NOW Pensions Men’s Hockey League
Leek 1XI 6 West Bridgford 0
LEEK had a game plan and structure in place and knew what they had to do to secure this victory.
For the second week running, the plan was executed with precision and focus.
The opposition fell into this trap and a fastpaced Leek attack caught them flat-footed and the first penalty corner was secured.
Ben White showed the hours of practice are paying dividends when he duly despatched the ball into the goal in only the third minute.
Leek’s confidence was riding high and the fast-paced forwards could sense they would have good day.
White again proved to be the chief tormenter when he outpaced two defenders and fired over a cross for the lively Ed Stanhope to finish from close range in the sixth minute.
Leek secured the important third goal just before half-time when Paul Nixon converted a well-worked routine.
The interval team talk focused on what was required to complete the task and secure another valuable three points.
Leek have strengthened their squad with four new players and German Tobi Mueller in particular has been an excellent addition to the Leek squad this season – his deft touches and assured play are adding to the forward lines fire power.
It was Mueller who secured Leek’s next penalty corner and this time, it was Paul Dawson’s turn to fire home the flick and move Leek into a comfortable position in the 41st minute.
Leek raided the visitors’ defence and entertained the large home crowd with some scintillating play which deserved more goals.
Set plays are a key feature of Leek’s play this season and this next moved demonstrated clearly why they are so important.
Leek resolutely defended a West Bridgford corner and from this excellent piece of play, counter attacked so quickly that the visitors’ defence was out of position.
Leek attacked with venom to win a penalty corner of their own. While the first attempt on goal from the strike was saved, it was deemed to be illegal by the umpires, who awarded Leek a penalty stroke. Paul Nixon converted to gain his second goal.
The pressure on the visitors was relentless.
With Ben White and Dan O’Neil released on the wings, a sixth goal looked inevitable and it duly arrived, with White scoring a screamer from a wide angle to secure his second.
A big double header weekend awaits Leek, with a cup game on Sunday against Premiership Cannock following a home league fixture against Olton on Saturday.
Leek 4XI 8 Buxton 2XI 2
LEEK started the game slowly and soon found themselves a goal down.
Jules Brooks levelled the scores with a fine strike from a short corner.
Buxton then took the lead again but Brookes squared the game up again with from yet another short corner.
Leek started to play better hockey and it wasn’t long before they took the lead through Rob Lawley after good work from Sam Wheeldon.
After the break, Leek began to take control off the game.
The defence of Nick Grubb, Henry Lockett and Dave Bedford had a quiet second half, easily coping with any attack Buxton offered.
Debutant goalkeeper Tario Ahlers had a confident game.
Leek’s fourth goal came thanks to Nigel Parkes, whose reverse-stick strike went through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Sean Finney then got on the scoresheet after a rare wander into the opposition D.
It was then up to youngster Jo Priestman to score the next two goals, the first of which was probably the move off the game.
Rob Lawley waited for the on-rushing Buxton goalkeeper before squaring the ball to Priestman to walk the ball into the empty goal.
Priestman’s second came from good team passing around the Buxton D.
Veteran Brookes complete the scoring – and his hat-trick – from a strike at the top off the D.
Burton Ladies 2 Leek Ladies 1XI 1
LEEK travelled to Burton for the start of their season in optimistic mood, having had had previous good results against their recently-relegated opposition.
Leek started off well, maintaining possession and breaking up play, and began to carve out a number of chances.
However, Burton were able to counter-attack and took advantage of a number of free hits from the back.
After two defensive short corners in quick succession, Leek soon found themselves 2-0 down from set pieces.
After good passing play down the wings, the pace of Vicky Bradbury resulted in a number of chances for Leek but they failed to take them.
However, they continued to press and a wellworked pass from Hazel Meredith to Lauren Ferns led to Leek’s goal.
Leek Ladies 2XI 3 Cannock 1
A GREAT pass from Laura Askew was deflected by Katie James past the Cannock keeper on her reverse stick to give Leek the lead.
Leek dominated the first half, with some great movement between Jenny Evans and Bev Cartlidge.
Cannock started strong after the break but Leek remained disciplined.
Ellie Bokros had a thunderous strike from the top of the D which Bev Cartlidge made sure crossed the line with a diving tap in.
Cannock’s first short corner of the game was initially saved by Rhiannon Bedford but the South Staffordshire team were quick to the rebound to make it 2-1.
The final goal of the game came from some super passing which resulted in a free hit just outside the D, from where Kate Jones scored a skillful goal.
Leek Ladies 3XI 1 Erdington Ladies 1XI 3
SAMI Cope got Leek off to a fantastic start to the new season with a goal within the first five minutes.
Leek continued to attack with great team work and sharp passing.
However, Erdington responded on the break to pull back two goals in quick succession.
Leek began to tire towards the end of the first half and Hannah Boulton was called upon to make some great saves.
The second half saw Leek refreshed and pushing forward, but Erdington grabbed another quick goal on the break.
Cannock Ladies 2 Leek Ladies 4XI 1
A NUMBER of Leek players were making their league hockey debuts.
The Moorlanders started strongly but the experienced Cannock defence was able to absorb early pressure from Ellie Smith and Tilly Clark.
The two sides were cancelling each other out until a mistimed pass from the Leek defence allowed a Cannock striker to shoot unchallenged and score from the rebound after the initial shot was saved.
The second half saw Leek fight back, with some excellent work in the centre of midfield.
Leek were reduced to 10 players following a sending-off and Cannock capitalised to score again. Leek responded positively, with Abigail Hull scoring at the other end, but were unfortunate to end the game without a point.