Sarah has Saints reeling as Royston storm back

PUBLISHED: 14:40 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 15:38 11 May 2010

Royston Ladies 5 St Neots 1 SARAH Buckerfield s hat-trick fired Royston Ladies to a comfortable ­victory over St Neots. Despite going a goal behind early on, Royston fought back and their hard work was rewarded when Kate Nankivell s strike across the pi

Royston Ladies 5 St Neots 1

SARAH Buckerfield's hat-trick fired Royston Ladies to a comfortable ­victory over St Neots.

Despite going a goal behind early on, Royston fought back and their hard work was rewarded when Kate Nankivell's strike across the pitch found Buckerfield, who played in Julie Fuller to slot home with a confident ­finish.

St Neots hit back with a spell of possession and player-of-the-match Mel Harding had to be on her sharpest form in the Royston goal to deny St Neots further goals.

The Crows pushed forward and as a result of some intense pressure were awarded a short corner, with Kirsty McKenzie and Sophie Gathercole combining, with ­Gathercole putting Royston in front.

And Royston had a third moments later, when Gathercole showed her skill once more, rounding three St Neots players and finishing with another fine strike.

In the second half, St Neots came out stronger with Harding on hand again with a couple of fine saves.

However, Royston's forward power proved decisive, Buckerfield ­grabbing two more well-taken goals midway through the half.

It was a pleasing performance by ­Royston, with Harding once again impressing in the Royston goal.

The talented 14-year-old has moved up from the third team, and her ability has already been spotted by the county, with Harding set for trials next season.

Royston III 5 Shefford & Sandy III 1

MAINTAINING top spot in the NE14 Hockey Division 7, Royston's emphatic win over derby rivals Shefford & Sandy showed again that they are the team to beat.

And the home side were 3-1 up at half time, courtesy of Nick Freeman's brilliant hat-trick and impressive showings from Arnie ­Whittaker, Ed Hall and Perry Noble.

There was more of the same in the second half, with Whittaker converting one well-worked move and Paul Visagie extending the lead with another fine strike.

Royston should have scored a few more after creating a host of second-half chances, however, they remain the team to beat with another excellent all round performance.

Royston V 2 Harlow 3

DESPITE the defeat Royston came away from the 3-2 loss against Harlow with their heads held high.

For long spells, Royston matched the play of the higher division Harlow in this entertaining friendly match.

And it was Royston who opened the scoring after 15 minutes when captain Lee Warner's delicate chipped pass was hammered home by Chris Berry.

However, the goal seemed to spur some life into Harlow and with some fine attacking hockey they were leading 3-1 at half time after three well-worked goals.

The second half was a much more even affair, with Royston regularly threatening the Harlow goal, while at the other end Gary Pinner made a number of good saves.

Nigel Phillips did pull one back for Royston, with a fine individual goal following some impressive stick skills that saw him ghost past three Harlow defenders.

Royston IV 4 Bedford IV 1

A HAT-TRICK for Paul Bloomfield set Royston apart as battling eight-man Bedford looked to cause an upset.

For the first 15 minutes the Bedford side battled on with depleted numbers, with the Royston attack battering their defence at every opportunity.

However, the Bedford keeper was more than a match and made a number of key saves.

And when the rest of their squad arrived, it seemed Royston had let the chance slip, as the skill and speed of their arrivals threatened the Royston defence at every opportunity, including one well-taken goal.

However, Royston responded well and 10 minutes later Bloomfield skillfully worked an opening and slotted home a deserved equaliser.

Royston keeper Gary Pinner had to make some vital blocks to keep his side on level terms at half time, as the Bedford attack opened Royston up at will.

The second half then became a midfield battle, with both teams looking for an early opening to get in front.

And after a lot of hard graft, it was The Crows who took the lead when man-of-the-match Steve Welding carved his way through the Bedford defence, with Bloomfield on hand to steer the ball home.

It was a goal that gave Royston an added boost, and shortly after Bloomfield had his hat-trick with another cool strike.

Tim Yow sealed the win late in the half when he converted Bloomfield's strike.

# Royston third and fourth teams meet on Saturday for what promises to be an intense club derby at Bassingbourn Barracks, 3.30pm.

A win for the fourths would push them to within just two points of the third-placed Royston thirds.

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