Victory double tightens grip in race for the title

Haverhill Ladies v Bourne Deeping - Ali Paige-Blair'Pic - Richard Marsham
Haverhill Ladies v Bourne Deeping - Ali Paige-Blair'Pic - Richard Marsham
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Bourne Deeping 2nds strengthened their grip on the Division 3NW title race with a double winning weekend.

After successfully overcoming Leadenham in a 5-2 victory on Saturday, the Dragons then defeated one of the chasing pack 24 hours later with a 2-1 win over Cambridge City 4ths.

The Cambridge clash started at a frantic pace, the slick pitch aiding both teams ability to move the ball quickly into attack.

Bourne had particular success distributing down the flanks through Scott Downie and Ben Rudman who could then reach the speedsters of Fountaine and Edlington as well as the skilful Ollie Vartan up front.

Goalkeeper Shane Carlton and his disciplined defence were busy keeping out several Cambridge short corners while a thunderous strike from Wagstaff hit the Cambs crossbar as the half finished goalless.

The second half started in a similar fashion but Bourne Deeping began to gain more control.

It was not long until the deadlock was finally broken when Wagstaff was again denied his name on the scoresheet, this time illegally, when the Cambs South defender used his feet to prevent the goal.

A flick was given and the cool, calm and collected Dodds stepped up to slot into the goal.

Cambridge came back strongly and it was not long until they opened their tally when they finally converted from a short corner with a well-taken drag flick into the bottom right.

This was bound to test the Dragons who were beginning to show signs of tiredness from their efforts over the weekend.

However, they rose to the challenge with a wonderful move. Edlington found Dodds on his usual right hand side spot in the D who then picked out Vartan in front of the Cambridge keeper and Vartan was able to slip the ball cleverly through and Bourne had their lead back again

Cambridge came piling forward with wave after wave of attacks. Brewer and Browne were instrumental in repelling these attacks as it was backs to the wall with every player contributing to the defensive effort.

Finally the whistle went and Bourne had completed their crucial victory. Man of the match went to goalkeeper Carlton for key saves throughout but it was a superb team effort.

Next is another difficult match against second-placed Kettering on Saturday.

Two late goals sent Bourne Deeping 3rds tumbling to a narrow defeat against Cambridge South 3rds in Division 4NW.

The return fixture had seen South triumph by just the one goal and, having sealed a late win in Cambridge earlier in the season, Bourne Deeping couldn’t hold on to their advantage this time with the visitors scoring two goals in the final quarter to take the match.

Cambs South took an early deserved lead having dominated the first 10 minutes as Bourne Deeping took too long get involved in the game.

Some astute substitutions and positional changes stabilised the team and Bourne Deeping equalised from a Chorlton earned short corner and Andrew Vartan fired in.

This got better in the second half as further pressure was added and Simon Goode deflected in from another short corner.

Bourne Deeping were in controlm but unfortunately changes made due to several players carrying injuries let the visitors back in the game.

The two sides will likely finish the season side by side in the league table, a fair reflection of the actions on the pitch.

Bourne Deeping 4ths were unfortunate to come up short against a well-drilled Cambridge South 2nds side as they continued their theme of losing by one goal.

They were once again without any substitutes for the entire match, leaving the Dragons at a disadvantage before the game even started.

Despite this, Bourne Deeping made the most of the opening spell with some fast attacking play from Robert Steven, Chris Mann and a returning Ben Walden, who was playing up front for the first time this season.

The Dragons were winning the majority of second balls and were extremely comfortable in the opposition’s half.

The continued pressure eventually paid off as Tom Day intercepted the ball on the edge of the opposition’s quarter, took it round a Cambs defender and deftly flicked a pass to Kevin Baker, who fired ball high past the keeper’s left hand with a very skilful first-time shot to add another goal to his impressive tally this season.

Following this brilliant phase of hockey, it was the Dragons’ turn to absorb pressure from the strong Cambs South side.

A combination of sensible defending from the Dragons’ back four, especially from Dacre and Jackson, and some first-class saves from Lee Langley kept the opposition at bay until a much needed half time break.

The second half began much like how the first ended. Bourne Deeping were immediately on the back foot, but resolute tackling from Lewis Stedman and effective pass screening from Day and Mann prevented any real chances.

Increasingly tired legs and an attacking tactical change by Cambridge, however, led to a dominant five-minute period where their attackers were given room to run with the ball, leading to two quick goals.

This rattled the Dragons who were unable to make much headway for while after, despite a couple of powerful overlapping runs from Hector Clack and Rory White down the left channel.

In the last minute, Robert Steven did well to win a short corner. The ball fell to Chris Mann, who flicked the ball a couple of agonising inches past the post.

Despite another incredibly defiant display from the Dragons, they are still in danger of relegation near the bottom of Division 4NW.

Bourne Deeping 5ths overcame a sluggish start to defeat a youthful Peterborough 8ths in their Division 6NW(N) clash.

It was fairly clear from the start that only having played two games in the last six weeks, the Dragons looked rather slow and ponderous.

They let themselves down with too many unforced errors, poor passing and slowness of reactions. Peterborough managed to capitalise on this by scoring just before half-time after a defensive error.

A severe half-time team talk stirred the Dragons who started to move the ball with commitment and equalised when Steve Waters followed up on the rebound from a well saved penalty corner shot.

The Dragons were pushing hard with Tom Allan and Mark Hotchkin shifting up a gear to dominate the midfield giving little outlet for the Peterborough defence.

It was somewhat of a blow then when Peterborough went ahead through one of their few second half attacks, a well-timed deflection into the goal from a long range hit.

The Dragons continued to dominate however especially down the right through captain Davin Foston and the ever improving Leo Clack.

It was from one of these attacking crosses from Clack that Waters was able to add a second to his and the Dragons’ total, following up with a useful flick over the keeper when his first shot was saved.

The Dragons pushed for the winner and were rewarded when Clack again put over a useful cross that Paul Blacker struck firmly home.

The win puts the Fifths second in the league but they cannot afford another slow start in their remaining two games.