Hockey: Crows continue unbeaten start to 2014

Royston Hockey Club's men's 3rds defend

Royston Hockey Club's men's 3rds defend - Credit: Archant

Royston men’s 1sts travelled to Southend to continue their unbeaten start to the year and won by the odd goal in 11.

There was a good start to the game with Mike Priest finishing off a team move from the back post.

After his side conceded a soft goal Andy Drage finished a penalty stroke to put Royston back in the lead.

Royston then extending their lead with Matt Allsopp finishing a loose ball with a reverse stick sweep.

Shortly after, with a perfectly timed run, Josh Hughes finished a great ball across the D with a jab through the keeper’s legs.

Through great team play Royston were awarded a short corner which was then converted by Nick Ross.

Within minutes Southend placed the pressure on and were awarded a penalty stroke which they converted.

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With minutes before the half-time whistle Southend finished another goal to make it 5-3 at half-time.

The second half could not have started worse with Southend scoring another bringing the score to 5-4.

Royston battled back with a strong team goal finished by Josh Hughes.

Royston just needed to hold on to this lead and it was done well until Southend converted a short corner.

Royston held their own making sure that the win was theirs finishing 6-5 ahead.

The ladies’ 1sts were slow to get off the mark against Shefford and Sandy and conceded an early goal.

Knowing they needed to take the points to cement their position in the league they re-grouped and came back fighting.

The pressure Royston applied saw them win a penalty flick which Ruth Askham fired into the bottom corner.

This revitalised Royston who soon found themselves back in Shefford and Sandy’s D with a short corner that Kirsty McKenzie slotted in.

In the second half it was Shefford and Sandy that came out the stronger of the two teams and Royston soon found themselves 3-2 down.

Royston didn’t let this deter them and they showed character by upping the tempo and creating chances. This hard work paid off when Ali Carroll slotted the ball in the goal to pull the scores back level.

This gave Royston a boost and with two minutes to go, Royston were in control. After some well worked passes Julie Walsh found Vicki Bidwell who hit the winner.

The 3rd XI’s winning run came to an abrupt end at St Edmunds on Saturday with a 4-2 defeat to second in league St Albans 7ths, even though they scored first with a goal from Carl Taylor within five minutes of the push-back.

St Albans responded quickly with the Royston defence allowing a soft goal and at half-time the score line was 2-2 following a further goal, to put the home side ahead again, from Ollie Stewart which again was quickly equalled.

The second half was little more one way with St Albans capitalising on the fact that Royston only had a bare 11 players and were running out of energy, allowing them to score two without reply.

The women’s 3rds drew with Leighton Buzzard 4ths 1-1. After being thwarted by the opposing goalkeeper on a number of occasions, Royston opened the scoring through Rachael Savage.

In the second half the keeper resumed her good work and Leighton broke away to equalise.