Whitley Bay and Tynemouth Hockey Club men’s first team made it three wins out of three when they travelled to Yorkshire to see off newly promoted side Ben Rhydding HC.
A brace from Chris Traynor took his tally to six in three games this season, while Johnathan Stoddart got in on the act with a double as WBTHC went top of the table.
If WBTHC are to consider themselves serious contenders for the league this season, picking up maximum points against the newly promoted teams is a must.
A big change in performances this season has been the speed they have been able to start each game, and like the previous two, they started this one brightly.
WBTHC showed early positive signs of what was to come as they got down the Yorkshire flanks with both Simon Miles and Alex Flynn charging down the lines.
It was not long until this had paid dividends as a cut-back was well saved by the Rhydding keeper, but the prolific Traynor was on hand to dispatch the rebound high into the roof of the net.
Although the visitors dominated possession throughout the second half, they were unable to find another goal from open play or a multitude of penalty corners.
Rhydding did offer a threat on the counter attack, however, young goalkeeper Jordan Thompson was equal to anything they could throw at him.
As the half-time whistle went at least the Yorkshire men could take solace that although only seeing short periods of the ball they were only one goal down and still in the game.
As the second half got under way, WBTHC pressed Rhydding high up the pitch.
A steal from Alex Lockey unleashed fellow forward Andrew Titmus and he dribbled his way into the box past several challenges to get a shot on the Rhydding goal, which again was saved , but once more Traynor was on hand, this time slapping the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0.
WBTHC continued to probe Ben Rhydding’s defence and even when the home side managed to get into WBTHC’s half it led to their detriment, as the visitors broke on the counter and put away their third goal of the afternoon. Again Lockey was on the charge as he found Steven Hill on the edge of the ‘D’, and he fed Stoddart with a cheeky back flick, and he drove the ball low into the Rhydding goal.
Rhydding’s discipline broke at this point as they committed more and more men forward, desperately searching for a goal in reply.
But again this resulted in WBTHC being able to sit back and hit on the counter attack.
This time Traynor was back defending as he picked up a loose ball and fired a disguised 70-yard pass through to the forward line and they won an open sprint race against Rhydding’s defence. The proceeding two-on-one with the goalkeeper was dispatched nicely as the ball was passed around him and slapped neatly into the unguarded goal.
On Saturday WBTHC will face their first major test as they host Sheffield University Bankers, a side who will also be looking to challenging for this season’s premier division one title.
Meanwhile Whitley Bay ladies’ first travelled to Manchester feeling confident off the back of a convincing 4-0 win the previous week. This was in contrast to the opposition, Didsbury Northern, who had suffered a heavy defeat.
Whitley Bay dominated the match, maintaining good shape and building play up patiently throughout.
A series of quick passes early in the first half created the space for Lottie Gill to fire home from the edge of the ‘D’ to give Bay a deserved 1-0 lead.
Soon after good build up play again saw Bay win a short corner which was converted, again by Gill – a low drag flick.
It was 2-0 at the break, but there was a feeling that it could have been a lot more given Bay’s dominance.
Didsbury started the second half brightly but Whitley Bay defended well to restrict them to half chances.
Midway through the second half Joss Plummer scored the goal of the game – a reverse hit shot which rocketed into the top right hand corner, giving the keeper no chance.
It was a strong second half performance and despite creating good opportunities and having the majority of possession, the score remained 3-0.
Whitley Bay will be disappointed they did not take more of the opportunities they created but can be pleased with the three points and a clean sheet.
There is a feeling of momentum and positivity within the squad to build on during the run of good form.