HOCKEY: Stu shrugs off knock to fire Spalding clear

VITAL VICTORY: Spalding 2nd's Joe Higgins is pictured during Saturday's  3-1 win over City of Peterborough 2nd. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG091113-116TW
VITAL VICTORY: Spalding 2nd's Joe Higgins is pictured during Saturday's 3-1 win over City of Peterborough 2nd. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG091113-116TW
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Spalding 1st raced five points clear at the top of East Men’s Hockey League Division 2N with an impressive 3-0 victory at nearest rivals Cambridge City 3rd on Saturday.

Both sides had lost just once in seven matches before the clash – and Spalding were dealt a massive blow before the start when leading scorer Stuart Cunnington was injured in the warm-up.

With Brendan Morris also missing the visitors had to re-jig their line-up, but Cunnington soon returned after his pain-killers kicked in to open the scoring with a trademark drag flick.

Cunnington made it 2-0 in the 44th minute from a penalty corner, before Tom Wilson intercepted a pass across the back, went past the last defender and skilfully rounded the keeper before finishing on the reverse.

Elsewhere, Long Sutton 1st saw off Crostyx 1st 4-1 in Premier B. Danny Sisson’s early goal was cancelled out by a leveller before the break, but he notched twice more after the break to complete a treble.

Josh Fyson added the fourth with a reverse stick rocket to move Sutton into mid-table.

Spalding 2nd were also on winning form in Division 4NW to stay clear at the top.

They defeated promotion rivals City of Peterborough 6th 3-1 at Glen Park, with Peter Wright (2) and Glenn Perkins netting the goals.

There was another clash between title rivals in Division 3NW, but Long Sutton 2nd were edged out 3-2 by second-placed Cambs South 1st.

The away side were 3-0 up at half time, but Adam Wiles netted twice after the break to set up a grand-stand finish.

Spalding 3rd are sitting pretty in second place in Division 5NW after thrashing hosts Bourne/Deeping 4th 6-1.

Tom Shinkins, Steve Rogers, Tim Maltby, Butcher and Peter Gray (2) were all on target to make it five wins from six games for Spalding.

In Division 6NW (N), Spalding 5th could only draw 1-1 at basement boys Leadenham 5th after being hampered by travel problems.

They started with just nine players and had a Sam Sly strike to thank for their point, which leaves them two points behind the leaders.

Spalding 4th also picked up a 1-1 draw in the same division, this time against Grantham 1st.Keith Stennett was their scorer at Glen Park.

Also in Division 6NW (N), Long Sutton 4th continued the trend with a 1-1 scoreline against Bourne/Deeping 5th.

They had led for most of the game through an Ian White strike, but shipped a late short corner goal.