daunting trip to second placed Long Sutton.

Long Sutton caused a number of issues in attack, pushing players upfield to unsettle the visiting defence. However, Paul Swinburn rolled back the years with lightning quick reactions to deny the home side an early opener.

Set-pieces have been a noteworthy strength of the thirds, and it was through another penalty corner that they took the lead. Nick Turner capitalised on a fluffed clearance to send a strike through the keeper’s legs.

A contentious penalty corner decision allowed Long Sutton to level things up in the second half, but straight from the restart Conor Wright was on hand to tap in a cross D ball and restore the lead.

Following this brief flurry, the game settled down and 2-1 remained the final score.

Finally, a home victory for the firsts saw them surpass last season’s points tally. They welcomed local rivals Spalding and swiftly took a two goal lead through Will Cutler and Sam MacAllister.

Leadenham continued to probe the Spalding D, but a swift counter caught the home side too high up the pitch and reduced the deficit to one.

Cutler restored the two goal advantage after the break, latching on to a rebound off the Spalding post. Further goals from Fergus Mack and Will Dean sealed the victory, as Leadenham’s attacking pressure forced a number of errors from the visiting defence.

An impressive attacking performance moved the club 10 points above the relegation places.

The club would like to thank all of the umpires and club sponsor Mountain Skip Hire.

Results: Div 3 (NW) – LHC M1 5 Spalding M3 1; Div 4 (NWN) – Bourne Deeping L2 0 LHC L1 4; Div 6 (NWN) – Long Sutton M3 1 LHC M3 2.