Shefford & Sandy Men’s Is finished the first half of the season top of the table with a 6-2 victory over local rivals Blueharts.
Even though Blueharts are at the bottom end of East League Division One S&S knew though they would be in for a battle as the opposition, to add spice to the fixture, contained a couple or so former players.
Blueharts started the brighter of the two sides as S&S took time to get into the game, and claimed first blood after an errant defensive ball out was picked up leaving the defence exposed for a simple tap in.
This was the spur S&S needed and they were soon on level terms, Alyn Meredith producing an excellent reverse stick strike. The balance of play was shaded by S&S after this and they took the lead before half time, Stuart Robson producing a reverse stick chip at full stretch into the top of the net.
The second half started with S&S soon exerting dominance and with young home grown talent coming to the fore. U18s youngsters Jack Chiswell, Lewis Bridger and Liam Stevens all worked hard on and off the ball.
S&S took a deserved 3-1 lead early on, the prolific Chris Fell being the goal scorer. Ten minutes into the half a Blueharts player was dismissed with a red card for violent behaviour and although S&S found themselves down a player for a few minutes themselves, they were still able to take advantage firstly from a well worked penalty corner routine which was finished by Stevens, Meredith then soon added his second shortly after.
The rout was completed with probably the most notable goal, Doug Dawson producing a rare effort, which was a glanced reverse stick finish on the turn, following a good ball in from Jamie Hall.
Blueharts produced a consolation goal at the very end, but by then the game was won.
It was another good team performance by S&S, but it was great to see fine turns from unsung guys such as Ramohan Bhogal, Tom Pateman and Jamie Bellingham who have all come up through the club’s ranks.
In a fortnight’s time S&S entertain Bourne Deeping.
Meanwhile S&S IIs fared less well at Blueharts IVs, losing 2-1.
Although it was an improved performance against top of the table Blueharts, the red card dismissal of one player always left them at a disadvantage against a team unlikely slip up with a one man advantage.
S&S IIIs came out 1-0 winners in a good spirited and competitive game with second placed Hertford IVs in Division 7SW.
For much of the game there was little to divide the two teams with perhaps S&S having more clear cut chances.
S&S made the breakthrough 15 minutes into the second half, veteran player Kev Wilson producing a crisp strike into the bottom left hand side of the goal from a penalty corner to seal all three points. This leaves the Men’s IIIs five points clear at the halfway point.
S&S IVs built on thier positive performance last time around to beat fifth placed Hertford Vs 2-0 at a sunny Fortress Sandy.
From the initial push back it was clear that the two teams were evenly matched. Possession was split evenly as the play swept from one end to the other like the ebb and flow of an autumnal tide.
Dan Coverdale and senior pro Neil Blannin were strong at the back ably supported by the statuesque Paul Angell of the fourths. Up front Zach Christodoulou, Jamie Parkes and Alistair Wood in turn provided the youthful legs for the ancient mariner Cliff Gulbis, ammunition provided by the midfield trio of Ed De Luca, Elliot Wood and Toby Morlidge.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Gulbis got a rush of blood to the legs, pressed the Hertford full-back and won the ball on the goalline at the edge of the D. He hit the ball on his reverse stick towards the penalty spot, where a rampaging Christodoulou met it and sent a first time shot into the right hand corner of the goal for his first ever goal for the IVs.
Hertford pressed but thanks to able defending, were limited to few goal attempts.
With ten minutes left De Luca brought the ball up through midfield and played it into the penalty area for a completely out of positioned Angell to latch on to and sweep it past the Hertford keeper for his first ever goal.
S&S were determined to send Hertford home goalless, with Elliot Wood and the ever improving Morlidge dropping back to help the defence.
This was a very good all round IVs team performance and whilst naming individuals might be unfair to others, it must be noted that the aptly named Angell played like one.
On Saturday the IIs travel to Letchworth III, the IIs host West Herts VI and the IVs welcome Royston IIIs.