Melton Hockey: Welch fires debut double in Third XI win

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Melton Hockey Club’s Third XI completed a clean sweep of victories for the men’s teams in the first weekend of the new season, by beating Nuneaton in a game played in excellent spirit.

The hosts fielded a much-changed team from last season, but settled well and took the game to Nuneaton from the start.

Both sides showed expected signs of early season rustiness, but Melton had by far the better of the opening exchanges.

With Foster and J. Welch combining well and controlling central midfield, the attacking full-backs of Courtman and Johnson added presence in midfield.

But Nuneaton’s experienced defence held firm, and Melton were indebted to goalkeeper Cliffe for a smart save from a penalty corner to keep the scores level.

The home side built from the back, with Pateman and Smith pressuring from central defence, and Melton thought they had taken the lead when Shelton scrambled home, only to find the effort disallowed.

However, the breakthrough came soon after when Townley pressured the defence on the right and the ball spilled loose for Boyne to score.

This was shortly followed by a superb debut goal driven home by the hugely impressive F. Welch.

After the break, Melton continued to attack constantly, but again the resolute and well-organised visiting defence held firm, while the home side were wasteful on penalty corners, failing to convert any.

Again Shelton was thwarted from scoring as play was stopped with the ball heading into goal, but Melton’s pressure finally told and another excellent driven shot under the keeper gave F. Welch his second.

The scoring was completed when Boyne rifled home for the home side’s fourth goal.

On Saturday, Melton travel to Market Harborough looking to continue their good start to the season.