HOCKEY: Spalding plotting the great escape

Stuart Cunnington scores for Spalding

Spalding men’s first team have finally recorded their opening win in the top flight.

They beat Chelmsford 4-3 at Glen Park on Saturday thanks to Josh Rowbottom, Stuart Cunnington, Michael Morris and an own goal.

Photos by Tim Wilson

Facing a strong side which included double Olympian Glenn Kirkham, Spalding knew this was going to be a tough game and took a little while to settle.

Rowbottom opened the scoring from close range on 20 minutes before the visitors levelled the scores going into the break.

Spalding went ahead again with a chest height deflection from Cunnington which eluded the keeper.

Morris increased the lead with his first touch with a deft lob over the stranded keeper following some neat work by Matt Day.

Spalding v Chelmsford

However, with 15 minutes still on the clock, the visitors pushed harder and grabbed one back.

The pressure was on the Spalding defence and heartbreak came when Chelmsford found the equaliser with just two minutes remaining.

However, unlike recent performances, Spalding went for the jugular with nothing to lose and Will Baker made a neat pass across goal which went into the net off a defender.

They were beaten 6-3 at Bedford on Sunday, though, and remain bottom of the table.

Spalding host Blueharts next Saturday in a must-win game if the great escape and survival in Premier A is going to happen.

Meanwhile, the ladies first team drew 1-1 against Cambridge Nomads.

Karen Timby levelled from a penalty short corner.

Spalding under-16 boys won 10-0 against Ashby in the England Hockey Tier Two Championships Area Finals.

Max Bland started the ball rolling with a neatly-taken goal in the fifth minute and skipper Jacob Baker added to the tally just two minutes later.

George Halgarth outwitted the defence to add a third and Bland notched a couple more to complete his hat-trick.

A fantastic strike from James Mayhew was followed by another neat finish from Halgarth.

Bland returned to score a quickfire treble and take his tally to six for the day.

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