Hockey: Four-star Ladies sign off at home for year in style

Sarah Wood.
Sarah Wood.
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With the Christmas break fast approaching, the fans at Sports Park Weetwood were hoping for a win for Leeds Hockey Club Ladies’ first team against Timperley in the final home game of the year to put the past few weeks behind them.

As the game began, it was clear that the Ladies weren’t going to disappoint, as they pushed forward from the outset. It took only 10 minutes for Leeds to score the first of four goals, as a scramble inside the area saw Holly Oldham create a bit of space to squeeze off a shot. Although hit cleanly, the ball took a deflection from a defender’s stick before nestling past an unlucky keeper.

Mae Welch with Leeds Hockey club chairman Simon Batty.

Mae Welch with Leeds Hockey club chairman Simon Batty.

This was Oldham’s first goal in the National League for Leeds, and this only started the trend. Five minutes later, and Leeds were firmly in control of the game.

After using a high-press to force a mistake, Sarah Wood pounced. Outpacing the defence to create a one-on-one situation, Wood rounded the keeper calmly to score her first National League goal.

With Leeds controlling the midfield, Timperley were struggling to get into their rhythm, and it wasn’t long before the visitors were three down.

Some strong play in the centre of the park, by eventual player of the match, Mae Welch, was finished by yet another debut goal – this time it was Niamh Elston with the finish into the bottom corner.

A near-flawless performance saw Leeds go into the break three goals to the good.

Timperley came back fighting in the second half, showing that, despite the score line, they couldn’t be counted out of the contest just yet.

The home defence held strong and, marshalled by Pheobe Menear in goal, they weathered all that was thrown at them, and with ten minutes of the game’s restart, a passing move put the result beyond doubt.

A wonderful team move was finished by Wood, with a sweetly struck reverse shot, to double her tally for the game.

Sunday saw the men of Leeds host Preston and put on a truly dominant display of hockey. Goals from Carlos Hollyman and Harry Lankfer – his sixth of the season – within the opening four minutes set the tone for the game, with Preston immediately on the back foot.

Leeds kept the pressure on and, by the mid-point of the first half, found themselves four up, Martin Sutherland and Nathan Hill both getting their names on the score sheet.

Hill got his second of the game before the break, showing his shooting prowess from the top of the area.

Two more goals in the second half – one for Steven Masterson of Preston and one for Danny Mills of Leeds – meant the game finished 6-1 in favour of the home side.

Leeds Hockey Club results in full: Men’s 1sts 6 Preston 1; Men’s 2nds 2 Wilmslow 2; Men’s 3rds 3 North Shields 1; Men’s 4ths 0 Hull University 3; Men’s 5ths 0 University of Leeds 1; Men’s 6ths 2 Doncaster 1; Men’s 7ths 2 Ben Rhydding 3; Men’s 8ths 0 Lindum 2; Ladies 1sts 4 Timperley 0; Ladies 2nds 4 Adel 1; Ladies 3rds 0 Northallerton 1; Ladies 4ths 5 Thirsk 0; Ladies 6ths 3 University of Leeds 0.