Hockey
Relegation fears eased

23/02 Updated: 01/03 15:44

Chesterfield 1 Stratford 2

IMPROVING Stratford eased their Midlands One relegation fears by completing the double over fellow strugglers Chesterfield on Sunday.

Edwards Estate Agents sponsored Stratford were first to threaten when captain Stuart Guise set up Mark Leary who shot narrowly wide.

Chesterfield’s first penalty corner was well saved by Martyn Helliker, whilst a second set piece saw the home team shoot wide.

Stratford took the lead from their first penalty corner which was emphatically finished by Craig McKee.

The advantage was doubled five minutes later through top scorer Mark Leary whose deft deflection wrong-footed the home keeper.

Key to Stratford’s lead was a combination of tight marking by Tom Murray and Jamie Chorley coupled with good use of the ball and patience in possession by midfielders Guise, Greg Ricketts and Dom Howkins.

Chesterfield stepped up their efforts and finally clawed a goal back from a well worked short corner which saw the ball slipped to the left and a shot across Helliker could only be helped into the net by Ricketts.

Stratford were indebted to Helliker for preserving their lead though to half-time when the goalkeeper went full length to turn a shot from a duplicate short corner routine around the post.

Chesterfield pressed for an equaliser in the second half but they were frustrated by a combination of wayward finishing, good defence and an excellent reaction save from Helliker.

A final Chesterfield short corner was deflected wide by the charging man of the match Matt Hyatt to secure a crucial three points for Stratford.

Stratford entertain promotion hopefuls and fierce rivals Wolverhampton at Stratford High School this Saturday.

Stratford had previously battled out a thrilling 4-4 draw at Streetly on Saturday.

The visitors opened the scoring when Terrence Malcolm drove at the Streetly defence and unselfishly set up Richard Stokes who quickly doubled the lead by converting the rebound from a penalty corner.

Streetly reduced the arrears but Greg Ricketts restored the two goal cushion with a rare goal from a penalty corner.

Streetly were next on the scoresheet but Stratford regained their two goal advantage yet again just before the break through the alert Craig McKee.

Streetly hit back strongly in the second half to score twice and snatch a share of the spoils.

Stratford Ladies strengthened their grip at the top of Warwickshire League Division One with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Rugby on Saturday.

Emma Van Der Heyden had an early effort ruled out but the visitors opened the scoring when vice-captain Holly Outhwaite converted a penalty flick.

Good defending from Van Der Heyden, Vicki Guise, Georgie Box and Mel Coleman helped protect the advantage before Juliet Heyworth popped up at the far post to sweep home Emma Kipling’s deep cross and double the lead.

The points were wrapped up with a third first-half goal straight from the training ground when Outhwaite neatly deflected a well struck pass from Melissa Coleman beyond the unsighted keeper.

Stratford, who have no fixture this Saturday, are eight points clear at the top although Warwick do have two games in hand.

Unbeaten Stratford Ladies 2nds defeated Edgbaston 5ths 3-0 through Janie Kerse 2 and Blanche.

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