Spalding 2nd fire nine on return

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Table-topping Spalding 2nd made the perfect return to action after the East Men’s Hockey League winter break.

The Division 4NW leaders romped to a 9-0 victory at March Town to stay four points clear, with both Pete Wright and Glen Perkins notching hat-tricks.

Graham Doades (2) and Keith Stennett completed the rout.

Up in Premier B, Long Sutton 1st couldn’t really have had a tougher start to 2014. They were hammered 6-0 at home by leaders Cambridge City 2nd.

There was better news for Long Sutton 2nd in Division 3NW, though. They romped to a 6-2 home success over Cambs South 2nd at the Peele Leisure Centre.

Ben Shore was the star of the show with a fantastic five-goal haul against a South side that were much improved from the last time the two teams met.

Michael Donaghy netted the other Sutton strike to leave them fifth in the table.

In Division 5NW, Spalding 3rd secured a thrilling 3-2 success at St Ives 4th to keep themselves second in the table and in the hunt for promotion.

St Ives went ahead, only for Tim Maltby and Tom Bettinson to make it 2-1 by half time.

Spalding were pegged back to 2-2 ten minutes from time, but there was still time for Steve Rogers to push in the winner after a well-placed ball from Tom Bettinson in the dying seconds.

In the same division, Long Sutton 3rd were walloped 6-0 by promotion-chasing Leadenham 1st and remain just above the bottom two.

Elsewhere, Spalding 5th edged a cracking all-club affair with Spalding 4th 3-2 in Division 6NW (N).

Ed Sly put the youthful fifth team ahead, before Henry Gibbons swept home a timely leveller.

Mark Smith-Hughes then put Spalding 4th ahead for the first time, but two Sam Sly efforts clinched a derby double for Spalding 5th – who sit second in the standings.

Also in Division 6NW (N), Long Sutton 4th were handed a 5-1 home reverse by Leadenham 2nd. Dan Oldfield grabbed Sutton’s consolation as he capped a good individual game with a tidy finish.

l The first round of East Women’s Hockey League Division 2NW fixtures in 2014 saw both Spalding Poachers 1st and Long Sutton Ladies’ 1st held to draws.

The most exciting of the two saw Poachers pegged back to 3-3 by Shefford and Sandy 1st at Glen Park.

Spalding fell 2-0 behind in the first period, but a neat finish from Kelly Slater just before the break got them back into it.

It was 2-2 soon after the break when Slater grabbed her second following a neat interchange between Kelly Tuplin and Roz Dennis.

Jacqui Hunter’s short corner strike then put Poachers ahead for the first time, but there was a sting in the tail with Sandy punishing a defensive error late on to level.

Sutton 1st, meanwhile, rued missed chances in a 1-1 draw with St Neots Ladies’ 1st.

Louise Southgate put them ahead, only for Katie Bates to level late on.

Meanwhile, Long Sutton Ladies’ 2nd were handed a 7-0 beating by City of Peterborough 3rd in Division 3NW (N).

But there was better news for Spalding Poachers 2nd in the same league, with Lily Dobbs,AJ Bunyan (2), Isy Whitehead and Helen Jex all scoring in a 5-1 home victory over Skegness Ladies’ 1st.

Spalding Poachers 3rd suffered a 1-0 home loss against Spilsby Ladies’ 1st in Division 4NW (N) and consequently lose ground on the two teams above them.