HOCKEY: Mark Leigh scored a stunning hat-trick as Winnington beat hosts South Cheshire 3-2, but said afterwards: 'It should have been four!'
All his goals came from a range of penalty-corner strikes supporting the claim he is the master technician in the North West League.
In between the goals South Cheshire showed that they were an able outfit. They equalised twice with open play goals squeezed into narrow spaces, the second one came from a breakaway and although well-taken showed that it was the only way they were going to score.
With the defence tightening up in the second half the draw, at least, was secure. John Paul Dodd, Dennis Topping and even members of the crowd were spoken to by the umpire in an effort to calm down their over-zealous efforts.
Leigh's and Park's winning goal came midway through the second half when David Hunt was scythed down in front of the South Cheshire goal. From the resulting penalty-corner, rather than take the aerial route, Leigh smashed the ball into the bottom corner. The ball had rebounded out of the goal before the goalkeeper had finished his dive.
Park ladies rested a number of regulars and included some promising Under 19s in an A side, beaten 6-1 by Macclesfield, the Cheshire League leaders, in a friendly.
Poor marking and concentration let down Winnington, for whom Lizzie Chambers was on the mark.
Park have three remaining league games - including Macclesfield in the last match of the season - and must win them all to have a chance of returning to top flight, North League hockey next season.
On Saturday they are at home to Acton (2.10pm).