Flawless Spalding 4th have reached the midway stage of the East Men’s Hockey League Division 6NW (N) season with a perfect record after thrashing Alford 2nd 7-1 on Saturday.
The table-toppers, who have scored 63 times and conceded just six times en-route to nine wins from as many matches, regularly field as many as seven young players in their side, too.
Despite missing several seniors again, the young lads put in another dominant performance with Shaun Dewing popping in a hat-trick of short corners.
Max Bland, Darren Willson and James Mayhew found the net too as Spalding built up their lead, while young Bailey Harker was on hand to tuck home the seventh goal on his fourth team debut.
Up in Premier B, it didn’t quite go as well for another table-topping Spalding side.
The men’s 1st side were beaten 4-3 by third-placed Norwich and slide down two places in the standings as a result.
With some seriously fast forwards in their ranks, Norwich always looked dangerous on the break.
They duly went ahead with a crisp short corner strike, but Spalding were soon back on level terms with a trademark Stuart Cunnington short corner.
Norwich opened the second half strongly and were soon back in the lead. But, once again, Spalding bounced back and Michael Morris tucked home the equaliser from close range.
Following a home purple patch it was no surprise when they took the lead for the first time through Tom Everton.
That looked to be game over with five minutes left, but an outstanding break and finish from Norwich levelled the scores at 3-3.
Worse was to follow, as a refreshed-looking away side grabbed a winner with two minutes left to play.
Spalding 1st were back in action on Sunday as they battled out an amazing 5-5 draw with mid-table Cambridge Uni 2nd.
Under the cosh for much of the first period, hosts Spalding went in 2-0 down at half time at Glen Park.
However, an early goal from captain Josh Rowbottom and a leveller from Cunnington revitalised the hosts at 2-2.
Two Glenn Richardson strikes put the rampant Spalding lads 4-2 up, but the visitors bounced back and –in the space of ten minutes – added three short corner goals to give them a 5-4 lead.
Cunnington, returning from a yellow card, fiercely dragged home an equaliser, but Spalding couldn’t find the winner that would have boosted their title hopes.
In Division 3NW, it was an all Spalding affair as the 2nd side beat the 3rd team 1-0.
The breakthrough came towards the end of the first half as James Stone’s shot was saved by Nathan Davy – only for the ball to break to Glenn Perkins, who lifted the ball into the net from close range.
Stone hit the backboard in the second period too, but it was ruled out for an earlier infringement.
Back in Division 6NW (N) Spalding 5th enjoyed a 5-2 success over Louth 2nd to stay in the top four.
Alex Cunnington and Thomas Scuffham netted early on as ten-man Louth were punished, but a goal before the break gave them hope at 2-1.
That soon became 2-2 early in the second period, but Alex Cunnington’s second restored the Spalding lead.
Jack Martin then flicked home number four, before Tom Amess sped down the wing and teed up that man Martin to net again.