Darren makes the difference

DARREN Aldridge was the difference again, as his hat-trick helped Buntingford Cougars under-13s to a 3-2 victory over Wymondley. A well-taken Aldridge strike was all the Cougars could take from the first half, with the teams going into the break with a ti

DARREN Aldridge was the difference again, as his hat-trick helped Buntingford Cougars under-13s to a 3-2 victory over Wymondley.

A well-taken Aldridge strike was all the Cougars could take from the first half, with the teams going into the break with a tight 1-1 score line.

However, Buntingford came out strongly in the second half and impressed with their attacking football.

At the other end Toby Grieg commanded his goal well, while in front of him Rees Camper and Lewis Fitzgerald kept things tight despite shipping a goal midway through the half.

Jonathan Bowell worked tirelessly in the Cougars' midfield, and he linked brilliantly with Ryan Newey to set Aldridge up for his second.

Not completely satisfied with his day's work, Aldridge wrapped up proceedings with a coolly taken third.

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Royston Town Colts under-10s hosted the first round of the Crow League Tournament and progressed to the next phase following a fine example of attacking football.

The A team were in sparkling form, with Justin Leavers' double setting them on the road with an opening game victory over Cresley Way Juniors.

They then saw off Bassingbourn B with Leavers nabbing five more goals, including a quick-fire hat-trick, while Rhys Westbury completed the 7-0 rout with a confident double.

There was more of the same in their third game, with Leavers turning provider for Westbury's first of five strikes. George Bailey added Royston's sixth leaving the Colts as one of the teams to beat in the next round.

Unfortunately the B team did not fare so well, losing both their matches. Jordan Howe scored Royston's only goal of the tournament.

In an entertaining encounter, Buntingford Cougars under-12s had to settle for a share of the points after their 1-1 draw with county cup finalists Bedwell Rangers.

And it was Bedwell who had the better of the first half, with their control and passing creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

In contrast, the Cougars played with a more direct approach and used the pace of their forwards to great effect.

However, just as it seemed like Buntingford would end the half on top, Bedwell hit them with the opener, following a high ball.

In the second half, the Cougars came out with added determination with their early play keeping the Bedwell defence on their toes.

With five minutes left Tommy Adeyemi drew Cougars level with a fine lobbed finish to earn his side a deserved point.

Buntingford were also in action against league leaders Letchworth Blues, however, Alex Curran's strike was not enough as they slipped to a 3-1 defeat.

It was a great finish from Curran who kept his cool in heading home Tommy Wallsingham's excellent cross from the left.

However, their lead was cut short when Letchworth drew level following a drive from a tight angle, before adding a second moments later.

Despite a spirited second half showing, Cougars conceded another despite Greg Marshall's brilliant save to deny the original strike. Ollie Dent went close for a Buntingford second, but Letchworth held on to claim the win.

It was a busy weekend for Melbourn Dynamos Panthers under-nines who had three matches to play.

Despite dominating their first game with Wymondley B, Panthers had to settle for a point, despite the best efforts of Tommy Hollway and Sam Austin, in a 0-0 draw.

The Panthers then came unstuck against Royston Colts A in a 1-0 defeat, with Luke Eades offering moments of skill with his impressive mazy runs.

They bounced back in their final game, with Hollway opening the account with a cool finish, before Kieran Geraghty added a second following some stylish play from Austin, Eades and George Storey.

Oscar Bilton scored Buntingford Cougars Blues under-eights' winner in their 1-0 victory over St Neots.

They also sent St Neots packing in their second game with Jordan Moore, Joe Lally (2), Luke Garrett and Matthew Adams all on target in a 5-1 win.

Two goals from Isaac Perry helped Buntingford Cougars Stripes under-eights see off their St Neots opponents in a convincing 4-1 win.

Stan Ray and Alex King added two more strikes for the Cougars, with Buntingford in complete control throughout.

Their second match ended in a 2-2 draw with their St Neots rivals. Isaac Perry was on target once more, with Ben Hall also getting his name on the score sheet with a calm strike under pressure.

Melbourn Dynamos Tigers under-nines also had three games to play but had to settle for a 0-0 draw in their first match against Wymondley A.

Aryton Barnes rescued another point in the their second game when he slotted home following a brilliant solo run through the Royston Colts B defence.

However, they did lose out to some confident shooting by Rising Stars A in their third game, with Melbourn slipping to a 2-0 defeat.

Andrew Houghton, Joe Greeman and Jack Morley held tight throughout, but their impressive defending was soon unlocked thanks to two well-taken finishes.

A controversial second-half penalty condemned Buntingford Cougars under-15s to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Baldock Town Knights.

That was all that separated the teams, in what was a lively encounter from start to finish.

In fact it was Buntingford who started the brightest, and when Baldock did push forward, Cougars' Ollie Townsend, Nathan Hutchings, and Tom Dalton were more than a match.

Keeper Tim Rice also denied Baldock a goal just before half- time, and fortunately for Cougars he was on hand to turn the ball away.

In the second half Cougars began to pressurise the Baldock defence, with the visitors keeper making a top save to deny a Buntingford goal.

Then against the run of play Hutchings made what appeared to be a fair tackle, but the referee deemed it to be a foul and pointed to the spot, with a Baldock striker slotting the ball home.

Hormead Hares under-11s ran out deserved 2-0 winners against Fairlands Whites, with Bryce Hagger and Rhodri Hughes on target.

Player-of-the-match George Spackman gave his side the perfect platform to build from, with captain Edward Worby's clever play creating the space for Hagger to slot home.

The game was all but won when Hughes hammered in a brilliant 20-yard strike midway through the second half.

A strong performance from Royston Celtic Crusaders under-13s yielded eight goals as the Crusaders thrashed Isleham United 8-3.

In a fine team display, Jacob Leighton opened Royston's account before Ryan Geraghty's double and an Elliott Burr strike sent them into a 4-0 lead at half time.

Royston continued their form in the second half with Burr grabbing two more to complete a deserved hat-trick, and Leighton nipping in for his second of the match. Sam Cooper grabbed goal number seven with a brilliant long-range strike.