STAFFORD Hockey Club men’s 1st team, continued their positive pre-season progress with an excellent 6-3 victory over higher league and local rivals Stone HC.
In an energetic start, Stafford were certainly not overawed and attacked strongly. Randall Moore won a penalty corner and his shot was saved well by the Stone keepe but it didn't take long for Stafford to take the lead.
Good work by Guy Malpass saw Dan Howe have a shot, which was well saved but Andy Peatfield was able to slot the ball in at the far post.
Soon afterwards Stafford doubled their tally when Peatfield was upended outside of the circle, and Ben Cantrill calmly put the resultant penalty into the corner.
Stone seemed to wake up after this and were able to exert some pressure, winning a corner off Steve Marsh's foot.
Brad Evans in goal got a glove to the subsequent flick but couldn't keep it out.
Stafford then scored a third in similar circumstances, Moore slotting his flick beautifully into the bottom corner.
After the break the game seemed to open up, and Stafford got another goal when Moore lobbed the ball over a stranded keeper, allowing teenager Charlie Trotter to score.
Stone then got themselves back into the game with Lawrence Basset and John Alchin at the heart of most of their good work. Another corner was converted after a deflection off Ben Hollands, and then Bassett grabbed one himself after Simon Parnell failed to stop the ball.
Nerves seemed to be getting to Stafford as Stone then went on to hit the post twice before two late goals from Stafford settled matters.
Moore intercepted a loose pass and smashed the ball into the bottom corner.
Minutes later he unselfishly played the ball to Dan Howe on the far post who deflected it home to take the glory.
In what was an excellent game played and umpired in good spirits, Stafford were very pleased with the performance and despite a superb performance by Moore it was 16-year-old Trotter who took the man of the match award.
Next week Stafford are away to Market Drayton.
Stafford Ladies thirds got off to a bright start in the pre-season Staffordshire third XI tournament at Aldersley Stadium.
Fielding a very young squad with four debutants, Stafford’s first opponents were Leek who were soon pegged back by Stafford’s fast, attacking game. Hannah Cook excelled down the right and the pacey winger set up two quick goals for Kate Pilling and Chelsie Cole.
Next up were Wolverhampton who suffered the same score line, with Pilling and Cole on target again.
But Stafford came unstuck against a strong Bloxwich side, whose ‘keeper was in fine form, pulling off a string of saves.
A superb solo effort from Bloxwich left Stafford with a 1-0 defeat to the tournament’s eventual winners. The final game of the round robin saw a tough test against an experienced Tamworth side.
Impressive performances in defence by Faith Glennon making her debut and ‘keeper Charlotte Eyre ensured a clean sheet and second spot for Stafford.
Saturday sees the start of the league campaign in Division II with newlypromoted Stafford’s opening fixture a stern test at home against Wolves, last year’s Division Three champions.