HOCKEY: Double from Rob helps St Neots 1sts do the job in East Men’s League opener

Chris Butterworth delivered a man-of-the-match performance as St Neots 1sts made a winning start in

Chris Butterworth delivered a man-of-the-match performance as St Neots 1sts made a winning start in the East Men's League. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

St Neots 1sts passed a tricky test on the opening day of the new East Men’s League season.

The local side eased to a 4-0 triumph at newly-promoted Wisbech Town 2nds in their Division Three North-West curtain-raiser last Saturday.

Brett Nunn settled any nerves with an early opener before Bradley Forsdick tucked away a penalty after Rob Mitchell had been brought down by the Town goalkeeper.

Mitchell then took charge of scoring duties in the second period by adding a brace to double the Saints’ tally. His second goal arrived courtesy of a fine assist from debutant Luca Moor.

A smart late save from captain Ben Seaber clinched a clean sheet while Chris Butterworth took the man-of-the-match award.

St Neots also enjoyed early-season derby delight as their 2nds saw off St Ives 3rds 3-2 in a Division Five North-West thriller that came complete with a late twist.

Phil Leyshon pounced on a rebound to put the St Neots side ahead and was also involved in the move that led to Adam Horlock doubling their lead.

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But their lead was wiped out in the second period. Tom King Venables halved the St Ives 3rds deficit before Joe Warr brought them level with five minutes to go.

But St Neots 2nds delivered an immediate and impressive response as Gareth Thomas gratefully tapped in after a Leyshon shot hit a post.

There were heavy defeats for the other three St Neots sides. Their 3rds were bashed 11-0 at Leadenham 2nds in another Division Five North-West fixture while the 4ths (4-0 at Cambridge South 5ths) and 5ths (5-0 to Wisbech Town 4ths) were both seen off in Division Six North-West (South).

St Ives 5ths were also beaten in the bottom division, going down 5-1 to Kettering 4ths with Neil Tuffin hitting their consolation.

But St Ives 4ths enjoyed success at the same level as a pair of Harrison Kemp goals earned a 2-1 win against Kettering 3rds.

Further up the East Men’s League ladder there were also losing starts for St Ives’ leading male sides.

The 1sts were pipped by a single goal when beaten 1-0 by Cambridge Nomads in Division Two North while the 2nds went down 3-2 at Leadenham in their first Division Three North-West outing after winning promotion last season. Ben Pearson and Nat Edwards scored their goals.