EAST MEN’S LEAGUE: Hunter the star of Dereham goal glut

Dereham recorded a stunning 12-3 away victory against Bishop's Stortford on Sunday to maintain their charge for a fourth place finish in East Hockey's Premier Division.

Man-of-the-match Mark Hunter scored four times in the rout, with Rich Stainthorpe, Mike Timm, Matt Turner and Will Edwards scoring two apiece as the Norfolk side become the first Premier A team to reach double figures this season.

The result was the perfect tonic after a frustrating 3-2 away defeat against City of Peterborough II on Saturday, where Dereham created far more chances than their opponents but failed to make the most of their opportunities. Trailing 1-0 at half time, striker Ric Timm levelled shortly after the break but two quick goals gave Peterborough a commanding 3-1 lead in appalling conditions. A penalty corner from Mark Timm gave Dereham a chance of redemption ten minutes from time, but despite constant pressure the Reds just could not get the ball over the goal-line.

Bishop's Stortford's struggles at the foot of the table were also brought into sharp focus by Harleston Magpies, who returned home with an 8-0 victory on Saturday. Tristan Baynes led the way with a hat-trick while the other goals were scored by Rhodri Furlong, Simon Hipwell, Leigh Sitch, Andy Hipwell and Freddie Merrett.

Magpies remain second in the table, four points behind leaders St Albans with a game in hand.

Following last week's defeat in Premier B Norwich City returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory at Havering, achieved with the bare II following withdrawals through illness. City took the lead 15 minutes in when Jez Elliott advanced into the Havering half before slipping the ball inside to Chris Wardale who quickly moved it into the inside left channel where Dave Skinner swept the ball past the advancing keeper.

City missed out on some good chances before increasing their lead three minutes before the break, Skinner adding a second when he deflected in a ball crashed into the top of the circle by Nick Jones.

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After the break City continued to dominate, adding a third 10 minutes into the half when Wardale reacted quickly to retrieve the ball after a block, maneouvre it to his reverse stick and smash home.

City's defence of Chris Perry, George Anthony, Rich Green and Ed Sutton, backed up by keeper Tom Franks, proved difficult to break down although the visitors did concede a late goal from a short corner.

The win keeps City in third place, seven points behind new leaders Cambridge University II and one point ahead of Wisbech who leapfrogged Magpies II – who drew 2-2 with morning leaders Ramgarhia – after a 1-0 win over Waltham Forest.

In Division 2N Norwich Dragons recorded an excellent 5-0 away win against Dereham II. The result puts some daylight between Dragons and the bottom four relegation places, though they are not yet safe.

Dragons opened the scoring in the first half through Steve Woodward, who pounced on the rebound off the 'keeper's pads at a penalty corner.

Dereham pushed hard after the restart but Dragons held firm and extended their lead when a Dereham defender deflected the ball into his own net. Dragons then scored the goal of the game, Alex Browne netting after a swift interchange of passes up the field before Browne and Jason Wolfe completed the scoring. Dave Sloman was man-of-the-match.

The visit of second-placed Bourne Deeping brought a real test of Pelicans' new-found confidence and a a well deserved 2-2 draw spoke volumes. Bourne Deeping went ahead from a short corner after a period of pressure but Pelicans went back on the attack and a good move led to Sean Kerry finding Harry Lankfer in space and he cleverly guided the ball in off the far post.

Pelicans looked like they might be heading for defeat when the visitors went 2-1 up with three minutes left but they responded brilliantly and were rewarded as a loose ball fell to Ruggy Simons at top of the circle and he slotted home.

Norwich City II moved to within touching distance of the Division 3NE title when they travelled to Sudbury II and won 6-1.

City soon took the lead through Adie Land. Sudbury then equalised but it was all City after that, with the goals coming from a Matt Brine hat-trick, Richard Silvester and a first for Oliver Kennard, who has only recently forced his way into the team. Holt Harlequins are now 15 points adrift with five to play after their game with Gorleston was abandoned.

In Division 4NE Norwich Dragons II shared the spoils with Dereham III in a 4-4 draw. Their goals were scored by Andy Kelsall, Dan Cheesman (2) and Cley Hamilton. Unbeaten Norwich Dragons II won 4-1 at Harleston Magpies VI in Division 5NE. On target were Matt Jenkins (2), Jon Price and Adrian Kemp.