CONTRASTING fortunes were in store for both of Olton & West Warwick’s first teams as the outdoor hockey season resumed last weekend.
The men were 4-3 winners in a topsy-turvy encounter away to Sheffield Hallam in Division One North, edging a match that had been more far straightforward in November’s reverse game – when Olton ran out 5-1 winners.
Visitors Olton recovered from a slow start and took an 18th-minute lead when Harry Sherlock turned the ball home from close range, moments after a penalty stroke was kept out by the Hallam keeper.
A second goal followed on 20 minutes, as Joe Paul lashed into the net with a rebound shot from a penalty corner.
Sheffield were not prepared to go down easily, however, and hauled themselves level with two goals in as many minutes.
With the game back in the balance at half-time, a marked improvement in the second half meant Olton ran out comfortable winners, with goals from Steve Batten and Tom Mallett restoring the visitors’ two-goal cushion.
The hosts applied plenty of pressure on the Olton defence in reply and were successful with one of their attacking moves five minutes from the end.
It proved the final goal of the encounter though, keeping Olton’s quest for a top- our finish on track.
Fifth-placed Olton face second-bottom City of Peterborough at Grange Road on Sunday (1.30pm).
A meeting with leaders Leicester City in Division One North of the Investec Women’s Hockey League was a tantalising first match back on paper for the ladies, but ended in a 3-1 defeat at Grange Road.
In the battle of third versus first, it was the table-toppers who dealt first blood with an open-play goal in the 31st minute during a fast-paced first half.
The intensity remained after the restart, as Leicester added to their lead with a quickfire double in the space of two minutes, rendering a late penalty corner goal from Alice Conquest a mere consolation.
A trip to Belper, residing in ninth, is next on the agenda on Saturday (1.30pm).