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Richards blasts Ludlow Hockey up to third
3:01pm Friday 13th December 2013 in Sport
AN Andy Richards strike took down leaders 1st XI League Division 1 West leaders Stafford on Saturday, the 1-0 win extending in-form Ludlow’s run to five games unbeaten.
The hard-fought win moves Ludlow to third in the table, and within a game of leaders Bromsgrove.
Having shown real character to come back from several tough defeats early in the season, Vijay Chumber’s young side will now visit seventh-placed Tamworth full of confidence as they look to continue on this successful run of form.
FREE-SCORING forward Joe Haywood hit his fourth hat-trick of the season for Ludlow Hockey Club 2nd XI in a friendly against Kidderminster – despite playing the first half for the opposition.
A second-half flurry from Haywood, and goals from Tyler Davis and Mike Wilson, saw Ludlow blow Kidderminster away 5-1 despite a nervy opening.
Formed from the remnants of the Kidderminster 1st and 2nd teams who dropped out of the league earlier in the season, spokesman Martin Watts said he expected a tougher game from the Stourport side.
Having loaned out their in-form striker to the undermanned Kidderminster side, Ludlow’s defence was put to the test early.
A restructured back line – with Tom Crump and Jack Phasey filling in as full-backs, and George Borns playing half-back – was given a decent examination from Haywood, with the striker breaking through and drawing several good saves from Henry Downes.
The game remained scoreless until late into the first half when Davis fortunate strike found the back of the net.
“There was little else to celebrate before half-time,” said Watts.
At the break Crump swapped with Haywood – and it was Kidderminster who struck first, but through the Ludlow man.
Crump picked up a poor clearance before slotting home to level the scores.
That goal, however, sparked Ludlow into life.
A tactical shift, dropping skipper Graeme Wilcox deep and pushing Haywood further forward as a target man, opened up the field and Ludlow’s frontline began to enjoy a good supply of quality possession.
Haywood proved to be the prime beneficiary, saving the best for last as he completed his hat-trick by rounding the Kidderminster keeper and finishing cooly into an open goal.
Davis came close to a second, seeing shot well saved, before Wilson rounded out the scoring for Ludlow with a clinical finish from in front of goal.
With no league play until January 18, Wilcox’s side will take on Stafford in a friendly next week before the club’s indoor tournament on December 29.
AN UNSTOPPABLE David Hughes short corner goal proved to be the highlight for Ludlow 3rd XI as they endured a tough day at the office against Stafford.
Strengthened by three 1st XI players, Stafford proved to be too strong, running out 7-1 winners.
Ludlow, playing a man down worked hard, and defended admirably - holding the visitors to a 2-0 half-time score – fatigue, as well as experience, proved to be the difference as Stafford cut loose in the second half.