Title bid goes right down to wire for second string

HOCKEY - Bury Ladies v Norwich Dragons. ANL-140317-110413002
HOCKEY - Bury Ladies v Norwich Dragons. ANL-140317-110413002
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Bury St Edmunds Ladies II thrashed local rivals Sudbury II 5-0 to return to the top of the Suffolk Ladies’ League with one game to play.

They are level on points with Ipswich IV ahead of this weekend’s final fixtures, but have a better goal difference of plus-55 to Ipswich’s plus-50.

Bury end their season with a home game against seventh-placed Christchurch II tomorrow (3pm), while Ipswich are at Felixstowe.

When facing Sudbury on Saturday, Bury piled on the pressure in the early stages and went on to dominate the game.

Captain Georgina Snelling won Bury a penalty flick when her shot was kept out by a Sudbury defender’s body on the line and Julie Dunger kept her cool to put the hosts in front.

Four goals followed after half-time as Olivia Rush showed excellent composure to slot the ball between keeper and post, Mazz Chapman bagged a brace and a strong cross from Julie Grayling took a deflection from a Sudbury stick to end the scoring with an own goal.

n Bury’s third string remain in pole position to clinch the Division One title after a 1-1 draw at Ipswich V.

A victory would have clinched them the league on Saturday, but Bury only need to avoid defeat against Ipswich East-Suffolk III at Culford School tomorrow (10.30am) to take the crown.

However, a defeat would leave the door wide open for Ipswich-East Suffolk’s second team to top the table.

With Ipswich V looking to keep their title hopes alive with a victory, Bury had to defend well in the early stages, with Heidi Mathieson making some good clearances and helping Bury to counter-attack up the right side, with Nikki Cole and Sophie Lubbock working well to set up Mel Mathieson in the middle.

However, Ipswich got the first break with a speculative cross from the right that got deflected towards the goal and slipped inside the post. The home team had the momentum and, just before half-time, were awarded a penalty stroke after the ball was illegally stopped on the line.

The Ipswich player pushed a good strike to the right side of the goal, but Elin Griffiths read it well and padded it away to the relief of the Bury team.

After the half time break and some positional changes, Bury started to put some good play together and — with great passing between Chloe Lawson and Nicki Baker Munton on the left — the pressure mounted in the Ipswich circle until Mel Mathieson pushed the ball over the line to give Bury the equaliser.

n Thetford thrashed North Walsham II to move back up to second in Empresa Norfolk Women’s League Division One with one match remaining.

Kathy Hammond hit a hat-trick, Sophie Kelly and Sophie Wheeler bagged braces, while there was a single strike for Karen Hodgkinson.