Long Sutton 3rd pulled off one of the biggests shocks of the East Men’s Hockey League season so far as they ended the unbeaten run of Division 5NW leaders Cambridge City Vets on Saturday.
Unbeaten for a whopping four years – including 11-back-to-back league wins this term – the leaders were stunned 4-3 by an under-strength Sutton side toiling towards the foot.
An amazing solo strike from player-of-the-match Ed White put Sutton ahead, but they were pegged back to 1-1 at half time.
Harry Thorpe then put hosts Sutton ahead at both 2-1 and 3-2, before Cambridge levelled for a third time.
However, six minutes from time a deflected effort from the appropriately named Gary Hales put the home team ahead for a fourth time – before the heavens opened and a storm saw the match declared over two minutes early by the umpires.
Up in Division 2N, relentless Spalding 1st continued their charge towards the title with a second 7-0 success on the bounce.
The table-toppers dispatched hosts Norwich City 2nd on Saturday, moving six points clear of the rest – with a game in hand – in the process.
Spalding had a 4-0 lead at the break thanks to strikes from Harry Vickers and Glenn Perkins, plus a classy brace rom the prolific Stuart Cunnington.
Further goals from leading scorer Cunnington (2) and Perkins put the seal on one of Spalding’s best showings of the season so far.
In Division 3NW, Long Sutton 2nd slipped to a 2-0 loss against rivals Cambridge City 4th as they missed the chance to go third. Both goals came after half time and were harsh on man-of-the-match Ross Gavaghan and impressive keeper James Cliff.
There was a cracker between hosts Cambs Nomads 2nd and Spalding 2nd in Division 4NW, with the latter emerging 3-2 victors to stay top of the tree.
Graham Doades’ double had Spalding 2-1 ahead at the break, but they were pegged back with five minutes of the game remaining.
Showing fantastic character to dig deep, the leaders hit back to clinch a vital victory when Richard McKenna netted in the dying seconds.
Spalding 3rd are also going great guns in Division 5NW – and they smashed City of Peterborough 8th 6-0 at Glen Park on Saturday.
Tim Maltby gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at the break, before a sensational second-half hat-trick from Steve Rogers put them in command.
A Tom Shinkins goal and a stunning Joe Doolan effort completed the rout.
In Division 6NW (N), Spalding 4th made it back-to-back wins with a 2-1 triumph at Leadenham 2nd – and move up to fifth in the table.
Fred Morris and Darren Wilson notched in the first half to put Spalding 2-0 to the good, but had their backs to the wall after the break when the away side pulled one back.
In the same division, Long Sutton 4th earned a 2-2 draw at Grantham 1st.
Starting the match with two men short, they conceded an early goal but battled back to level through Ben Shore’s penalty flick.
Shore then added a second with a smart drag flick, but a late leveller from the hosts ensured the spoils were shared.