Round-up of all the East League action from Bourne Deeping Hockey Club
Bourne Deeping's first team are showing a willingness to stick together through the tough times despite being hit for six for the second successive Saturday.
After last week's loss against high-flying Blueharts, they again faced strong opposition in Bishop Stortford whose 6-0 success took them to the top of the East League Division One table.
It was another long journey down the M11 for the Dragons who were denied any space or time on the ball in the early exchanges as Stortford set the tone by hunting in packs of two and three.
Despite this, the Dragons showed great strength and composure on the ball, making quick decisions, and causing Stortford a few problems of their own.
However, the manner in which Stortford celebrated the winning of a penalty short corner was ominous and it was through a well-executed routine that they took the lead.
Despite a positive opening, Stortford’s energy and relentless pressure on the ball carrier began to take its toll.
The Dragons found themselves penned in their own half for a period as despite the magnificent defensive work of Joe Garner, charging down a number of well-struck shots on his first team debut, and the acrobatics of the outstanding Adi Portlock in goal, they found themselves 3-0 down at the break.
The second half was a chance to show a preening and gleaming Stortford - and their watching flock of admirers - that the Dragons could still cause them problems.
Underneath the Stansted flight path it was the jet-heeled Max Etherington, making his first team debut, who was causing problems with his direct running while on the flanks Ben Brittain and Hugo Brill were excellent, putting in a massive shift defensively while always looking to be positive and attack when the chance arose.
A further three unanswered goals were no more than Stortford deserved, such was their dominance, but this match will hopefully be remembered by the Dragons players as a crucible in which a team was brought together and galvanised under immense pressure.
The encouragement and willingness to stick together and support each other through a tough periods was really brought to the fore.
These players showed that they will relish every second of the coming scrap for every point in this league and are more than happy to mix it with the big boys when it starts to get physical.
Bourne Deeping 2nds saw their new players step up to the mark as they ran out 5-0 winners against Wisbech Town 3rds on Saturday.
They started strongly with Ethan Edwards and Alex Hutton making runs down both wings and putting pressure on the Wisbech defenders.
Bourne Deeping were looking strong on the attack with Mac Gatward-Clarke and Tommy Armitage up front creating chances.
They took the lead when Sam Evison unleashed a powerful strike which went past the Wisbech goalkeeper.
Wisbech stepped up their game trying to pass it around the Bourne defenders but they reacted well with Ryan Matthews, Matty Clarkson and Davin Foston playing as a back three to ensure they held their lead at half-time.
Bourne Deeping switched on after the break and moved the ball well through the midfield to reach the Wisbech D.
They doubled their lead from a short corner where Matthews drag-flicked the ball into the top left of the Wisbech net.
Gatward-Clarke then added a third soon after as Callum Howitt made a run down the line to then hit the ball into the D where it was tapped home at the far post.
Ewan Howitt was creating chances for Bourne Deeping at the top of the D and won another short corner which Matthews placed into the same spot with power and determination to make it 4-0.
The scoring was then completed with 10 minutes remaining as Ben Rudman and Ewan Howitt linked well to find captain Callum Howitt at the top of the D and he reversed his shot into the bottom left of the Wisbech net.
A depleted Bourne Deeping 3rds were unable to bounce back from last week's defeat to Spalding after a 4-1 away reversal against Cambridge South 4ths.
Despite travelling with just the bare 11, the Dragons started off strongly and Chris Mann ghosted into the D and found Joe Wray lingering at South’s back post to smash a cross ball home for a 1-0 lead.
Encouraged by their positive start, the Dragons pushed South for a second goal, however, the hosts quickly recovered and started to get on top.
South squandered a number of good chances through some sloppy striking and excellent goalkeeping by man of the match Lee Langley.
Langley kept the Dragons in the game with some excellent saves and South were clearly getting frustrated with not being able to find the back of the net.
However, after one breakaway too many, South finally found the back of the Dragons net through a well-taken goal.
After that the Dragons struggled to stay in the game, rarely troubling the South defence and, after their first goal, the hosts soon found another with their youth and pace clearly getting the upper hand.
The Dragons pushed forward trying to find an equaliser but this left a gap between the midfield and defence.
A promising Dragons attack broke down and South were quick to counter leading to another goal.
South’s fourth goal came in similar fashion with the Dragons not getting close enough to stop a well-taken strike at the top of the circle.
Even though the game was over the Dragons never gave up despite their high average age and questionable fitness.
Youngster Henry Mahan showed excellent promise throughout, often breaking through the South midfield.
The Dragons have a week off now before a trip to top of the table Horncastle where they will look for a double bounce back win.
Two late own goals sent Bourne Deeping 4ths tumbling to defeat against St Ives 3rds on Saturday.
The visitors were a well-drilled team and before the Dragons could get organised they were one goal up.
Some scrappy play ensued, punctuated with some individual moments of brilliance as the Dragons woke up.
A searing run and shot down the right-hand side was deflected home by Gareth Evison to bring Bourne Deeping back level.
But, with renewed vigour, St Ives put some good passing together and walked themselves past a Dragons defence that had gone back to sleep again for a second goal.
The chips were down, but from a quickly worked sideline hit Oakley outmanouvered the St Ives defence and splintered the backboard with another rocket and at 2-2 the Dragons were back in it.
They battled hard with the midfield valiantly supporting the defence against repeated attacks from St Ives and for a time it looked like the tide was turning.
Unfortunately St Ives had other ideas and capitalised from some Keystone Cops moments in the Dragons defence and profited from two own goals to finish 4-2 winners.
Had they not lost Goode to early injury and been able to retain midfield possession then maybe the energy levels of the home side would have lasted the 70 minutes.
They are away to Wisbech this weekend with a chance to pick up some more valuable points.
Two extremely well-taken goals, both from defensive errors, were what divided Bourne Deeping 5ths from their Spalding counterparts on Saturday.
Both were powerful shots which gave keeper Will Taylor no chance which was undeserved for him in an otherwise personal strong performance.
The first goal came from poor marking in the opening minutes of the game which rather dampened the home side’s spirit but they fought back to try to level the score.
Strong, confident play by Kristian Rushworth must surely be rewarded by a goal soon and through balls by Mike Bradshaw, making a welcome return to the squad, helped in this.
A physically strong Spalding midfield caused some problems for the Dragons but determination by George Cosby - a player who improves every week - helped on many occasions to frustrate these attacks.
Charlie Butler played with energy and commitment on the right, driving down the wing to create chances.
Having perhaps been the weaker side in the first half, the Dragons looked more positive in the second period and know they need to improve their penalty corners in particular if they are going to win games.
Crosby was more successful in his attempts to contain the strongest opponent with Steve knipe supporting.
Brothers Lewis and James Gray both played an important role in maintaining this pressure but sadly a poor clearance towards the end of the second half from Bourne Deeping allowed in an individual goal to really settle the game.
While the Dragons continued to try to retrieve something from the game with clever skilful runs through the middle by Mark Hotchkin in particular, it was very much an uphill attack and they lacked the final touch to convert their chances.
Bourne Deeping Ladies suffered their first loss of the season after a 3-0 reversal against fellow high-flyers Wisbech on Saturday.
It was always going to be a tough match with the Dragons taking on an unbeaten Wisbech side who were in the top spot due to goal difference.
The first half saw both teams fighting it out and some great hockey was played with player of the match Rose Taylor-Jackson making some super saves to ensure the opening period finished goalless.
However, within the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Wisbech broke to open the scoring.
This allowed them to move up a gear and they added two further goals while the Dragons were unable to convert their chances.
Unbeaten Bourne Deeping Ladies 2nds moved to the top of Division 4NW(N) after a 5-1 home victory over March on Saturday.
It was a third successive league win for the Dragons who had to stave off an early onslaught which saw goalkeeper Laura Kemp make a fine start.
The Dragons were as eager as their opponents and worked diligently towards the March goal and, as the ball fell to Katie Anderson, she put her shot past the keeper to give Bourne Deeping the lead.
March hit back but were unable to pierce through defenders Rachel Portlock, Isia Jasińska and Vicky Mumby.
The visitors continued to persist in their attack and managed to win a short corner but, fortunately for the Dragons, it remained fruitless.
Midfielders Vicky Edwards, Sue Oakley, Alessia Russo and Katie Anderson then funnelled the ball onto the expectant forwards Marie Burden, Josie Criddle, Izzie Oakley, Daisy Moon and Emma Cowell who were rewarded with a well earned short corner.
With an injection to the top of the D, the calm and collected Anderson struck the ball past the keeper's reach to double the lead.
Making use of this zest, the Dragons regained possession and Marie Burden scored their third goal before the break.
The Dragons were determined to maintain their momentum after the break and Cowell cracked home their fourth goal.
Burden went close to increasing the tally with a super strike before March grabbed a consolation as a lifted ball across the Dragons defensive D found a player on the back post to score.
Like water off a ducks back, the Dragons responded and the ball found its way to Criddle who rolled onto her reverse and popped the ball into the goal.
However, the decision was reversed due to an apparent foot before the ball had reached the Dragons player.
March used this decision and pounced down the pitch and earned themselves a couple of short corners but the hearty Dragons defence managed to fend them off.
Mirroring March, the Dragons took possession and secured some short corners of their own before Oakley raced down the pitch to fire home their fifth goal and seal the success.
Bourne Deeping Ladies 3rds ran out emphatic 7-1 winners in their Division 4NW(N) clash with Long Sutton on Saturday.
They had set their sights on making a fast start and were rewarded after just 90 seconds when Sara Morgan-Walters gave them the lead.
This made the defence more relaxed straight away meaning they could push the line higher up.
However, Long Sutton took advantage of this and had their first attempt at goal which hit the post.
The Dragons remained determined to push high and again after a few minutes got the ball into the D where Kirsty Martin converted.
Long Sutton rallied but the Dragons defence was resolute as Emily Anderson and Dawn McShane worked well together to push the ball back up the pitch.
They added their third goal when Nancy Simmons made a perfect tackle before setting off on an amazing run up the pitch and then passing to Morgan-Walters in the D who with a slight deflection netted her second of the afternoon.
Christi King twice went close to scoring a fourth goal before Long Sutton reduced the arrears as the Dragons midfield fail to get back and help the rest of the defence after a poor attempt to clear their lines.
Dragons soon restored their three-goal lead though as Amy Webster's shot was tipped in by King to make it 4-1 at the break.
They picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Simmons and Morgan-Walters combined to give Martin a clear shot for their fifth goal.
Martin then completed her hat-trick after being picked out by Webster's pass before King completed the scoring with her second and the Dragons' seventh after good build-up play from Manzur and Webster.