HOCKEY: St Neots hit for six as Kettering wrap it up in emphatic fashion
Kettering 3rd clinched the East Men’s League Division 6NW(S) title after a 6-0 win over St Neots 4th.
The hosts were a bit too anxious for goals early on but they opened the scoring when Andy Bull fired home a reverse-stick shot across the goal and inside the far post.
And the lead was doubled before the break when good work from Finn Smith and Josh Cox set up Mark Hawkins to score at the far post.
Kettering produced more fluid hockey after half-time and they put the game out of sight when Cox found Bull and his first-time effort found the bottom corner.
Skipper Neil Manley swept home the fourth and youngster Jacob Tattersall, who had seen a penalty flick saved, made it 5-0 from a short corner.
And the win was wrapped up when Harry Chambers found Smith and he picked out strike partner Hawkins who slotted home.
In the end, it was a comfortable victory for Kettering and their consistent run of good form has seen them clinch promotion with two games to spare.
While their club-mates were sealing the title, the fourth team suffered a 5-1 defeat at Cambridge Nomads 3rd in the same division.
Lee Paris grabbed the consolation goal for Kettering late on in the second half.
In Division 2N, Kettering’s first team secured a 2-1 home success over Bourne Deeping 2nd.
Kettering took the lead when man-of-the-match Paul Donnelly scored his third goal in four weeks from a short corner breakdown.
And the lead was doubled in the second half when Pat Cawley fired home.
The visitors pulled a goal back but Kettering saw things out to take the points.
Kettering 2nd travelled to Alford & District with just 11 players but returned with a point after a 2-2 draw.
Kettering took the lead when George York poked the ball past the goalkeeper after a good move involving Jack Bridges and Michael Lavender.
The lead didn’t last long as the hosts hit straight back but Kettering did regain the advantage before half-time when Ben York produced a great finish.
The hosts put the pressure on in the second half but there were chances at both ends before Alford did grab their equaliser when a shot nestled in the corner.
It was a tough weekend for Kettering’s ladies teams.
The firsts remain rooted to the bottom of Division Two in the Midland Hockey League after they went down 2-0 to Stone.
And it was an even tougher day for the young second team who were beaten 7-0 by Belper 2nd in Feeder East.
Kettering travel to fellow strugglers Ashbourne and then Market Harborough in the next two weeks, needing two wins to give them a chance to stay in the league.
The third team’s Northants League Division One local derby with Wellingborough ended in defeat as the visitors triumphed 4-0 while, in Division Two, the fourths were beaten 3-0 by Oundle 2nd.
Kettering’s junior teams were also in action.
The club’s under-12 girls have already qualified for the regional tournament at Beeston at the end of the season and were able to use their match against Northampton Saints as a training exercise.
Kettering started well with some good play from Poppy Smart down the left with support from Ilana Jacobs while Lucy Tanser worked hard in defence.
Saints had the edge as they scored goals while Kettering’s sole reply came from Jane Sigbodhla with a reverse-stick shot.
Kettering included a number of new players in a young under-12 boys team and they were unable to prevent a well-drilled Northampton Saints team from walking away with a heavy win.