A weekend to forget for Leeds Hockey Club’s men’s and women’s teams
Two days, four games and a possible 12 points to be won, that’s what faced Leeds Hockey Club Ladies and Men’s first teams this weekend.
With the men travelling across the Pennines to visit Preston, and the ladies hosting Loughborough Students at Sports Park Weetwood, Saturday promised a feast of hockey.
The journey across to Lancashire obviously had a negative effect on the Leeds boys as they found themselves a goal down within the first four minutes, some sharp passing and a determined run saw Steven Masterson slot the ball home for the home side.
The situation went from bad to worse as, on the 30-minute mark, the Leeds defence were caught napping allowing Jonathan Platt to score from close range. A stern talking to was needed at half-time and that’s clearly what happened as Leeds started the second half in a much more positive mind-set, and it took only five minutes for a regular name to show up on the scoresheet.
Harry Lankfer took responsibility at a short corner and scored the first of his two goals for the day.
A lovely strike down into the bottom corner left the keeper stranded as Leeds finally had reason to celebrate. Two minutes later, Lankfer was at it again, this time getting on the end of a lovely pass, showing beautiful skill to evade a final challenge and bring the two teams’ level again at 2-2.
Back in it and with momentum behind them, Leeds pushed forward and began to control the game forcing Preston onto the back foot.
A mistake by the home side allowed Leeds a sight of goal, and when this was illegally blocked by a defender, the umpire had little choice but to award a penalty stroke.
Martin Sutherland then stepped up and easily flicked the ball to the keeper’s right.
Having turned the tables round and taken the lead, Leeds were determined to see the game off, however Preston had other plans and with three minutes left, David Greenough scored only his second of the season to make it 3-3. This equaliser came about after Justin Brown had been yellow carded for the journeying side, and the extra man was the difference maker as Preston scored a fourth – and winning goal – with no time left on the clock. A defeat, but a display to be proud of.
While the close-fought action was happening in Preston, Leeds Ladies were entertaining a currently unbeaten Loughborough Students squad.
Unfortunately, this game was nowhere near as tight as the men’s encounter, with the visitors scoring three goals in each half and winning the match at a canter.
Leeds struggled to break down a very strong and disciplined Loughborough side, and despite never giving up, were outclassed for much of the game.
The ladies are in their first season of National League hockey and will look on this result as a hard lesson, but one they will no doubt learn from.
Sunday saw both the sides in action again as the ‘iced-off’ fixtures from January were fulfilled. Leeds Ladies travelled to Sutton Coldfield and put in a much-improved performance compared to the one seen the previous day. The game looked to be heading for a draw until the final two minutes when Leeds’ hearts were broken by an Emma McCabe goal. This was a bitter pill to swallow as Leeds had been the better side for most of the competition and deserved to take home something.
The men then had their turn to host Loughborough on Sunday, but fared little better than the ladies had the day before. Going one down from a short corner after six minutes, Leeds kept the game close until the second half, but then suffered another setback as the visitors doubled their lead.
Martin Sutherland reduced the deficit, but it wasn’t to be as the Students scored a third not long after and didn’t release their hold on the game until the final whistle.
Four games, two days, zero points on the board for the ladies and the men. Roll on next week.