Win one, lose one, for ladies

Ladies hockey Letchworth Ladies had a mixed weekend of results in the East Premier League. The ladies had an important 1-0 away win on Saturday against bottom side Gravesend but a narrow 2-0 home defeat on Sunday against high-flying Canterbury. Letchwort

Ladies' hockey

Letchworth Ladies had a mixed weekend of results in the East Premier League.

The ladies had an important 1-0 away win on Saturday against bottom side Gravesend but a narrow 2-0 home defeat on Sunday against high-flying Canterbury.

Letchworth were slow starters against Gravesend in a game where a win was important to ease any remaining relegation concerns.

Against rugged opposition, Letchworth were unable to make their superior teamwork and individual skills count and gave away too much possession.

The game quickly descended into a scrappy affair with neither side creating many chances, although Letchworth had the better of the possession and attacking play after the first 20 minutes

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A Helen Barrett penalty flick 12 minutes into the second half enabled Letchworth to deservedly take the points.

In the end, it was only good work by the Gravesend keeper which prevented Letchworth from twice extending their lead from Sam Berry breakaways.

Sunday's fixture against second-placed Canterbury was an altogether more entertaining affair.

Though hit by injury and unavailability, Letchworth played some of their best hockey of the season and in the opening quarter looked the better of the two teams.

It was against the run of play when the visitors took the lead from a penalty corner after 19 minutes.

An end-to-end game ensued from which Letchworth looked perfectly capable of salvaging at least a point.

However, it was Canterbury who finally sealed matters with a breakaway goal five minutes from the end.

The second XI were beaten 7-1 by league leaders West Herts to maintain their relegation worries.

The thirds went down 3-1 to West Herts 2nds, while Steph Church scored as the fourth team lost 2-1 to their Broxbourne counterparts. They were left to rue missed opportunities in a game they should have at least drawn.

Stevenage Ladies won a seven-goal thriller against neighbours Hertford to virtually secure their league status.

They had the best of the early exchanges, keeping Hertford pegged back in their own half.

It was really against the run of play as Hertford suddenly took a 2-0 lead. The first came from a quick break and the second from a well-worked short corner routine.

Stevenage continued to press and got their just rewards when the ball broke to Lucy Harvey in the D, who calmly slotted home.

More Stevenage pressure saw them draw level before half time as a good short corner routine was neatly finished off by Emma Isherwood.

The second half started much the same as the first had finished, with Stevenage having all the possession.

Player of the match Carly Seaton was controlling play in the middle of the park and their continued dominance soon led to the third goal, Isherwood finishing off after a great run and cross from Kath Phoenix.

The fourth goal soon arrived and it was Harvey's turn to notch her second, scoring at the end of a classy move.

Hertford forced the ball home, with about 10 minutes left to play, to set up a nervous finale.

Stevenage hung on through a combination of gutsy defending and good goalkeeping, despite a succession of short corners against them in the dying seconds, to record a deserved victory.

The seconds are now bottom after losing 1-0 to Bedford 3rds, the side which were previously at the foot.

There was better news for the thirds as they beat their counterparts from Shefford and Sandy 8-1.

Nicki Reynolds scored five with other goals from Jo Thorpe, Sam Franklin and Tash Howe.

There were defeats for both the fourths (2-0 to West Herts 3rds) and fifths (3-0 to Saffron Walden).

Blueharts Ladies have now won three successive matches.

Their winning streak continued 2-0 against a strong Vauxhall Chiltern side.

Harts were dominant from the start and continued moves forward led to a short corner, which was blasted home by Kerry Ross.

Their continued positive hockey meant they kept the ball for most of the second half, conceding only one or two short corners dealt with by keeper Rho Keen and the defence.

Vauxhall became more frustrated as the half wore on.

A great passing move between Phillipa Wiseman and Jo O'Flaherty saw the ball swept across the line by the latter to put the game beyond Vauxhall.

They also won 3-1 in a rearranged midweek fixture against Royston last Wednesday night.

O'Flaherty and Heather Abbiss on the right and Carol Lamey and Nikki Baxter on the left worked well, releasing Ross up front who was able to capitalise on any loose balls.

Goals were scored by Ross, Sam Vaughan and player of the match Abbiss.

Harts only conceded a late goal after Ross sustained a nasty eye injury and the ladies were down to 10 players.

The second XI won 14-0 at Hertford, scoring seven goals in each half.

Blueharts opened the scoring in the first minute, with player of the match Susie Powell getting five and Gina Joseph four. There were also goals for Helen Sadler, Kate Rogers, Hannah Ross, Hannah Williams and Jay Livermore.