HOCKEY round-up – Hitchin’s Battling Blueharts ladies keep promotion hopes alive after crucial derby victory over Letchworth
PUBLISHED: 12:57 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:57 27 February 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2018
It was another great weekend for the Blueharts ladies first team as they edged out rivals Letchworth 3-2 to keep their promotion hopes alive.
On a cold and frosty Saturday the ladies in blue posted some great results as the ladies seconds smashed Stevenage 5-0 while the ladies fourth team put six past Broxbourne for no reply.
But it was the first team which earned the plaudits in a crucial derby match to keep them in the top four of East Div 2SW above Letchworth.
They started the match knowing a defeat would scupper their aims of playing at a higher level next season resulting in an-end-to-end physical battle.
Letchworth were the first to win a short corner which was saved and cleared away by player of the match Carly Madders on the right post.
The visitors went down to 10 players but continued to press strongly. The first goal of the game came when a Letchworth short corner was successfully dispersed by Blueharts defence who worked the ball out of the D.
Vicki Bidwell, Sarah Baxter and Jay Livermore strung together some quick passes on a counter attack down the right to find Kate Sherwood ready to smash the ball into goal. The tempo of the game increased with Blueharts having a scramble in the visitors goal mouth.
A penalty flick was awarded but went wide. 1-0 at half time both teams had everything to play for.
Letchworth came out with renewed vigor and scored from open play. Some great hockey was on display with Harriet Marsh and Jo Floor showing some silky 3D skills to win and work the ball around the pitch.
Tight marking from Becky Turner, Laura Kemps, Nicky Sadler and fantastic saves by Jess Marsh kept Letchworth at bay. Madders was composed and held the middle. Blueharts made it 2-1 after Kate Sherwood bravely intercepted from a Letchworth free hit to cheers from the big crowd urging them on.
Blueharts dug deep and won several short corners with Ellie Walton and Olivia Marsh hassling well. The hard work at training paid off with Anna Page scoring a textbook short corner goal. Letchworth came back again with another goal from open play down their right wing to make it 3-2.
With the clock ticking down Blueharts kept possession to win the game much to the delight of the whole team and supporters.
*Blueharts ladies’ second team travelled the short distance to Stevenage.
Despite being slow off the mark the game was never under threat, with Jess Marsh only touching the ball once in goal and the defence preventing any Stevenage attacks. The first goal was a breakaway goal by Kate Chappell followed by Anna Wallace tucking away Rachel Morey’s cross to put the seconds 2-0 up. It wasn’t long before Chappell broke away once more, scoring the third.
Julie Rees was next to get on the score board, on the back post Kate Chappell passed the ball across the D for Rees to tap in. Zoe Smith got the final goal to put Blueharts third in Five Counties Premier Division.
*The ladies’ fourth team started the game against Broxbourne enthusiastically. Within 2 minutes Alice Winton put Blueharts ahead with a 3D goal followed by Haly Turney tapping in a second. Winton was in on the action again to score her brace. Debbie Thompson then smashed in a fantastic ball for Gina Joseph to deflect in. 4-0 up at half time player of the match Anna Middleditch drove the ball from the half way line around defenders to score her first come back goal. Heather Storey scored another to secure a 6-0 win putting the team in second place in Five Counties Div 4.
*Only the men’s fifth team were able to bring home three points for the male section. It proved to be a vital win in their end of season survival battle with a 4-1 victory away over West Herts.
They started strongly with a rapid passing game proving too much for the opposition with Lachlan Cotter converting at the far post.
A second goal soon followed with Gary Fung scrambling the ball over the line.
In the second half West Herts pulled a goal back, in response Dave Head scored a brace in quick succession to secure a valuable three points.
*The men’s first team travelled to Spalding eager to pick up some points with a final 2-2 score. They face Harleston Magpies at home next weekend at midday.
*The men’s fourth’s also settled for a draw in a feisty 4-4 match at home versus Vauxhall, goals scored by Dan Smith, Dan Brooks (2) and Flynn Krishman.
*The men’s third team suffered their heaviest defeat of the season losing 4-2 away to Potters Bar. The first goal went to Potters Bar, who dispatched a routine short corner between the legs of keeper Marston.
Blueharts levelled the score line through Tom Wallis to make it 1-1. Any hopes of a comeback were soon diminished as Potters Bar then put two more past a unusually lacklustre Blueharts and added a fourth shortly after half time.
A late consolation goal came from an excellent McGregor volley but it was too little too late as man of the match was deservedly given to Graham Swinyard.
Despite the loss, the men’s thirds stay top in division 4SW and a win next week will secure promotion.
*The men’s second side came up against Crostyx away in a close match losing 3-2.
*The men’s sixth team took on Royston seconds at home. A good performance with a goal apiece from Chris Slack, Joe Myhill, Rob Bridges but they couldn’t quite compete with a strong Royston team eventually losing 3-6.