Hockey round-up: Four Reynolds is a jolly good player

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MILTON Keynes Hockey Club’s ladies were back in the goals again on Saturday as they thrashed top of the table Reading to put the disappointment of suffering their opening defeat of the season firmly behind them.

After going down 3-0 to Bracknell the previous weekend, the ladies made the long trip to league leaders Reading determined to right the wrongs of that defeat, and did just that thanks mainly to four goals from Sophie Reynolds and another for Gemma Meredith helping them to a 5-2 win.

They came after the game didn’t quite start to plan for MK as Reading took the lead in the early stages and soon doubled it not long afterwards.

However, MK were determined not to let this game go by and piled the pressure on the Reading defence, giving Meredith the opportunity to pull a goal back with his first of the day.

Buoyed by that strike, the team upped their intensity and pace, giving Reading no time on the ball. Player of the match Laura Browne played a fantastic game in midfield, linking well with the defence and attack to enable MK to maintain the pressure. And the visitors got their reward when they levelled the score through captain Reynolds as she fired home a penalty corner.

And then just minutes later she slotted the ball home again to completely turn the game on its head and give MK a 3-2 lead going into the break.

In the second period the visitors played some fluid, two-touch, passing hockey and the defence of Steph Bates, Sarah Lowry and Dee Davis put together some excellent hockey, giving Reading very few good goalscoring opportunities, and any possible chances were dealt with comfortably by goalkeeper Laura Pellington-Woodrow.

Despite having a larger squad of players than MK, it was Reading who seemed to be unable the maintain the pace and MK started to exploit the Reading defence all over the pitch, Chrissy Little, Helen Cooke, Charlotte Batty and Mally Dolphin working well in midfield, producing some driving runs and linking up with forwards Lou Reynolds and Kate Cash and creating many goal scoring opportunities. MK’s pressure was rewarded when Reynolds fired home a reverse stick goal from the narrowest of angles to make the score 4-2.

Reading pushed for another goal but the game was wrapped up with only a few minutes to play when a great ball in from Davis allowed Reynolds to score her fourth and MK’s fifth of the match and to give MK an emphatic 5-2 victory.

Having played half their league games, MK sit second in the table and will aim to continue their fine form and to keep up the pressure on Reading when they play away at Oxford Hawks next.

After their 10-0 thrashing of Oxford seven days earlier, the ladies’ 2nds were dropped back down to earth with a bump as they lost 1-0 to Windsor, despite the efforts of player of the match Kerri Pellington-Woodrow.

A Jo Hayward hat-trick helped the ladies’ 3rds to a 4-3 victory over Oxford, with Susan Watkins scoring their other goal. The ladies’ 4ths enjoyed a 1-0 victory against Stevenage with the only goal coming via a short corner from Dani Russell.

Milton Keynes men’s 2nds were held to a 1-1 draw by Ashford. Despite the home side enjoying most of the chances, the first half ended with no score. However, it didn’t take MK long to force the breakthrough in the second half as Stephen Ruse fired them in front via the aid of a deflection off a defender’s foot.

That wasn’t the end of the story though as the visitors forced an equaliser as MK failed to clear their lines from a series of short corners and the ball ended up in the back of the net.

The men’s 3rds cruised to a 3-1 win over Tring thanks to goals by Matt Darvell, Nick Lygobaker, Kevin Mayles and Alex Richards in the first half.

MK were reduced to 10 men in the second half with Will Luther seeing yellow, but despite that Tring could only manage one goal back past MK keeper Alan Phillips.