HOCKEY: Sutton smash rivals for six to seal title

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A devastating display saw Long Sutton 2nd rout nearest rivals Bourne/Deeping 2nd 6-1 on Saturday to clinch the East Men’s Hockey League Division 4NW title in style.

With both sides already promoted, the penultimate game of the season was essentially a championship shoot-out – and Sutton didn’t disappoint.

Ben Shore settled any lingering nerves with a close-range opener, before laying on the second for Nick Bailey, who nutmegged the keeper from a tight angle.

The next goal was Sutton’s 100th of the season – and Bailey’s 40th. Jeremy Watt, Andrew Shore, Ben Shore were all involved in the build-up, before the leading scorer fired a rocket home.

Bourne/Deeping pulled one back from a penalty flick, but a further strike from Bailey and two more from Ben Shore saw the duo complete their respective hat-tricks and tie up the league title.

Captain Matt Holmes said: “What can I say? We set out for promotion at the start of the season, which we have achieved – but winning the league is the icing on the cake.

“The youngsters in the team have improved immensely this season and worked for each other on and off the pitch. As a captain and a player it’s been an honour to be part of this great team. Bring on Division Three.”

Elsewhere, Spalding 1st battled out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Harleston Magpies 3rd in Division 2N. Goals from Dave Burrell, Russ Watts and a late Stu Cunnington strike sealed the point.

There was a nine-goal thriller between club rivals Spalding 2nd and Spalding 3rd in Division 4NW, with the 2nds running out 5-4 victors.

Pete Wright and Glenn Perkins put the 2nds 2-0 ahead early on, only for Tim Maltby to pull one back before the break. Perkins added a further two and Graham Doades one as the 2nds hit a purple patch and moved into a 5-1 lead, but Ryan Mountney, Joe Rogers and Maltby all netted to set up a frantic finale.

In East Women’s League, Long Sutton Ladies’ 1st saw their expected relegation from Division 1N confirmed with a 6-0 beating against champions Harleston Magpies 2nd on the final day of the season.

Long Sutton Ladies’ 2nd also completed their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Louth 2nd in Lincolnshire Women’s Hockey League.

Retiring skipper Lisa Baker fired Sutton ahead, but they were pegged back and finished with their first draw of the season.

Meanwhile, Spalding Poachers 2nd climbed up to seventh in Cambs Ladies’ League Premier Division after producing a stirring fightback to draw 2-2 with St Ives 2nd. Trailing 2-0 in the second half, Poachers pulled one back when Karen Breen smacked home a short corner, before Helen Jex slotted the equaliser with seconds remaining.