Spalding Poachers 1st warmed up for this weekend’s East Women’s Hockey League Division 2N derby with Long Sutton 1st by beating Cambridge Nomads 1st 4-1 on Saturday.
Poachers started much the better with Maddie Haunch in fine form, but they missed plenty of chances and fell behind.
However, with plenty of skill and pace upfront from both Charlotte and Georgina Maplethorpe, more chances were created and eventually a short corner was won and firmly put away by captain Karen Timby, making it 1-1 at the half-time break.
After the interval a fantastic through ball from Timby saw Charlotte Maplethorpe add to her season’s tally, before two further goals secured the points for Poachers.
A short corner routine fell to Mia Dewing who calmly dispatched the finish for 3-1, before a long ball by Evie Maltby found Georgina Maplethorpe – who finished in style to round off the scoring.
Player of the match was Jess Ball for her determination and composure in midfield throughout the game.
Meanwhile, Long Sutton 1st prepared for the derby with a superb 0-0 draw against previously perfect leaders Cambridge South 1st at the Peele Leisure Centre.
South came out of the blocks quickly and won numerous short corners – but never really threatened with Maisie Sullivan running one magnificently to not give them time to get their routines done.
To a player, Sutton continued to work extremely hard in the second half, but were again pushed back.
South continued to win short corners and up stepped a drag-flicker to try her luck at making the breakthrough, but anything that beat the resolute Sutton defence found an even more resolute keeper in player-of-the-match Lorraine Wallis.
Sixth-placed Sutton go into Saturday’s home derby (1pm) ten points behind Spalding in third.
In Division 3NW, Spalding Poachers 2nd picked up a 2-2 draw at Cambridge City 5th.
Trailling 1-0 at half time, Sam Maltby levelled for Spalding when she slotted home AJ Bunyan’s effort near to the post.
Poachers fell behind again soon after, but Eva Keyes secured a point for her side with a fierce finish four minutes from time.
Meanwhile, Spalding Poachers 3rd romped to a 7-2 victory over Spilsby.
Terri Bateman (2), Maisie Foden (2), Amy Naylor, Kelly Tizzano and Kate Amess got the goals for Spalding as they went sixth in the standings.
In the same division, Long Sutton ladies’ 2nd picked up a battling 0-0 draw at Alford 2nd.
Highly-skilled keeper Emily Braginton in goal showed her quality, while Imogen Cooper claimed the player of the match prize.
Saturday fixtures: Division 2NW – Long Sutton 1st v Spalding Poachers 1st (1pm). Division 4NW (N) – Alford 2nd v Spalding Poachers 3rd (2pm); Long Sutton 2nd v March Town 1st (11.30am).