Charlotte Maplethorpe helped herself to a hat-trick as Spalding Poachers 1st beat rivals Bourne Deeping 1st 3-2 on Saturday.
With the fierce rivals having plenty of history, it was always going to be a fiery East Women’s Hockey League Division 2NW clash at Arthur Mellows.
Spalding started well, with Maplethorpe dribbling past the keeper and slotting in the first goal not long after the start.
The hosts then equalised, but Poachers showed some resilience and went back ahead just before the break when Maplethorpe chipped a great pass from Ellie Holland over the keeper.
Bourne Deeping hit back to level the scoring early in the second period – and only solid defending from Sally Pilgrim and Mia Dewing stopped them getting their noses ahead.
That set the stage for Holland to feed Maplethorpe for her hat-trick goal and the clincher, which keeps Spalding in the top three.
There was also a show-stealing performance from Connie Gittins as Long Sutton 1st won 3-0 at Cambridge Nomads 1st in the same division.
Gittins grabbed all three goals for sixth-placed Sutton, who are just two points off Spalding.
In Division 4NW (N), Spalding 3rd suffered a 3-1 loss at Louth 2nd. Lisa Dean got their goal.
Long Sutton ladies’ 2nd lost 6-0 at home to Leadenham 1st.
Saturday fixtures: Division 2NW – Spalding 1st v Cambridge Nomads 1st (12.30pm); Long Sutton 1st v Cambridge South 1st (1pm). Division 3NW – Cambridge City 5th v Spalding 2nd (3pm). Division 4NW – Spalding 3rd v Spilsby 1st (11am).