Players lack killer instinct

HockeyCambridge University 2 Ipswich 2Crane I 5 Sudbury 1Safron Walden III 2 Crane II 2Sudbury 4 Felixtowe 3A new-look Ipswich side snatched a point against Cambridge University on the opening day of the Printwize East Premier Division A season.Ipswich dominated the first half but failed to score and Cambridge finally broke the deadlock, courtesy of a well-rehearsed short-corner routine midway through the second half.

A new-look Ipswich side snatched a point against Cambridge University on the opening day of the Printwize East Premier Division A season.

Ipswich dominated the first half but failed to score and Cambridge finally broke the deadlock, courtesy of a well-rehearsed short-corner routine midway through the second half. From the top of the circle Simon Marshall found Robert Fulford, who deflected the ball past Ipswich keeper Stuart Hendy.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in a ten minute spell which saw them reduced to nine players and concede another goal. Asif Rais stopped the ball on the line with his foot and Ali Arshad scored from the spot.

There were only one-and-a-half minutes remaining when Simon Miller fought his way past the Cambridge defence and his shot was neatly deflected home by Richard Stainthorpe.

A lucky deflection gave the visitors a long corner which was blasted into the D to Richard Fox, who was fouled before he could shoot.

The umpire blew for the short corner and then blew to signal the end of the game.

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With the short corner having to be played, Ipswich had one chance to snatch a point. The short corner was neatly switched to Ivan Smith who found Stainthorpe, who rounded the keeper before being cynically stick-blocked by Richard Little.

The umpire had no hesitation in

awarding a penalty stroke. Up stepped the experienced Chris Palmer, who made no mistake and flicked the ball low to the keeper's right.

In the opening league game of the season Crane recorded a resounding victory against youthful and spirited opposition.

Sudbury took an early advantage from a well-converted penalty flick. Brothers Peter and Mark Day responded with three goals from open play to make it 3-1 at half time.

Mark day showed his early season form by completing his hat-trick with a spectacular narrow angle shot from inside the D. Stu Thompson completed the scoring late on from an acute angle.

Due to illness, injury and work commitments Crane II went to Saffron Walden with only eight players. However, Crane not only successfully defended against superior numbers, but led twice in the match.

All the goals came in the first half with Dan Murray saving a penalty flick towards the end of the half to ensure it was all square at the break.

Cranes' attacks were limited in number and mostly comprised of swift breaks and five minutes from the end could have pinched a winner, but for an unkind bounce.

A superb Sudbury fightback saw off a spirited Felixstowe side in the opening East Division Two North fixture of the season.

Rob Tarrant and Ashley Toi made their debuts for Sudbury, who took the lead when Nick Keefe blasted the ball through the keeper's legs from a penalty corner.

Felixstowe equalised from a penalty corner of their own. The initial shot was blocked, but the ball broke kindly and was dispatched into the corner of the goal.

Felixstowe took the lead from a quick breakaway and made it 3-1 when a fine pass was finished with a superb lob over the advancing Andy Stopps in the Sudbury goal.

Sudbury reduced the deficit when Simon Cardy was on hand to slot the ball over the line from close range and Toi capped his league debut by smashing the equaliser past a motionless visiting keeper after good approach play from Tiger Minter and Gavin Ratcliffe.

From a penalty corner straight off the training pitch, Keefe grabbed his second of the afternoon from close range after a move involving five Sudbury players.

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