Round-up of the weekend action from Spalding Hockey Club
Spalding’s men’s first team were crowned East League Division One North champions after Saturday’s success at Wisbech.
Jacob Baker scored the all important goal which clinched the title with one match of the season remaining.
A strong start by Spalding saw a flurry of chances which was quickly rewarded in the sixth minute of the game when Baker blasted the ball into the goal after some neat play by the visitors.
Spalding continued the pressure with little coming from Wisbech’s attack, and the first half ended with the advantage still in their favour.
The second half again was dominated by the away side. However, in the 51st minute of the game, a card was awarded to Spalding and soon after a questionable second one was given to the same offending player.
Confusion spread among both teams as the umpire attempted to force another Spalding player off at first. However, he soon realised his mistake.
This did not discourage the visitors, but it did allow Wisbech to have a few attempts on goal - but some clean saves by Nathan Davy denied the hosts as Spalding saw the game out with a comfortable win.
The second team went down to a 9-1 defeat against St Ives, with Steve Rogers on target.
Spalding’s fourth team produced a decent performance as they went down by a solitary strike against Cambridge South 5ths.
Off the back of a great win, and possibly their best performance for quite a while, Spalding were looking to have another good game.
The match started out fairly evenly with both teams making runs and passing the ball around the midfield areas, but neither side was able to create proper chances on goal.
Spalding were then on the back foot a bit, with a period of having to defend multiple short corners and attacks from Cambridge.
They were able to push up, making several opportunities moving up within the Cambridge 23 - but a few good saves from the home keeper saw nothing come from these chances.
Cambridge were back on the attack, getting into the Spalding D and shooting.
Spalding’s keeper made a good initial save but the ball ended up on the stick of a Cambridge attacker, who shot and the ball bobbled forward into the goal.
Later, a green card saw Spalding down to 10 men, but they held out and didn’t let anything come of being a player down.
The rest of the first half saw both sides again fairly evenly matched with no real opportunities from either side.
The second half saw both sides evenly matched throughout, with neither side able to convert any chances.
Spalding’s fifth team looked to further extend their superiority as league champions with a win over bottom-of-the-table St Ives.
They had early chances with good pressure being applied throughout.
Cameron Roy found the net for Spalding’s first goal in the opening period from a penalty stroke, and good attacks also presented themselves.
Good attacking runs by Jack Dorsett and Lewis Burton helped keep attacking pressure on the visiting defence as Spalding went into the break a goal up with a strong hold of the game.
In the second period, Spalding looked to just hold the Ives defence back in their own half and did so for the majority of the half.
Spalding went down to just the 11 men on the pitch early on, with captain Harry Higgins picking up an injury.
They strengthened their lead with a great goal from Charlie Smith.
With a St Ives player given a green card later in the half for knocking the ball away, Spalding cruised to a 2-0 victory.Unbeaten Spalding Ladies' first team dropped their first points of the season after a 1-1 draw with Cambridge City 4ths on Saturday.
Spalding started strongly on the attack, continually forcing the ball into the opposition’s D.
Some great distribution out from the back allowed Spalding to use their pace up the wings to create many chances on goal.
The team gained a short corner in which Charlotte Maplethorpe slipped the ball to Georgina Maplethorpe who scored an amazing flick into the top left corner.
Spalding entered the second half 1-0 up and continued to play well as a team but Cambridge City worked hard to close down any chances created.
Spalding stayed strong in defence, running out well in defending short corners and also with Evie Maltby making a brilliant save off the line.
Sally Pilgrim also made some great tackles inside the D but unfortunately Cambridge managed to equalise.
Spalding kept their heads up and pushed for another goal and were unlucky not to convert.
Evie Maltby was player of the match for her great defending and distribution of the ball.
Spalding's ladies' second team made their final away trip of the season where a tough test at Cambridge South 3rds ended in a three-goal defeat.
The first half saw Spalding dominate the opposition’s D without being able to capitalise.
The defensive formation of Freya Lee, Sophie Gleave, Sophie Smith, Samantha Maltby and returner Leanne Isaac-Pick managed to keep a clean sheet in the first half.
The second half saw Spalding dig deep as Karen Timby encouraged the team at half-time.
Despite winning a succession of penalty corners, Spalding were unable to capitalise.
Kelly Tizzano thought she had the moment she had waited all season for when intercepting the switch at the top of the D she found herself one-on-one with the keeper but thought about it too long and was unable to get the goal.
Kate Amess and Roz Dennis linked up well in the middle despite Dennis being marked out of the game at times.
Erin McMurray danced around the D with Honor Pearson keeping the defence on their toes and being ready for the balls coming in.
Player of the match went to Isaac-Pick who played the ball out well to all areas despite not having played for more than a year.
Spalding thirds were unable to cause another upset after losing 2-0 at home to Cambridge City 5ths.
They began well passing the ball out wide and connecting often with forwards.
However, it became apparent early on that the defence were going to have to work hard.
Lisa Dean took control of the back, directing everyone to ensure the ball could be cut out, while Stephanie Wilson made some crunching tackles and supported the left wing beautifully.
A loose player broke free and struck the ball at the top of the D to score an incredible goal.
Midfielders Sharon Amess and Elaine Allen ran to ensure that players were tracked and balls closed down, but before half time another snuck past Spalding to make it 2-0.
At half-time, manager Tim Maltby and player of the match Charlotte Morris spoke about passing and ensuring that the team worked together.
They certainly did do that and keeper Christina Dewing pulled off some brilliant saves to keep the side in it.
However, even with attacking short corners, it just wasn’t the day for Spalding to capitalise on last week’s form.