Top versus bottom yielded no surprises as West Herts men kept up their title charge with a 5-1 thrashing of Norwich City in East Premier A on Saturday.
The result may appear predictable on paper but the Watford side needed to bounce back from a defeat the previous week to maintain their commanding position at the top.
The first goal came from a short corner won by Jason Mallory that gave Daniel Webster the opportunity to drag flick into the bottom right of the goal.
It wasn’t long before the Stags added a second as Webster pressured the Norwich centre back into a defensive mistake and Aaron Mitchell took the resulting free hit quickly to open up a three-on-one with the keeper.
Callum Till drew the stopper and passed across goal to Daniel Scott, who slotted into an empty net.
Just before the break, the Stags thought they had a third but Webster’s shot was ruled out for being too high.
The second half proceeded in a similar vein as another short corner won by Mallory was converted by Webster and Shea O’Sullivan teed up Till for his first goal for the team and West Herts’ fourth.
Till was involved in the fifth too as he tricked his way past a defender and set up Mallory to flick into the back of the net before Norwich scored a late consolation.
The win takes Stags a step closer to promotion as they take on mid-table Bedford tomorrow (Saturday).
West Herts’ mixed team secured progress to the fourth round of the England Hockey Mixed Trophy with a resounding 4-0 win over Eastcote.
Simon Walker scored the first goal from a short corner before Mallory continued his fine scoring run with number two.
A third goal came from the open stick of O’Sullivan before Ellie Soulsby ghosted to the back post to round off the scoring and earn Herts a home tie against Maidstone.
The ladies first team won 4-0 away at struggling Maidstone, but the ladies seconds lost 3-1 at Bishop's Stortford.
Tanita Montgomery netted the seconds’ goal.
The men’s seconds’ survival hopes are all but over after they conceded in the last five minutes to lose 2-1 to Old Southendian.
There was better news for the men’s thirds who won 5-0 against bottom side Southgate Adelaide.
Luke Frey and strikes from Rob Gabriel and Ian Gough sealed victory which still leaves the thirds with a very slim chance of promotion.
The ladies thirds edged a thrilling contest 3-2 against Bishop’s Stortford thirds.
Herts’ early pressure resulted in Lucy Matley firing a flicked shot high into the Stortford goal and the visitors drew level before Laura Payton put the Stags 2-1 up before the break.
The Watford side kept their lead until late on when Stortford equalised again but with two minutes remaining, Charlie Bartlett placed a great reverse-stick shot into the corner of the net to clinch three valuable points.
The ladies fourths can look forward to next season in the division above after rounding off their league campaign with a 6-0 thumping of Broxbourne fourths.
Julie Waring opened the scoring, skipper Rachel Aldridge netted the second and Amy Dewar made it 3-0.
Keeper Mo Armit saved a penalty flick just before the break before Waring netted her second and Aldridge completed a hat-trick.
The result sees the team promoted for a third successive season.
The already-relegated men’s fourths lost 4-2 at home to Bedford fourths with goals from Nari Arjan and a rare strike by James Bryden.
Ellie Kendal and Vicky Vittesse scored the goals in the ladies fifths’ 2-0 win over Royston Fourths.
The men’s fifths, who are also doomed to the drop, went down 3-1 at Blueharts Fourths.
The sixths cemented promotion to Division 7SW with a 2-1 win away at Letchworth.
Stags’ skipper Steve Bold opeend the scoring and Will Shears doubled the lead before the home side scored a late goal with a far-post tap-in.
The men’s sevenths failed to overcome an early two-goal deficit in a 6-3 defeat against Broxbourne fifths.
The Stags’ strikes came from Hayden Langford (2) and Callum Woodage.