HOCKEY: Horncastle men remain unbeaten in the league

Hockey news.
Hockey news.

Spalding 2nd XI 2

Horncastle 1st XI 4

An unbeaten Horncastle got off to a shaky start in this encounter, with strong pressure from Spalding resulting in the visitors conceding within the first 10 minutes.

Some sloppy play and poor finishing left Horncastle on the back foot until Robert Scott provided their first goal with a neat reverse stick shot lifted over the falling keeper. This scoreline was short lived as a strong Spalding side responded quickly to regain their lead, which they held until half time.

Returning to the pitch, Horncastle looked more dangerous and found themselves with a good chance in front of goal, providing Taylor Gray with an unmissable chance to equalise. A slippery pitch surface was dealt with poorly by certain members of the Horncastle attack, leading to some flamboyant falls and missed chances. However, Horncastle’s defence, consisting of Castleden, Fixter, A. Cartwright, J. Cartwright in front of goalkeeper and man-of-the match Murrell, were able to absorb the Spalding pressure.

With the score at 2-2, Horncastle became more comfortable, with play more resembling what has come to be expected of them this season. A drag flick from a short corner deflected off the keeper on to Sam Bradley’s hand/stick and fell kindly for Cam Foster to put Horncastle in the lead for the first time. A smart finish from Dave Seymour wrapped up the win, keeping Horncastle safely at the top of the league table.

Horncastle came away relieved but confident after their toughest encounter so far this season, and now look to starting their cup run as well as maintaining their fantastic league position.

Horncastle Ladies’ 1st XI 0

Cambridge City 4th XI 1

The sun was out for what was the second game that Horncastle have played on home ground this season.

Most of the team had also played in the County Championship match on Thursday night so there hadn’t been much rest for them.

Horncastle settled well, with strong passing and held off the majority of Cambridge’s attacks, with Alex Tokelove confidently moving the ball down the left wing to Lottie Hopwood, who on many occasions managed to work the ball into the Cambridge D with the assistance of Stephanie Brayshaw, Alice Cannon and Leah Tokelove through midfield.

It was unfortunate that Horncastle missed the opportunities they worked so hard for, especially after a confident run from Emily Tokelove over the length of the pitch, that was narrowly missed on the post. Horncastle also struggled to convert any of the short corners they were awarded, but looked the stronger side at the end of the first half.

Cambridge battled on in the second half, narrowly avoiding the umpire’s cards with their play getting more aggressive as the time ticked on. Laura Neame had to step off the goal line and defended confidently, kicking out many of Cambridge’s attempts.

Jo Beach cleared a ball off the line after a defensive short corner took longer for Horncastle to control, but eventually the ball was passed out once again to the right, through Tamsin Roark, where Fliss Beall used her speed and control to push the ball back up the pitch and pass it off to Hannah Wood.

The last 10 minutes saw the game get a bit chaotic, as a visibly tired Horncastle side started to struggle to keep the attacking Cambridge team out, and found themselves defending a short corner that City managed to gain their winning goal from, minutes before the final whistle blew.