Hockey round-up: woeful weekend for Ely as all but one team suffer defeats

Ely Ladies 2nds Hockey v St Neots Ladies 3rds, (blue)

Ely Ladies 2nds Hockey v St Neots Ladies 3rds, (blue) - Credit: Archant

Ely City Hockey Club’s men’s first team were the only shining light in what proved to be a woeful weekend for the club, as they were the only victors out of five teams in action.

All but one of Ely’s teams, across both the mens and ladies, lost in what was a difficult set of fixtures for Ely.

With five wins from the first five games of the season, only a narrow margin in goal difference saw Ely men’s first team sitting second in the league behind Cambridge South this weekend as Ely prepared to head deep into the fens to play Wisbech.

Missing key players Nick Wells, Stuart Clarke, Myles Forber and Dan Jolly for a variety of reasons, Ely set off with a bare 11, offset by a sense of expectation to retain their unbeaten record.

The first half was a largely fraught and untidy affair, with Ely starting late out of the blocks.

With a few players out of their normal positions, Ely looked scrappy and the first twenty minutes of the game proved fruitless - Ely giving possession away easily, and Wisbech trying their luck, only to be thwarted by a solid defensive display.

Eventually the play turned and Ely were able to break down the right flank as Tavernor in midfield fed the ball through to Dennis as he tore down the right wing.

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Driving toward the base line and playing the ball back into the Wisbech D left the home side’s defence scrambled, with a pile of players left wallowing in the wet sand of the Wisbech goal mouth as the ball went free towards the top of the area.

Kisby, with accuracy and surefootedness, fired the ball into the roof of the net to give Ely a 1-0 lead.

As the second half of the game started, Ely seemed to have regained some composure. Skipper Feroze Abbas, alongside Tavernor and Dennis in midfield gained control and started to feed the ball to the tireless Ely forwards.

Abbas played Thomas Grimshaw through on the left and he took no further invitation to sidestep a Wisbech defender and beat the Wisbech goalie at the near post to double Ely’s lead.

Wisbech pressed back and eventually scored, despite Doddsworth’s attempts to prevent a shot on goal.

For a few minutes Ely seemed to be on the back foot; Atkins received a yellow card for being in the wrong place at the wrong time - unfortunate after a previously faultless performance at left back - leaving Ely temporarily down to ten men. But Ely were not about to let go - quickly winning a short coroner after the restart.

Tim Reynolds travelled down the pitch to his spot at the top of the D. As Grimshaw pulled the ball out from the baseline, Tavernor poised to make trap the ball neatly under his stick, allowing Reynolds to unleash a powerful drive against the backboard and put Ely 3-1 to the good.

Wisbech replied with a last minute goal to reduce the deficit, but with Ely back to 11, they resolutely stood out the last 60 seconds until the whistle blew and Ely made it six wins from six games.

Ely men’s second team, however, tasted defeat to Wisbech, losing 5-4 in a thrilling encounter.

Ely 2’s loss means that they are still rock bottom in Division 4NW and have lost five of their six games this season.

The city’s third team rounded off a poor weekend for the men, falling 2-1 to St. Neots 2, meaning they are still without a win this season.

Ely’s ladies were also in action, but, like their male counterparts, were also on the losing sides.

St. Neots 3 visited the Downham Playing Fields to play Ely ladies 2, and came away 3-1 victors.

Defeat sees Ely 2 sit eigth in Division 4NW(S), with a tough fixture against third-placed Haverhill 2 up next.