HOCKEY: Kate’s an ace goal Poacher

Goal-den season: Kate Woolley hit 31 goals in 16 games for Spalding Poachers 2nd, who are pictured below.
Goal-den season: Kate Woolley hit 31 goals in 16 games for Spalding Poachers 2nd, who are pictured below.
0
Have your say

WHAT a season Kate Woolley and Spalding Poachers 2nd have had.

Goal-machine Woolley smashed an incredible 31 goals as her invincible side won all 16 of their Cambridgeshire Ladies’ Hockey League fixtures to clinch the title at a canter.

Perfect season: Spalding Poachers 2nd won all 16 of their league games this season. Back ' Kirsty Goodale, Eve Keyes, Jo Shinkin, Charlotte Hobday, Leanne Pick, Kate Woolley, Abby Cook and Paige Bell. Front (from left) ' Nicola Bradley, Kelly Varley, Sam Campbell, Alison Wild and Sam Maltby.  Photo (to order call 01775 765433): SG190311-06MD (MIKE DAVISON)

Perfect season: Spalding Poachers 2nd won all 16 of their league games this season. Back ' Kirsty Goodale, Eve Keyes, Jo Shinkin, Charlotte Hobday, Leanne Pick, Kate Woolley, Abby Cook and Paige Bell. Front (from left) ' Nicola Bradley, Kelly Varley, Sam Campbell, Alison Wild and Sam Maltby. Photo (to order call 01775 765433): SG190311-06MD (MIKE DAVISON)

Only formed over the summer, the new-look Poachers looked destined for a long year after losing their first pre-season friendly.

But their mixture of youth and experience has gelled together perfectly under the guidance of influential skipper Nicola Bradley, with red-hot Woolley leading the way in attack.

Indeed, the only blemish on the Spalding ace’s golden season was her failure to score against City of Peterborough 4th last weekend – having notched in each and every one of her previous 15 league outings.

“I just got so worked up, everyone was talking about my record and I couldn’t get that goal,” recalled the 19-year-old hot-shot.

“I guess my luck ran out, but it’s been a great season for the team. It would have been nice to score in every game though.”

Woolley’s prolific campaign will come as a surprise to some – as just two years ago she was being deployed in a more defensive role for the Poachers’ first team.

She switched to attack last season after agreeing to skipper what is now Spalding’s third team and hasn’t looked back since.

And although she has designs on one day returning to the club’s premier side, it’s unlikely the goal-getter will be on defensive duty.

Woolley added: “It’s been great playing for this team. Our captain Nicola Bradley has played university hockey and is very level-headed. She deserves much more credit than me! I would like to play in the first team again, but they have a really settled side. Whatever happens I enjoy playing in attack more than defence now.”

Poachers finished with a devastating return of 88 goals in their 16 league matches, shipping just five. They signed off the league schedule with a 2-0 triumph over COP, which will lead them nicely into a cup final date on April 9.

First-half goals from Sam Campbell and Alison Wild secured the points, as Spalding clinched a 15th clean sheet of the campaign.

As for Woolley, she was left to reflect on her goal against Ely Ladies the week before. The cheeky flicked finish was the pick of her 31 for the season.

Talk about saving the best until last. Well, almost last.