HOCKEY: Poachers progress after Vase thriller

Tight tussle: Match action from Long Sutton 2nd's win over Spalding 2nd. Photos by TIM WILSON
Tight tussle: Match action from Long Sutton 2nd's win over Spalding 2nd. Photos by TIM WILSON
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Spalding Poaches 1st 5 Leighton Buzzard 1st 4: POACHERS stormed into the last 16 of the England Hockey Vase with this thrilling Sunday success.

The away side took an early lead at Surfleet, but Roz Dennis’ impressive and skilful stick work laid on a leveller for Jacqui Hunter.

Tight tussle: Match action from Long Sutton 2nd's derby win over Spalding 2nd. Photos by TIM WILSON

Tight tussle: Match action from Long Sutton 2nd's derby win over Spalding 2nd. Photos by TIM WILSON

Kelly Slater then scored her first after an assist from Naomi Smith, but Leighton Buzzard pulled one back to pull level at half time.

After the break Spalding were awarded two short corners, with Smith and Dennis scoring one each.

Poachers’ fifth goal came when Nic Bradley’s 16-yard hit found Karen Timby, who passed the ball to Slater to score.

Buzzard pulled two back, but Spalding held on to book a home tie with Loughborough Town or Bloxwich.

HUNTINGDON 1st 3

SPALDING POACHERS 1st 4

POACHERS made a stunning start to 2011 on Saturday after an extended winter break.

From an early short corner player of the match Naomi Smith calmly struck a beautiful opener.

Huntingdon levelled, but Lou Southgate slotted Spalding back into the lead.

Again Huntingdon were quick to respond with a miss-hit that bounced into the goal, only for the unmarked Kelly Slator to fire Poachers ahead again.

Remarkably the hosts restored parity with seconds remaining in the first half, but they couldn’t recover from Jacqui Hunter’s super strike in the second period.

SPALDING POACHERS 2nd 4

RUTLAND 1st 0

A SUPER second half sealed a comfortable win for Spalding.

After a goalless first period, Karen Thorold fired Poachers into the lead.

Nic Bradley got the second after a short corner, before Helen Jex got on the scoresheet following an impressive dive.

LONG SUTTON 1st 1

WISBECH 1st 4

CLINICAL Wisbech saw off improving Sutton.

Full backs Josh Fyson and Jamie Featherstone were prominent early on, as Sutton started well.

Danny Sissons forcing the visiting keeper into an early save, but it was Wisbech that opened the scoring.

They then doubled their advantage with a back-post tap in.

A foul from Sutton keeper Jake Loweth saw them add to their tally from the resultant penalty, before Sutton pulled a goal back through Gary Hales.

But Wisbech then added a fourth to make the final score convincing.

HARLESTON MAGPIES 3rd 3

SPALDING 1st 1

CONTROVERSIAL umpiring cost Spalding dear in this defeat.

Harleston took an early lead from a contentious flick, before skipper James Doolan saw a goal ruled out as an umpire awarded a free to Spalding - which was missed.

To rub salt in, the Magpies extended their lead soon after.

Spalding rallied and Dan Shardlow slotted home after just 90 seconds of the second half. Stuart Perkins then equalised - only for the umpires to rule the goal out for a bizarre infringement.

In keeping with the game, Harleston then broke away and scored a decisive final goal.

SPALDING 2nd 0

LONG SUTTON 2nd 1

A SOLITARY strike handed Sutton the derby spoils.

Although Spalding dominated this game from the start and restricted Sutton to two chances all game, it was Sutton who took the lead with a breakaway goal.

Thereafter they defended resolutely to hang on and take the points.

ALFORD 1st 11

SPALDING 3rd 1

AFTER finishing the first half of the season unbeaten, Spalding came crashing back down to earth.

Both teams played end to end hockey, Alford’s striker - who bagged ten out of the 11 goals - was the main difference.

Paul Briggs slotted home for Spalding at the end of the first half.

BOSTON 2nd 10

SPALDING 4th 3

BOSTON outplayed out-of-sorts Spalding.

Spalding conceded eight goals in the first half and the only highlight for the visitors was a single goal, which was expertly created from an enterprising run by Julian Higgins and finished by James Lowson.

Spalding gave a better account of themselves in the second half, scoring twice more through Darren Wilson and Will O’Donovan, while restricting Boston to just two more goals.

SPALDING 5th 2

HORNCASTLE 2nd 6

THIS game was closer than the score suggests.

Spalding went 2-0 down after 16 minutes, but good play from midfield saw Lewis Ratcliff pull one back.

After the break it took two minutes for Ratcliff to draw Spalding level - and Horncastle were rattled.

However, a late spell of four goals in seven minutes left Spalding shell-shocked.

LONG SUTTON 4th 2

LEADENHAM 1st 1

AT long last the Sutton’s efforts were rewarded with a victory.

Sutton’s blend of youth and experience fully deserved this reverse of the drubbing they received on the season’s opening day.

Simon Clarke and Stefan Fox were outstanding, but Sutton trailed at the interval thanks to a well-worked short corner.

In the second half the home team’s superior desire came to the fore, with raking long passes from Tom Gant and Calvin Bishop exposing Leadenham’s defence and allowing Ed White and Lee Cousins to run at the retreating visiting cover.

Fox was on hand twice to finish off right wing crosses and claim his side’s first victory of the season.

BOURNE LADIES 1st 1

LONG SUTTON LADIES 1st 3

SUTTON kept their unbeaten record intact with this fine win.

The away side started well, but mid-way through the first half Bourne broke and managed to put away an easy goal.

Lachan Reed came close in the latter stages of the first half with a fantastic run and reverse shot, before a a well-worked short between Holly Naismith, Ali Hobson and Mel Ludlam levelled the scores after the break.

A reverse shot from Lisa Baker then gave Sutton the lead, before Amy Kirkham sealed the win with a slotted finish.