Ladies’ hockey round-up: Wells hits double as Poachers hold rivals in thriller

An East Women’s Hockey League Division 2NW derby thriller between Spalding Poachers 1st and City of Peterborough 2nd ended in a 3-3 draw on Saturday.

The Spalding ladies knew right from the start that it was going to be a tough game after wave after wave of Peterborough (CoP) attacking play at Glen Park.

The defence of Sally Pilgrim, Charlotte Morris, Ellie Pybus and Jodie Abraham kept them at bay and, when a breakthrough happened, the safe hands of Donna Chester-O’Neill in goal denied them.

However, the relentless CoP attack finally broke the Poachers’ resistance to go 1-0 to the good.

Trying to keep heads held high, Spalding battled back with force as Amy Wells powered straight towards the away goal which had Peterborough on edge.

This period of pressure eventually led to a great team goal, which was scored by Steph Wilson.

The second half saw Poachers take the game to CoP and put their defence under immense pressure. However, the ball soon returned back to Spalding’s defence and the visitors moved back into the lead.

Once again, the Poachers did not let this get them down. They continued the quick, sharp passing and the ball was soon in the Peterborough half heading towards goal. A slick pass from Ellie Holland saw Wells slap it straight into the back of the goal.

Spalding were now hungry for another goal and a loose pass back saw Wells get in one-on-one with the keeper before skilfully placing it round her pads to give the hosts a 3-2 lead.

It wasn’t to be the winning goal, however, as a reverse shot by a CoP attacker into the corner of the goal made it 3-3 – meaning the sides had to settle for a point.

Elsewhere in Division 2NW, Long Sutton ladies’ 1st were held to a 2-2 draw by Alford 1st.

Player-of-the-match Connie Gittins and Jo Bland netted for Sutton at the Peele Leisure Centre – but they stay three points behind second-placed CoP 2nd.

In Division 3NW, Spalding 2nd pulled off a very impressive 4-3 victory at high-flying Ely City 1st thanks to a last-gasp Eva Keyes effort. Emma Gent gave the Poachers an early lead, before Alanna “AJ” Bunyan doubled their advantage with a wonderful effort.

In true form, Ely came back with two goals of their own to level things up at the break, before moving ahead early in the second period following a penalty flick.

Undeterred, Spalding’s third goal came from Sam Foston, who managed a cheeky reverse strike.

More drama was to follow as Spalding won a short corner and Keyes took her golden chance to get the last goal of the game and secure a super success.

Meanwhile, the youthful Spalding Poachers 3rd suffered a 2-0 defeat at table-topping Bourne Deeping 2nd in Division 4NW (N). With over half of the team playing their first season of league hockey, this was a great performance from the girls who continue to improve week by week.

A couple of goals either side of half time clinched victory for the hosts but Spalding can take great heart from their performance.

Also in 4NW (N), Long Sutton ladies’ 2nd lost 3-1 at home to Woodhall Spa despite Hannah Baker’s consolation strike.

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