Melton Hockey Club: Mixed fortunes for First XI

Chris Foode at full-stretch to make a block for Melton Firsts EMN-161018-093318002

Chris Foode at full-stretch to make a block for Melton Firsts EMN-161018-093318002

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Due to an abandoned game in week one, Melton Hockey Club’s First XI were given the tough task of playing two games in two days.

Fortunes varied dramatically over the games, but effort levels were high throughout.

Sam Pollard gets in a challenge against Market Harborough EMN-161018-093329002

Sam Pollard gets in a challenge against Market Harborough EMN-161018-093329002

Market Harborough arrived on Saturday depleted by injuries, and Melton bossed the game from the start.

They showed little sympathy for the visitors’ situation as they raced into an early lead when Kendall converted a rebound after Hewitt’s short corner was saved by the goalkeeper.

Harborough almost equalised when they were awarded a penalty stroke, but their forward could only flick wide of Eden’s goal.

Melton punished the mistake as good work down the left from Foode and Willcock released McQuillan whose mis-hit shot was deflected in by the diving Kendall.

Further assists for Durrant, Willcock and Hewitt, saw Kendall go on to monopolise the scoring with a five-goal haul, as the team ran out comfortable winners.

With a much-changed side for the following day’s match at Melton Sports Village, the hosts were unfortunate to lose to a tough John Players side.

It could have been 3-0 to Melton before Players had their first attempt on goal, with the opposition goalkeeper making several saves.

Players took the lead from a short corner against the run of play, leaving the home side to continue to press for the rest of the half.

In the second half good work from Lark put in Hewitt down the right, and his pinpoint cross was converted by Kendall to equalise.

The game could have gone either way from there, but after the umpire failed to spot the ball going off the pitch, Players sneaked a very fortunate goal to go back in front.

They extended their lead with another short corner, but continued to look shaky at the back.

Melton’s day was summed up when they were awarded a penalty stroke for a foul by the goalkeeper, only to see it to be overturned controversially.

Despite the Players’ goalkeeper needing to be restrained from confronting the umpires, the decision was taken to reverse the penalty because of a technicality spotted earlier in the build-up.

It wasn’t to be Melton’s day, despite a valiant effort from all, as the lack of substitutes proved crucial.

Tired legs tried to fight back, but Players held on for a hard-fought win.