St Ives Ladies 2nds gained an early advantage over their first-team on the opening day of the East Women’s League season.

Both sides play at Division Two North-West level this term and the 2nds got off to the best start.

Holly Stride struck twice as they beat Newmarket 3-1 – a success also featuring a goal from Sally King.

St Ives 1sts, bidding to bounce back following relegation last season, were held to a 2-2 draw at Spalding.

They saw a two-goal cushion – provided by a brace from Helen Clarke – wiped out late on in the second half.

St Ives 4ths were comprehensive winners in their Division Five North-West (South) curtain-raiser as they thumped Wisbech Town 3rds 5-0.

Pauline Hammond provided two of the goals with Sophie Burnley, Bryony Eacott and Layla Keating also on trget.

St Ives 3rds were thumped 5-1 by Cambridge City 5ths. Mel Wood hit their consolation goal in the Division Four North-West (South) drubbing.

St Neots boast the two highest-ranked ladies sides in the area and they had differing starts to the new campaign.

Their 1sts were beaten 2-1 by Cambridge University 2nds in Division One North of the East Women’s League. All the goals arrived in the first half with Kirsty McKenzie’s strike briefly having the Saints side on level terms before they conceded again just before the break.

But St Neots 2nds fared better as they launched their debut Division One season in the Five Counties Women’s League with a 2-1 success against fellow promoted side Bedford 4ths.

Sue Glover grabbed both goals before the local ladies held firm to make a winning start after seeing their advantage halved.

St Neots 3rds were beaten 2-0 by Letchworth 4ths in their Division Three opener while the 4ths went down 3-0 at Royston 2nds in Division Four North-West (South) of the East Women’s League.