Leadenham Hockey Club First XI boost league survival hopes

Leadenham Hockey Club mens First XI took a huge step towards avoiding relegation with a disciplined 2-0 win against St Neots at RAF Cranwell on Saturday.

Neil Ireland finds the net for Leadenham First XI EMN-200903-145331002
Neil Ireland finds the net for Leadenham First XI EMN-200903-145331002

A mature first-half performance stopped the visitors creating any clear chances, winning possession back time and again before counter-attacking.

Veteran defender Joe Beedril was man-of-the-match on his maiden First XI appearance of the season, linking well with Neil Baldwin as a centre-back partnership.

A talented St Neots midfielder caused problems, but the efforts of Greg Amess, Ben Huggins and Tom Corbett limited his impact, and in the second half, the hosts continued to impress with their defensive discipline.

Charlie Cade and Joe Beedril defend a short corner against St Neots EMN-200903-145320002

Then they turned the screw on a tiring St Neots defence, and MacAllister opened the scoring with a well-placed slap from the top of the D which squirmed under the keeper’s legs.

Leadenham were soon rewarded with a second, courtesy of Fergus Mack’s crash ball in which Neil Ireland cleverly turned in over the keeper.

Team: T. Pinchbeck, N. Baldwin, J. Beedril, C. Cade (c), F. Mack, B. Huggins, T. Corbett, D. Nelstrop, G. Amess, S. MacAllister, N. Ireland, M. Ortyl, M. Smith.

* Leadenham Ladies First XI deserved more from their trip to Spalding, having controlled the game from the start.

There was great build-up play and passing from the attacking diamond of player-of-the-match Siobhan Croft and Ciara Wright, and wing runners Sophie Gretton and Llinos Jones, and great running up front from Millie Hindmarch and Becks Bennet.

Laura Jacometti and Megan Campbell were solid in defence, while Susan Garrick kept them in the game with some good footwork, but Spalding had an impenetrable back line despite two short corners in quick succession in the second half.

Spalding scored with a slick counter-attack against the run of play and quickly added a second.

Leadenham had a flurry of attacks as Ciara moved higher up the pitch and Millie chased every ball down, but the match finished 2-0.

Team: S. Garrick, L. Jacometti, M. Campbell (c), I. Glaves, A. Jacometti, M. Wright, S. Amess, C. Wright, L. Jones, S. Gretton, M. Hindmarch, B. Bennett, S. Croft, L. Wilkinson.

* Leadenham men’s Third XI had a great 4-1 win against a good Alford Second side but came out on top thanks to Simon Chambers in his first outfield game of the season.

Chambers used all of his experience to find the right place to finish off a well-worked team move and score his first goal of the year.

Further goals came from Stan Mountain who continued his scoring run, Nick Mountain, and Dan Case, before Alford pulled one back.

Finn Adams was man-of-the-match for his mobility and link-up play in midfield.

The result would have seen Leadenham finish third in the league – a fantastic achievement in only their second season.

But Bourne Deepings’ withdrawal with only two games left made all of their past results void, including their two defeats to Leadenham, dropping them to sixth place.

Team: P. Case, O. Down, G. Kinton, P. O. Phillips, P, J. Pearson, F. Adams, S. Mountain, N. Mountain, S. Brown, M. Pearce, C. Gretton, O. Robertson, A. Cade, S. Gretton, D. Case.

* Leadenham would like to thank the umpires and club sponsors Mountains Skip Hire.