Spalding 1st suffered a 6-3 defeat at Letchworth 1st in their first-ever game in East Men’s Hockey League Premier A on Saturday.
Having secured back-to-back promotions, Spalding always knew stepping up to the league’s highest level would be tough – but they gave a decent account of themselves.
This Saturday sees them host Bedworth at Glen Park (11.30am).
Also beginning with a loss were Long Sutton 1st, who went down 6-3 at East London 1st in Division One.
Josh Fyson grabbed a double for Sutton, including a short corner strike that put them 1-0 up, with Luke Jackson the other scorer.
Andrew Shore was their man-of-the-match, while Jamie Featherstone was yellow carded late on.
In Divsion 3NW, both Spalding 2nd and Spalding 3rd suffered hefty beatings.
The 2nd side were handed a 5-0 reverse by Bourne/Deeping 2nd but still felt they could take plenty of positives into their next game against Leadenham.
Meanwhile, Spalding 3rd went down 6-1 at St Neots 1st.
Four well-taken short corners and a penalty stroke flattered a St Neots a little, in what was a closer contest than the score suggests.
Spalding’s solitary goal came early in the second period when Chris McKenna’s well-struck cross was deflected home by Dave Burrell.
With the score 3-1 at that point, they piled on the pressure before three St Neots goals in the last seven minutes settled the clash.
Another side making a losing start were Long Sutton 2nd in Division 4NW.
They were soundly beaten 7-3 at rivals Wisbech 2nd, with both sides having been relegated last term.
Will White scored a cracker after beating two defenders and slotting home, while Ben Smith and Gary Hales also netted.
There was a win for Spalding 4th, who edged out St Ives 3rd 2-1 in Division 5NW thanks to a last-gasp strike from Frazer Watt.
St Ives led 1-0 at half-time, but Spalding grabbed an equaliser through the ever industrious Ben Scholes – setting the stage for Watt to drive into the area late on.
His cross-shot took a deflection and ended up in the corner of the goal with 20 seconds remaining to give Spalding the points.
Down in Division 6NW (N), Spalding 5th slipped to a 4-1 defeat at expected title challengers Leadenham 2nd.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, Matt Wingate did score a penalty flick for Spalding, while debutant Matt Gedney was man of the match.
Newly-formed Spalding 6th, meanwhile, were beaten 2-1 by City Of Peterborough 8th on their debut.
Long Sutton 3rd fared much better, beating Louth 2nd 4-1.
- Spalding Poachers 1st made a flying start to the new East Women’s Hockey League Division 2NW season as they won 3-0 at Cambridge Nomads. Macy Carr, Caroline Chester-O’Neill and Karen Timby got the goals.
Also winning 3-0 in the same division were Long Sutton ladies’ 1st, who saw off visitors Wisbech 2nd.
Player of the match Charlene Leuty notched a double for Sutton, with Lyn Tancred the other scorer.
In Division 3NW, Spalding Poachers 2nd were handed a 5-0 walkover win by Bury St Edmunds 3rd.
That scoreline was emulated by Spalding Poachers 3rd in Division 4NW (N), who romped to a home triumph over Louth 2nd.
The goals came from Lauren Spencely, Laura Panton, Codie O’Leary, Issabelle Whitehead and Frances Dalton.