Men make a winning debut at higher level
EAST MEN’S LEAGUE
Cambridge City III 2
Promoted Sudbury secured victory in their opening Division One fixture with a hard-fought win over Cambridge City at Great Cornard on Saturday.
It was the hosts who made the running in the opening encounters, and good work down the right channel by Alex Hunnable won a penalty corner, Dan Birch tipping in the resulting effort.
As the visitors grew into the game, getting used to the slow pitch at Cornard, they began to create chances of their own and drew level with a shot that was deflected by a defender to wrongfoot Chris Smith in the home goal.
Sudbury showed their fighting spirit and increasing confidence as they went straight up the other end and regained the lead when a cross deflected high across the D was turned home on the reverse by Brendan Mayers.
With a good home crowd Sudbury finished the half in the ascendancy with a penalty corner strike from captain Adam Bullock, beating keeper and post man, before Will Chrystal fired home high into the net after good build up play from man of the match Daniel Birch.
The visitors pressed higher up the pitch in the second half and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, and despite some robust tackling from Humphreys, Hammond and Clark, they drew a goal back with a snap shot from the top of the D.
A flurry of cards ensued as the game became hotly contested, and with the match finely balanced at 4-2, Smith made a full-length stick save to tip over a thunderous strike from the top of the circle.
With five minutes left a classic counter-attack was finished off by Chrystal, who again fired high into goal to seal victory and three points for Sudbury.
The red and whites travel to Upminster on Saturday for what is likely to be another hard-fought affair (1pm).
EAST LADIES LEAGUE
Harpenden 1 Sudbury 6
A young Sudbury Ladies’ team travelled to Harpenden, and started the season on a high, playing with a momentum that did not relent until the final whistle.
Tactical play and persistence led to Sudbury earning a short corner which Ami Humphreys slapped powerfully on target, forcing an error by the Harpenden defence leading to a goal.
Shortly after Sudbury forced another short corner which Chloe Hunnable struck home to make the score 2-0.
During the interval Sudbury decided to keep the pressure on.
Some good play from youngsters, Olivia Grieves and Hannah Treagust, down the right side led to yet another short corner which Chloe Hunnable converted on a straight strike.
Jess Jacobs and Abby Taylor worked hard together to force another Harpenden error and another corner. Ami Humphreys stepped up to score a flick high into the roof of the net leaving Harpenden stunned.
Youngster Mai Easton stepped up for Sudbury, scoring two sneaky goals from crosses by Becky Spencer and from Jess Jacobs.
Midfielders Kirsty Batch and Emma Stephens worked tirelessly throughout the game offering options.
Harpenden got agitated with Sudbury’s persistence and hard work, which resulted in the umpires to giving out several cards for poor tackles and physicality.
Sudbury hope to continue in a winning fashion when they take on Blueharts at home on Saturday (2pm).
n For other club results, see results & fixtures below.