HOCKEY: Stuart inspires sensational Spalding double

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Spalding Hockey Club’s top team enjoyed a victory double over the weekend as goal-machine Stuart Cunnington starred with four goals.

On Saturday, Spalding 1st were indebted to their leading scorer after edging out Division 2N rivals Newmarket 1st 4-3 to stay top of the pile.

Man-of-the-match Cunnington netted all three goals as they led 3-2 at half-time, before a Glenn Perkins effort after the break sealed a fourth win from five games.

Spalding were much more impressive 24 hours later and they eased past Norwich Dragons 4-0 in the National Vase.

Perkins and Cunnington gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at Surfleet, before a super solo strike from Russ Watts and James Doolan’s strike rounded off the win.

In Premier B, Long Sutton 1st battled out a 4-4 draw against Letchworth 1st.

In a typical game of two halves, Will Cook, Danny Sisson (2) and Josh Fyson notched to put Sutton 4-1 up at the break. But Letchworth bossed the second half and netted three times to level.

Long Sutton 2nd slipped up in Division 3NW though, as they were beaten 2-0 by City of Peterborough 5th.

But there was better news for Spalding 2nd in Division 4NW. They cruised to a 4-0 success at St Neots 2nd, with Luke Jackson, Christopher Mckenna, Richard Mckenna and Graham Doades the scorers.

Big winners of the weekend were Spalding 3rd, who thrashed City of Peterborough Vets 8-0 in Division 5NW, with Darren Grooby among their scorers.

In the same division, Long Sutton 3rd were handed a 3-1 reverse by Newmarket 2nd.

James Baker had opened the scoring for Sutton.

Down in Division 6NW (N), Spalding 5th earned a 4-2 triumph against Horncastle 2nd.

Matt Day, Sam Sly and Fred Morris (2) grabbed the goals.

It wasn’t such a good day for Spalding 4th in the same division, as they suffered a 4-1 beating at City of Peterborough 9th.

• Long Sutton Ladies’ 1st took the derby bragging rights after edging out Spalding Poachers 1st 1-0 on Saturday.

An early goal proved the difference in the East Women’s League Division 2NW clash at Glen Park as Sutton went second in the table.

The solitary strike was a top team move, with the ball moved slickly between Sarah Walker, Fiona Gray and Hannah Greenacre before falling to Lisa Baker – who made no mistake from close range.

Lorraine Wallis proved unbeatable in the Sutton goal, denying Spalding player of the match Tamika Providence and her team-mates.

Elsewhere, Long Sutton Ladies’ 2nd earned a 1-0 victory over Skegness 1st in Division 3NW (N) to secure their first win of the new campaign.

The only goal came in the second period and had an element of fortune about it. A tireless run and cross into the danger area from young player Georgina Maplethorpe wreaked havoc, with the pace on the ball proving too much for the Skegness defender – who deflected it into her own net.