Poynton rattled high-fliers Canterbury in their first game at these heights and have suffered a range of narrow defeats against the best. But with key players out, Helen Armishaw (still off with a broken finger) and Sarah Newman (through pregnancy.) Poynton were always struggling with only two on the bench and Leicester had seven to choose from and were constantly able to sub and refresh whilst brave, hard fighting locals Poynton, with their mix of youth and experience, just battled on. Poynton couldn't capitalise when the opportunities came up failing to put away four penalty corners with Leicester converting three corners with two further goals in open play.
England international Crista Cullen hit the first in seven minutes from a short and at 21 minutes, after a goal mouth scramble, Leicester's Hannah Smith scored again with an open play goal. Christa scored again after thirty four minutes from another penalty corner after another goal mouth scramble. (Her two goals took Cullen's English Hockey League goal tally for Leicester to 33, making her joint top scorer with her GB colleague and team mate Beckie Herbert.) Poynton defended well for much of the second half before the two late goals sealed the three points for the visitors. Vanessa Hawkins buried a penalty corner at 63 minutes and five minutes later Kate Sharland sealed victory. Leicester move up to third in the table following the victory but are still five points adrift of runaway league leaders Bowdon Hightown who maintained their 100% record this season beating Slough 4-1 at South downs Road
It appears that Leicester themselves may well suffer from lack of squad depth in future games this season with coach Danny Kerry having determined he requires his core GB squad players to focus on training and not be distracted by club calls. Given that Leicester have potentially eight players under consideration for the training squad and, for example Bowdon just two, Leicester look set to suffer more than any other club in the premiership and indeed it may have serious consequences for their ambitions of retaining the national title.
Next weekend sees a must-see local Derby between Poynton and Bowdon (at South Downs Road ) with Leicester at home to Canterbury.
More images from the game here Poynton v Leicester
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse
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