While the weather had taken it’s toll, forcing games into cancellation, there was still plenty of action to pick through for Leighton Buzzard Hockey Club.
The men’s 2nds were hardly relishing the 60-mile journey to Reading to take on a team who thumped them 11-2 earlier this season, but they were in for a surprise when they heard the home side didn’t have a goalkeeper, and opted to play 11 out-field players.
The game started well with LB playing well as a unit. Keeping it tight at the back, David Wavish, Marc Scott, David Canty, Tim Bellamy and Oliver Parren held well and looked solid.
However the pressure mounted and Reading managed to break through to slide one past Dave Thompson to get their first.
With a goal behind them, Reading’s confidence grew and they piled on more pressure resulting with another couple of goals in the first half to come in at half time 3-0 up.
Second half started and soon after, Reading scored another taking their tally to 4. However, Leighton did not lose heart and the quick goal only seemed to spur them on to play better.
With some fluid passing the midfield of Samuel Gale, Simon Childs, Joshua Wavish, Will Giltrow and Chris Marshall worked the ball up the field to put skipper Dave Jackson in a position that he couldn’t have missed insuring Leighton were finally on the score sheet.
Reading, seemingly unhappy with conceding a goal struck back with a quick reply to take it to 5-1.
However Leighton pushed on in the game and a fantastic late solo effort by Chris Marshall set up Jacko for his second and final goal of the game.
Leighton can take many positives of the second half which finished 2-2 against a very well rehearsed side through to the next game.
There was better news for Leighton ladies 2nds though, who were comfortable 3-0 winners over Cheshunt.
Leighton started the game strongly and immediately put the home team under pressure with some great passing moves.
Their patience paid off with a well worked short corner, a neat pass from Sharon Avola was coolly flicked home by Lucie Webster.
Leighton continued to dominate in the second half and increased their lead with Avola’s flick again setting up Webster to bravely finish for her second.
Cheshunt pushed forward but Leighton continued to soak up the pressure and used it to their advantage, a quick long pass from Chrissie Dixon caught Cheshunt out and player of the match Clare Farrow neatly finished for Leighton’s third to wrap things up.
It was a tough afternoon for Leighton’s Fledglings though,as they were beaten 6-1 away at Eastcote Eagles.
Leighton started brightly and were very unlucky not to be awarded a goal when Adrian Gotzheim’s short corner strike looked to have crossed the line, before somehow being scrambled away by Easctote.
However that scare pushed Eastcote into action and a break away run and a cool finish opened the scoring for the home team. Leighton’s attacking play was good but luck eluded them, gaining neither the goals nor the short corners, which their play had deserved.
Eastcote were the more composed and experienced side and cool finishing allowed them to double their lead. Leighton changed shape and Matt Carter moving to an unaccustomed defensive role helped Leighton look solid.
But put under pressure Leighton lost possession and missed their passes and either side of half time they conceded to go four nil down.
Jordan Field, in particular stepped up. He tackled with great determination and showed composure in taking the ball away from danger.
Though experience was beating youth, Joseph Giltrow and Joshua Gale also stepped up; they showed great character in taking the fight back to Eastcote.
Gale and Gotzheim’s efforts eventually saw Leighton get awarded another short corner. From the injection, Gotzheim controlled the ball and passed to, joint player of the match, Hugh Hatt-Lipscomb, who fired the ball into the Eastcote goal.
The Fledglings sensed an opportunity to get back into the game and Reece Cook and Peter Gale both went close to scoring.
Cruelly though Leighton were punished when a yellow card was given for a mistimed tackle in the final third.
Eastcote scored two more goals in the closing minutes to seal their win.