Round-up of the weekend action from Spalding Hockey Club
Charlotte Maplethorpe and Mia Dewing both struck five goals each as Spalding Ladies recorded their ninth consecutive win on Saturday.
Harriet Mowbray and player-of the-match Sally Pilgrim were also on target in the 12-0 victory over Cambridge University 3s to keep Spalding top of East League Division 2NW.
After a bit of a slow start, Spalding soon found their stride when Charlotte Maplethorpe opened up the scoring and shortly after assisted Mowbray who put the hosts up to 2-0.
Dewing soon put herself on the scoresheet, scoring from a well worked short corner, and Charlotte Maplethorpe also added a further three more goals in the first half.
Just before half-time, Spalding brought up defender Pilgrim to take a short corner and she netted her first goal for several season with a wonderful strike that gave them a 7-0 advantage at the break.
Cambridge Uni came out stronger in the second half, testing Abby Hodgett in goal who made some great saves and managed to keep another clean sheet for Spalding.
Some great play out from the back and hard work in the midfield enabled Spalding to keep increasing the score.
Charlotte Maplethorpe netted her fifth goal and Dewing continued to rack up the goals, scoring four more in the second half, one of which was a penalty stroke won by Ellie Holland.
Spalding 2nds lost ground at the top of the Division 3NW after a 3-1 away reversal at second-placed Kettering.
After a miscommunicated first push back from Spalding, Kettering took advantage of an early sideline ball which progressed to them winning a penalty corner in the first few minutes.
Spalding were unable to keep the ball out of the goal and found themselves 1-0 down.
Not to be perturbed, Spalding attacked hard in the middle and managed to send the ball into the opposition’s half for much of the game.
Player of the match Maisie Foden worked tirelessly alongside Karen Timby in central midfield.
With a slight change to their formation this week, Spalding struggled to find players in the D to convert passes into goals.
Eventually, the ever-impressive Erin McMurray moved around the goal area and found herself in the perfect position to receive the ball by the left of the goal. She then effortlessly swept the ball into the bottom right had side of the net.
Spalding continued to battle against what felt like end-to-end and side-to-side play on the pitch.
Kettering converted yet another penalty corner into a goal as it bounced off a Spalding defender’s stick and through the legs of their keeper.
Captain Zoe Moore was unlucky to receive a green card following a string of offences from both teams.
After some quick restructuring by Timby, Spalding were able to hold the score in the absence of their 11th player.
But, using the same routine for yet another penalty corner, Kettering scored their third and final goal.
Sophie Smith remained calm and strong throughout the game and even moved to centre-back briefly to hold the defensive line.
Despite the loss, Spalding remained positive and enthusiastic to convert the loss to a win with the return game at Glen Park.
Spalding 3rds are still seeking their first win of the Division 3NW campaign after a 7-1 home reversal against Huntingdon.
The Spalding side began well and thought they would be able to grab a point as they seemed to be passing the ball around comfortably.
However, a very strong Huntingdon side attacked creatively and were able to able to slip past the defence to score two quick goals.
Unfortunately for Huntingdon a head injury was sustained but this seemed to make them more determined.
At half time, manager Tim Maltby encouraged the Spalding side to utilise what they had practised as he and captain Charlotte Morris recognised all the talent within their team.
The youngsters worked hard up and down the pitch and changed positions especially after a few of the experienced members sustained injuries.
Midfielder and player of the match Sophie Wilson demonstrated strength and control in the game and linked nicely with booster Stephanie Wilson and forward Alex Petty who struck a corker to get Spalding off the mark.
As always, all the team worked hard as Spalding had a few more chances but Huntingdon were just too good and continued to tap the goals in leaving the side 7-1 down.
Spalding surged into top spot in Division One North after a 3-2 victory over title rivals Harleston Magpies in an epic contest.
They started off strongly with a flurry of quick decisive passes which quickly led to a goal from Jacob Baker that was slotted home after dribbling dangerous past two of the Magpie players.
Spalding straight away piled on the pressure again with hunger and desire to bag another goal which was rewarded after Sam Sly played a smooth aerial down the right-hand side of the pitch.
It was picked up precisely by Higgins who fired the ball into Joe Rogers who turned and slotted it away neatly.
Again relentless, Spalding wanted more, battering the Magpies’ defence and the ball was scrambled in the D which soon was rewarded with a penalty stroke.
James Mayhew stepped up and fired the ball into the top corner of the net, solidifying Spalding’s lead going into half-time.
After a few firm words of wisdom from coach Grahame Allen, Spalding started the second half with their foot off the gas after a blistering start.
The Magpies started to berate Spalding with quick passes and speed which unfortunately led to two goals in quick succession.
However, the Spalding defence held the line with some stunning saves from Nathan Davey in goal.
Down to a nail-biting last minute, Spalding conceded a short corner giving Magpies a last-ditch attempt at goal.
However, once again, the Spalding defence was resilient and the attempt was saved after a blistering block from Will Baker.
The men's second team match against Cambridge City Veterans was postponed.
Spalding 4ths remain among the leading pack in Division 4NW after a 4-1 home win over Kettering 3rds in the late match at Glen Park.
After a delayed start to the game, the first 25 minutes were a closely contested affair with both teams playing well in the midfield.
Spalding had more shooting opportunities but were just unable to convert while good defensive play from Dean Crookell, David Dorey, Chris Grooby and Harry Maplethorpe kept the Kettering attackers at bay, reducing them to only a couple of short corners and shots on goal that was ably dealt with by Steve Thurlbourne.
After 25 minutes the pressure of Spalding’s attack showed and, after being awarded a short corner, it was well converted by Tiago Read.
The Kettering defence slipped at this point and a trademark Aaron Scholes run from the right wing was crossed into the D, slipped by Jack Martin to Ben Scholes who expertly dispatched his one-touch finish into the bottom corner.
Only two minutes had passed before Spalding had another goal - a quickly taken sideline ball from Dave Burrell to Harry Naylor who found a pass through the defence to the near post where Martin was on hand to slip it into the gap between keeper and post for a 3-0 lead at half-time.
The second half began the same as the first with both teams having good spells of possession and several short corners for each side.
Kettering were the first to take advantage of the short corners with a well worked slip to the left, dispatched into the roof of the net, not leaving the Spalding defence a chance of stopping it.
This sparked something in Spalding and they won another short corner where Matthew McManamon-Cookson steped up and took advantage of a loose ball to slot home and make it 4-1.
The Spalding defence and midfield of Tim Amess, Jason Naylor, Willem Borst and Charlie Smith were strong and stood up well to the Kettering attack, constantly starting the counter-attacks as the score stayed at 4-1.
It was a strong performance by the Spalding team with some great passing moves.
Spalding 5ths kept top spot in Division 6NW despite losing their 100 per cent record in a 1-1 draw with City of Peterborough 8ths.
Spalding had won 4-0 in the earlier meeting this season between the two sides and were the stronger team in the first half, capitalising on the poor defensive positioning of the other team with a goal.
A strong hit from the right of the goal was deflected into the goal by Liam Fravigar.
Spalding had momentum and had the bulk of the opportunities but didn’t manage to make anything more before the end of the half.
The second half began to slow and Peterborough began to press, looking to level the game.
In the dying seconds of the game, a green card and a short corner gave Peterborough a chance at getting a share of the points.
Oscar Haunch made a good save from the first shot, but was beaten as a second effort went in to leave Spalding disheartened as the match ended level.