Depleted Spalding 1st picked up a 5-3 win at struggling Felixstowe on Saturday to keep their East Men’s Hockey League Premier B promotion hopes very much on track.
Despite missing a host of players, third-placed Spalding were soon ahead when Stuart Cunnington drilled home a short corner.
They continued to dominate for long periods and two more strikes from top scorer Cunnington rounded off a first-half hat-trick, before the hosts pulled a goal back before the interval.
Tom Everton clinched the win for Spalding with a second-half brace and, although Felixstowe bagged two late goals, they held firm to move within two points of second-placed Norwich City – with a game in hand.
In Division One, Long Sutton’s recent poor form continued as they went down 1-0 at Harleston Magpies 2nd – who are one of the five teams below them in the table.
After a goalless first period, Sutton came under heavy pressure after the interval.
The visitors withstood the barrage as well as they could, with man-of-the-match James Cliff in goal keeping the ball out time after time.
However, Harleston finally beat Cliff when they scored the only goal of the game from a rebound.
And, despite Sutton cranking up the pressure in the final 15 minutes, they couldn’t find a leveller.
In Division 3NW, a poor first half cost Spalding 2nd dear as they went down 3-1 to fellow league strugglers Leadenham.
As far as Spalding were concerned the game was pretty much over before it started as they were 3-0 down at the break.
Despite a stronger second half performance Spalding were unable to undo the damage of the first half and were only able to pull one goal back through Pete Wright.
Down in Division 6NW (N), Spalding 5th exacted revenge on South Holland rivals Long Sutton 3rd with a 3-0 derby win.
The opener came midway through the first half when Sean O’Leary ran through into the D, span his opponent and played a sublime pass across the area to Bailey Harker to fire a sweet strike into the far corner.
Goal number two came from a penalty flick after Alex Cunnington’s strike was stopped by a foot – allowing Harker to net his second of the afternoon.
Not done there, good work between Tim Amess, Danny Dorey and Andy Barlow led to the latter firing the ball into the danger zone for Jack Martin to lash home.
- Spalding Poachers 1st made it three East Women’s League Division 2NW wins on the spin by beating second-placed Cambs City 3rd 2-1 at Glen Park on Saturday.
Following a goalless first half, the visitors took the lead early in the second half.
But Poachers levelled when Kelly Slator turned home a Karen Timby short corner strike.
Fired up, Spalding then played some of their best hockey of the season with Charlotte Boreham and Macy Carr linking particularly well.
A series of short corners were forced and a crisp strike from Timby was deflected high into the net by a Cambs stick for the deciding goal just five minutes from time.
With some determined defending, the home side saw out the closing stages for a well-earned victory.
However, Spalding Poachers 2nd slipped to a 4-3 loss against Cambs City 4th in the other clash between the two clubs down in Division 3NW.
Having fallen behind early on, Eva Keyes hit back to get Spalding on level terms as they sought a league double over their opponents.
Cambs hit back again, but AJ Bunyan’s strike and then an absolute corker from young Grace Hodgett put the visitors 3-2 ahead.
Spalding then suffered three disrupting injuries and eventually succumbed 4-3, with the winner being a beautiful reverse stick.