Harsh reality returns to hockey club after surprise defeat of league leaders

FIRST TEAM HELP: The first team captain Kim Thomas was able to double-up and also play for the second team, but was unable to prevent the 4-2 loss on the road at Sudbury
FIRST TEAM HELP: The first team captain Kim Thomas was able to double-up and also play for the second team, but was unable to prevent the 4-2 loss on the road at Sudbury

EAST WOMEN’S LEAGUE

DIVISION THREE

NORTH WEST

Haverhill Ladies 1

Cambridge Uni III 4

Haverhill Hockey Club have been brought back down to earth with a bump, after suffering a double defeat on Saturday.

They were on cloud nine just three weeks ago as they celebrated the first team’s 5-0 thrashing of league leaders Cambridge City IV.

But results haven’t come easily since and the first squad have recorded back-to-back losses in their last two games.

The latest loss came at home to the third string of Cambridge Uni, a team who were relegated from Division Two at the end of last season.

Club chair Tina Bunch said: “We knew it would be tough but we’re disappointed with the result. After our great 5-0 win at Cambridge, we had belief and confidence.

“But we went 2-0 down in the first 20 minutes — yet again, which was frustrating — and never really got in the game.

“Vicky Stead scored at the start of the second half but Cambridge just came straight back and scored their third. It was so fast that a comeback was never really on.”

Bunch said player availability had been the main concern over the past two matches, and had led to the inconsistent results. She said: “If we had our first team out there every week, I think we could compete for the title.

“Our team can be very different from week to week and that impacts on our style and the way we play. Consistency is our hardest battle.

“At the same time though, we’re aware that the availability issues are having a positive consequence. It’s giving opportunities for the second team and our youngsters to play at a higher level.

“We have a lot of youngsters coming through, a lot of 12-year-olds waiting to be eligible to play at 13.”

She said the club had spent the last three years focusing on the junior sector, and was pleased to see it now paying dividends.

“It’s good for the long-term future of the club,” she added. “And we want to keep working hard on our development.”

She said the weekend’s fixture away to Bourne Deeping (3pm) — who sit second in the league — would be hard.

“We knew the second half of the season was going to be tough,” Bunch said. “But it’s still hard to take losses.

“We seem to fare better against the better teams anyway though and I think we’ll have full availability, I think we have the ability to win.”

n Meanwhile, Haverhill Ladies II were unable to prevent a 4-2 defeat on the road against Sudbury II in Division Four North West (South).

First team captain Kim Thomas was able to ‘double up’ for the first and second team but couldn’t prevent a fourth defeat from their opening seven fixtures.

They next host bottom-placed Wisbech Town III on Saturday (3pm) in a game Bunch describes as a ‘great winning opportunity’.

She added: “Some of the youngsters might not have tasted victory yet and playing a team with -6 league points, it presents a great winning opportunity.

“Hopefully we can take maximum points.”