Sheffield Hallam Civica 2Deeside Ramblers 4

JAMES Warburton and Ali Ghazanfar were the sharpshooters who maintained the Ramblers’ comfortable points cushion at the top of National Conference North.

On paper, the trip to mid-table Sheffield looked a mere formality – but the Yorkshiremen made life more difficult than that for their in-form visitors.

Warburton opened the scoring on 17 minutes from open play before Ghazanfar applied one of his speciality finishes to a penalty corner.

Sheffield hit back to halve the deficit five minutes after half-time through Dafyyd Charles. But two goals in 60 seconds, again from Warburton and Ghazanfar, meant Charles’ second strike four minutes from time was a mere consolation.

Ramblers are at home to Barford Tigers on Saturday.

Ramblers 3rds went to Rhyl and suffered a 2-1 defeat in the first game they had played without their skipper for two years.

The absence of Phil Winward showed and, despite stand-in skipper Ed Lowe’s strike, they were doomed to fail from the off.

Despite the setback, Ramblers remain second in the North West Hockey League Division Two table.

Ramblers Ladies received just reward for their endeavour as they defeated Bowdon 4-0 at home.

Katie Saunders was first to strike after 10 minutes following an impressive display of individual skill.

The second came following an excellent switch of the ball from right to left, and a shot from Rachel Dathan which was parried into Saunders’ path for 2-0.

After the break Deeside took control again and extended their lead via Nicky Roberts, who slammed home a rebound from a short corner before she bagged her second with a fantastic first time strike.