With just over a month of the 2017-2018 league season remaining, Alderley Edge HC notched up some important wins this weekend.
The Mens 1st XI outplayed Formby 1s at The Edge to win 5 -2. Crucially, this now sees them climb to second in the North Premier League with six games of left to play and a game in hand over second placed Didsbury Northern. The prospect of promotion is very much a possibility if they retain their current form.
Formby proved difficult to break down in the early stages of the game much to Edge's frustration. Eventually the breakthrough came when the Ben Gregory broke down the left of the pitch, drove into the D, and found older brother Sam who scored from a deflection. The second goal arrived just before half time when a well worked short corner was scrambled past Formby's keeper for Warburton to finish off from a yard out.
Warburton was soon on the scoresheet again early in the second half and Edge looked to be cruising. However, Formby managed to get a goal despite a couple of sensational saves from Edge's goalkeeper Sean Hadfield. Thankfully Edge managed to extend their lead to three goals soon after when Greg Johnson picked up the ball in the D before calmly wrong-footing Formby's keeper and lifting the ball over him to make it 4-1. The action didn't stop there - Edge again then let Formby back into the contest but another well worked short corner routine was finished off in style by Ben Gregory.
The Ladies 1s trip up the M6 to Kendal resulted in a 3-1 win which consolidated their place in the top half of the North Premier League. All didn't quite go according to plan when an early defensive error saw Edge go behind after just six minutes. However, a neatly converted short corner from Sarah Hopkin put them back in contention 20 minutes later. The Ladies played much better hockey in the second half which yielded goals from Issy Reynolds-Duffy and Annie Hebb, both the result of fast-faced breakaways from the half way line.
The Mens 2s endured a feisty away fixture against West Derby 1s in North division 2 which they eventually won 2-1. Edge scored inside the first minute when a long ball from Chris Hardy wasn't properly dealt with by a West Derby defender and Olly Parker was able to round the keeper to score. The score remained 1-0 for the majority of the game with there being a number of green and yellow cards for both sides. Edge produced the majority of the goal attempts but the final pass was often lacking. The breakthrough came with ten minutes to go when Jack Smith stole the ball from the last West Derby defender and calmly slotted the ball into the goal. However, the two goal lead was fleetingly brief as a defensive mix swiftly resulted in a penalty flick which West Derby converted.
The 3s had a great day at the office beating division 3 league-leaders Timperley 2s 4 – 0 at home, the result partially overcoming their frustration at drawing 1 – 1 draw against Timperley 3s the previous weekend. The 4s, however, had an equally frustrating trip to The Wirral losing 2 -4 to Oxton 3s in division 4 after struggling with player availability.
The 5s went some way to making amends for this defeat when they ended their recent run of losses with a fantastic 4 – 0 home win over Oxton 4s. Jon Talbot, Frank Podd and John Hadfield (2) all found the back of the net for Edge. The 6s and 7s lost their respective matches against Bowdon 6s and Urmston 3s.
The majority of the Ladies teams enjoyed a weekend off as the Cheshire League took a half-term break. The exception was the Ladies 3s who played a re-arranged game against Macclesfield 1s. Edge dominated from the outset with Zoe Thomas, a Kings student, playing out of her skin to score two of Edge's three goals. The other came from Amy Colledge a minute after half time. This result saw Edge leapfrog Macclesfield and move out of the relegation zone in Cheshire League division 1.
The all-girls Beavers B team drew 2-2 with a mixed Bowdon A team, Aimee Deverall being one of the stand-out players on the pitch in defence. The C team lost their game against a strong Preston side at Kings Macc.
The U16 boys went into their cup match against Deeside knowing they needed to win big if they were to have a hope of qualifying for the North Regional Finals. They rose to the occasion and came away with a 6 -1 win but now nervously await the results of other pool matches to determine whether they go through or not. Adam Robertson calmly converted two penalty strokes to open the scoring which were followed by open-play goals from Tom Stoner and Barney Wright before half time. Both teams came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and Adam Robertson notched up his second hat-trick in two days before Ben Sharrock sealed the game with a sixth goal for Alderley.
Photo: Greg JOhnson scores for the Mens 1s.
Match report by Sue Polley.