A much changed Blackpool Men’s first team found it tough going as they went down 7-1 away to Didsbury Northern Men’s seconds in their opening fixture of the season.
The home side dominated from the outset and Blackpool found themselves two behind after 15 minutes.
Both goals came off the back of well worked penalty corner routines, one of which resulted in a converted penalty flick.
Blackpool began to get themselves back into the game with some good movement from Jordan Payne and Dave Morgan (pictured) up front.
However, chances proved to be limited because of the well organised Didsbury defence.
A third goal minutes before the half-time break killed any chance Blackpool had of rescuing a point, but the new-look side battled hard until they end.
Morgan was rewarded with a goal from a penalty corner, but Didsbury immediately struck back and a further three goals in the closing 15 minutes ultimately put them out of sight.
Graeme Kilshaw impressed in his return to the side earning himself Blackpool’s man of the match award while Will Pickles made an encouraging league debut.
The men’s second team were also beaten as they went down 5-2 against their Blackburn Northern counterparts.
The second team started their season with just four of the players who had finished the previous season, due to a lot of player movement in the club over the summer.
However, because of the third team having folded, there was a full squad of 15 for the game.
Many of last year’s third team players stepped up to playing hockey at the higher Division Four North level.
Blackburn scored first but Blackpool started to assert themselves with some crisp passing hockey.
New captain Matt Atherton scored an equaliser from a short corner, and then Blackpool took the lead from a counter attack.
Keiffer Earnshaw pressed down the right wing and crossed to striker Martin Hayes, who struck the ball firmly into the goal.
Blackpool started to rotate their players, enabling breathers for those who were not yet match fit.
The side effect, however, was to disrupt the formation and structure.
As a result, Blackburn were able to equalise themselves to make the game 2-2 at half-time.
The second half was a more end-to-end affair but it was Blackburn who put away their chances and scored three further goals for a 5-2 win.
Blackpool played very well at times and it was an encouraging performance for a newly put together team against last year’s Division 5NN champions.
There was an impressive debut from Tim Wilson and a welcome return for Brent Whiteside after two seasons out of the game.
Lytham Ladies and new coach Raj Toor began the season with a 3-0 home win over Carlisle.
The first goal was a while coming, but came when Georgia Perkins took a brilliant shot on the reverse and slotted it past the keeper.
In the second half, Lytham stepped up a gear and it wasn’t long before Emily Adam’s stepped up to score.
Not long afterwards, a series of superb passes through the midfield ended with Adams’ second goal to complete the scoring.
The seconds were also victorious as they beat Pendle Forest’s thirds 4-3.
Minnie Rogers scored Lytham’s opener but the two sides continued to exchange goals.
Lisa Swaine and Lily Chadwick found the net for Lytham before, towards the end of the game and with the score 3-3, Tia Pumphrey scored while in mid-air to give Lytham their first victory of the season.
However, the thirds were beaten 7-0 by Blackpool’s firsts in a game where they started slowly and did a lot of standing around.
After a good five minutes they got back into their usual rhythm but, as a result of continuously giving away possession, Blackpool scored two messy goals.
Though Lytham remained unable to retain possession, they saw a few near misses from short corners via Molly Turpie, Sally Stone and Jess McIntyre as Blackpool were still 2-0 up at half time.
The majority of the second half was played in the Lytham half with their defenders working extremely hard.
Three more goals were scored by Blackpool, leaving Lytham 5-0 down and wishing they had done more work on their fitness.
Tiredness set in and, towards the end of the match, Lytham conceded two further goals as a result of short corners.
Lytham Men’s first team started the season well with a strong 2-0 win against their counterparts from Lancaster and Morecambe.
Returning from injury, Matt Shawcross put in a great performance up front by starting the scoring with a perfectly executed drag flick from just inside the post.
This was followed by Tom Evans’ well timed deflection between the legs with his back to the goal.
All in all, it was an excellent all-round team performance with a few new faces in the squad this year.
Blackpool Ladies made a fine start to the hockey season with a 7-0 derby win over Lytham 3.
Newcomer Laura Girvan was player of the match, opening the scoring after 20 minutes and adding a second before half-time.
Blackpool defended high and applied pressure as two more new recruits, Claire Nicolls and Terrianne Manning, contributed to a fine team performance.
They added five goals in the second half through Emma Gilfoyle, Danni Parziale, Zoe Wardman, Heather Leonard and captain Beckie Vale.
Special mention also to goalkeeper Sandra Wood and youngest player Katie Ansell.
Rossall Ladies launched their season against Fylde at Kirkham, where Alex Holden’s strike was converted by Sam Evans on the rebound after an excellent run down the right by Lucia Stefani.
There was chances at either end in the second half but it remained 1-0 to Rossall, who hit a post from a short corner.
Alice Young was voted player of the match, while Hannah Jenkinson in goal and right-back Nicky Swaine deserve special mention for keeping the Fylde attack at bay.