It turned out to be an excellent weekend for Old Loughtonians’ men who thrashed Richmond 5-1 in the Conference East on Saturday before booking their place in the semi-final of the England Hockey Cup 24 hours later with a 3-1 win over Bromley & Beckenham.
Loughts have not played outdoors since December 1 and the team were expecting a tough test at home to a Richmond side who started the day eighth in the table, five points behind their opponents.
The hosts began the match in dominant fashion and a slick passing move created an early chance for James Jewell, whose shot high towards the goal was well saved.
Jewell had another opportunity soon after from a short corner but his drag flick flew wide of the right-hand post.
The opening goal arrived in the ninth minute however, as Conor Caplan drove inside and passed to Tom Stumbke, who deflected the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.
Two minutes later, Loughts doubled their advantage when James Southgate delivered a hard ball into the D where Jewell found Tom Watson and he finished comfortably to make it 2-0.
It wasn’t long before Loughts extended their lead still further before half-time when Andrew Macgregor shot into the net from close range.
Richmond enjoyed a resurgence in the second period and mounted several attacks of their own but Loughts remained untroubled with Dave Forrester and Stumbke particularly resilient.
Instead it was Loughts who netted next and Jewell was again involved, this time shooting low into the bottom corner to make it four.
Richmond did pull one back soon after but Loughts had the last word when Jewell played in Caplan to score the home side’s fifth and final goal.
The win saw Loughts extend their lead to four points over fifth-placed Bromley & Beckenham, who Loughts knocked out of England Hockey Cup on Sunday.
The 3-1 home victory has psychological signifance too as the sides meet again in a crucial league match on Saturday.
Loughts will take great confidence from the result but will be hoping to start better as they fell behind in the fourth minute via a goal from Kieran Mulholland. The hosts came back strongly though, and went into half-time on level terms thanks to Jewell’s equaliser from close range after Caplan’s shot rebounded kindly off the post.
The visitors could have taken the lead in the second period were it not for good defending from George Farrant and Southgate but when the breakthrough came, it belonged to Loughts.
Jonny Sloman’s shot was saved by the Bromley keeper but Ed Mortimer reacted fastest to slot home for a 2-1 lead.
Loughts assumed control of the contest from then on and Watson flicked high into the net soon after to seal the win and a place in the competition’s last four.
The semi-finals will see Loughts travel to Manchester side Brooklands on March 16.
Loughts ladies drew 3-3 at bottom-of-the-table Chelmsford in the Women’s Conference East.
Collette Ager gave the home side a surprise lead in the 12th minute but Miranda Weeks levelled the score soon after.
Chelmsford were ahead again before half-time when Julia Butterworth found the net but two goals in seven minutes – one from Chloe Rogers and a second for Weeks – turned the game on its head.
There was still time for another goal however, and Chelmsford ensured they took a share of the spoils when Kat Hales made it 3-3.
Loughts ladies are at home to East Grinstead on Saturday.