Colchester Hockey Club started the new year in disappointing fashion after sliding to a heavy 4-1 home defeat against Saffron Walden, in East Men's League division one.
The hosts started the game well and played some of the best hockey they had all season.
They moved the ball around well and kept possession for large chunks of the half.
However, Saffron Walden took the lead when their midfielder picked out a forward who drove into the D and wrong-footed keeper Aaron Sime.
But Colchester did not have to wait long to restore parity.
An aerial ball down the left found Mark Prince in space and he showed some nice skill to work his way into the D and pick out Rohan Khaira.
And despite Khaira’s initial effort being saved, he was on hand to lift the ball reverse stick over the Saffron Walden goalkeeper.
Colchester continued to play some nice hockey and managed to force a couple of penalty corners but were just unable to convert.
And on the stroke of half-time Saffron Walden restored their lead, from a penalty corner of their own. Sime saved the initial effort but the visitors kept the ball in the D and forced the ball home, after Alfie Sexton had blocked the second effort.
The game went downhill for Colchester in the second half, with no sign of the fluid hockey they had produced in the first half.
As a result, Saffron Walden took control and a further two goals – one from a penalty corner and another from open play – helped them wrap up their win.
Ellisons Solicitors man-of-the-match was goalkeeper Sime for his great saves.
Colchester’s next game is at Ipswich and East Suffolk, where they will be looking to get their season back on track.
Colchester’s second XI lost 5-0 at Saffron Walden II, a result which left them rooted to the bottom of division 3SE.
There was better news for Colchester’s third eleven, who moved up to fourth place in division 5SE with a 5-4 home win against Old De Ferrians.
Colchester’s fourth XI were beaten 6-0 at Southend III, in division 7SE.