Thorough pre-season preparations paid off for Melton Hockey Club’s First XI as they put eight goals past Leicester Westleigh in their league opener on Saturday.
First XI veteran and team coach Leighton Davies collected his first of five goals when he calmly flicked the ball past the Westleigh keeper.
Willcock doubled the lead when he hassled the defence before slipping the ball under his shoulder and past the keeper, and Davies soon added his second, tidily flicking in from a corner.
Melton’s defence of Pollard, Judge, Brown and Messina had only a loose few balls to contend with for the opening 25 minutes as Davies scrambled in his hat-trick goal at the other end.
Making it look far too easy, he then took the ball off a bewildered defender and knocked in his fourth.
The visitors would not lie down, however, picking up a loose ball and drifting past the hosts for a tap-in.
But with the tempo high, Melton midfielders Durrant, Eden, Butcher, Hewitt and Brooks moved the ball with ease into Westleigh’s area for the bench warmer Pete Taylor to collect a loose ball and fire it in.
The second half saw a disgruntled Westleigh pushing into Melton’s area with pace and handing out hard tackles on Messina and Brooks.
But keeper Nick Eden dominated his area, and was quick to clear loose balls, backed up by Pollard and Brown on the goal-line.
Melton’s form was slipping as 20 minutes passed without a goal despite close calls from Hewitt, Durrant and Davies.
But it was Davies who struck again, converting another penalty corner and beating a floundering keeper to claim his fifth.
Melton were camped in the visitors’ half and found it tough to break down the plucky defensive line until Taylor smashed a reverse-stick shot through the crowd into the net for his second and taking the scoreline to 8-1 at the final whistle.
On Saturday, Melton Firsts travel to Nottingham Trent University where they will need to pull out another sturdy performance against very well-organised opponents.
Melton: N. Eden, J. Judge, M. Messina, S. Pollard, A. Brown, C. Eden, C. Durrant, J. Butcher, J. Hewitt, J. Brooks (c), D. Willcock, L. Davies, P. Taylor.