HOCKEY: St Neots Men’s 2nds taste defeat for the first time in 18 months, but three teams do start the new season in winning style

They went unbeaten throughout the 2015/16 season, but St Neots Men's 2nds lost on the opening day of

They went unbeaten throughout the 2015/16 season, but St Neots Men's 2nds lost on the opening day of the new campaign. - Credit: Archant

There will be no repeat of St Neots 2nds unbeaten heroics this season.

The Saints side went through the entire 2015/16 campaign without tasting defeat as they stormed to the Division Five North-West title in the East Men’s League, but they look set to face considerably tougher challenges in their new home in Division Four North-West judging by a 7-2 defeat to Kettering 1sts on the opening day of the new campaign – a first loss since March, 2015.

St Neots 1sts enjoyed a smooth start to the new Division Three North-West campaign as Garth Mooney, Adam Maltby and Jamie Cluer hit the goals in a 3-0 win against Spalding 3rds.

St Neots 3rds picked up a point in their curtain-raiser in Division Five North-West as a Kevin Sequenza equaliser earned a 1-1 draw against Kettering 2nds.

St Neots 1sts suffered disappointment on the opening day of the East Ladies League season.

They were beaten 3-0 at Spalding 1sts in a Division Two North-West clash where they received no reward for a much-improved second-half display. Lisa Gibbie came closest to scoring for St Neots when seeing her deflection cleared off the goal-line.

St Neots Ladies 3rds made an encouraging start in Division Four North-West (South) with a 4-0 triumph against Newmarket 4ths as Sophie James and China Saywell both bagged braces, and there were more positive results for the St Neots teams playing in the Five Counties Women’s League.

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Sophie Draper struck the goal that earned St Neots 2nds a pleasing 1-1 draw against a Hertford 3rds side, who finished above them last season, in Division Three.

And the 4ths were in fine form as they roared to a 4-1 success at Sandy & Shefford 4ths in their first-ever match.

The team, made up of young players and more experienced ladies returning to the sport, delivered an impressive display.

Hannah Sutton slotted the first goal from a penalty corner before Nicola Griffiths doubled the lead.

Goalkeeper Donna Selsby was required to make a number of fine saves before Eleanor Pybus and Bridget Bickley added further goals for St Neots. The hosts hit a late consolation.