HOCKEY: OLTON Ladies opened their Investec Ladies League Conference campaign with a two-goal loss against newly relegated Reading.
Significant changes have been made to Olton Ladies since last season – and though the scoreline was not the start the club had hoped for, the side displayed signs of promise.
With opening day nerves settled in the warm-up, Olton started the game well.
A simple and smart game plan was followed by Olton with good link ups made across the pitch.
Though chances were there for the taking in the opening half, Olton failed to score – something which would later come back to haunt them.
Sally Walton’s side started the second half well with a string of short corners being forced, but again with no result.
Reading later took advantage of Olton’s lack of finishing as they scored their first goal in open play – and quickly added a second following a penalty corner.
Coach Walton said: “Although we’re disappointed with the scoreline, we will take the positives and move on.
“Next week’s game against Stourport will be a tough battle. We’re focussed on that.”
Men’s win on the road
OLTON’s new Men’s Western Hockey Conference season started with a lengthy trip to Devon to face West Isca.
Debuts were handed to Harry Sherlock, Dave Ebbage, Alex Cook, and Jacob Fenwick.
The visiting side – which made the trip down the night before – made a positive start when a strike flashed across the face of goal in the opening 20 seconds of the game.
It took Olton just seconds later to open the scoring when Martin Ebbage fired his side into the lead with a reverse stick shot across goal.
Their lead was doubled moments later when an initial shot from a penalty corner was charged down, which allowed new recruit Harry Sherlock to hit home the rebound.
Tom Wadsworth added Olton’s third goal after Alex Edmonstone miscued his shot across the goal face.
Though Olton made an unquestionable start to the game, the home side eventually found their feet – registering their first goal on 23 minutes.
A series of misplaced passes led to Olton making several key errors, which handed West Isca a way back into the game.
A quick break meant Isca scored their second goal on 58 minutes with a simple shot which beat Alex Cook in goal.
Having built an early three goal lead though, Olton were determined not to let their lead slip.
With ten minutes remaining, Olton took control of the game with a fourth goal to secure the three points.
The Men’s are next in action on Sunday at home against Bath Buccaneers, 1.30pm.
Picture: Manjit Narotra.