WILMSLOW Hockey Club men’s team started their post-Christmas promotion push with a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Stockton.

They started well and pressed their opponents into errors in the first 10 minutes and took a deserved lead when Pete Hallinan slotted home at the back post.

Stockton’s game plan was to break quickly with long balls up the pitch and this worked for their equaliser.

Wilmslow naively turned the ball over near the Stockton goal and were punished by a long aerial over the Wilmslow defence and a smart finish from Stockton’s target man.

Stockton took the lead shortly after half time when a missed interception in defence let Stockton in to play it around Elliot Bullman in the Wilmslow goal.

This finally jolted a lacklustre Wilmslow into life.

Man-of-the-match Hallinan levelled the scores with a superb solo effort, picking the ball up in the Stockton half and taking on two defenders before sliding the ball past the Stockton keeper and into the bottom corner.

One minute later, Wilmslow were ahead. A swift attack down the right-hand side saw the ball break to Andy Hunt who finished emphatically to give Wilmslow a 3-2 lead.

Stockton threatened with a flurry of short corners but Bullman made one particularly sharp stick save low to his right to preserve the Wilmslow lead.

The men in orange calmly saw out the final stages of the game to earn second place in the league table.

Local bragging rights add extra spice to games between Wilmslow and Macclesfield and the visitors’ first team fought hard to draw 3-3 with Wilmslow seconds.

The men’s thirds and fourths lost to Winnington seconds and Crewe thirds but the fifths had an excellent 1-1 draw with Macclesfield fourths.

Wilmslow ladies made a poor start to the new year following up Saturday’s home 2-0 defeat to Kendal with an away defeat on Sunday to Lytham St Annes.

The absence through long-term injury of captain Charlotte Kelman robbed the defence of its previous invulnerability and up front Lindsay Rachubka laboured in vain without the stickwork skills of her strike partner Carla Botha, another injury victim.

This should not take away from a Kendal team which was efficient and defended well in the 25 keeping at bay wing runs from Maddy Troup and Hannah Coulson and pressure from Danni Harvey.

Unfortunately two defensive errors proved costly.

Best news for the women’s teams was a 2-1 away victory for Wilmslow seconds with a makeshift defence against old foes Runcorn.

The ladies thirds and fifths both lost to Timperley and Alderley teams 0-3 and 0-2 respectively.

The fourths ground out a 1-1 draw with Golborne seconds.

More dropped points but still in second place.