South Saxons Hockey Club’s ladies’ teams are both basking in the glory of winning promotion.
The ladies’ first team ended its title-winning campaign with an undefeated record.
The Sussex Ladies’ League Division One champions won 1-0 at home to third-placed Crowborough in their final game of the season on Saturday.
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The result meant Saxons won 20 of their 22 games, scoring 89 goals and conceding just nine, and finished six points clear of runner-up Eastbourne 1a.
Saxons started the match confidently, with a gritty determination to finish on a high. Saxons kept Crowborough on the back foot for the first 15 minutes and numerous attempts on goal were thwarted by a resolute Crowborough defence.
Crowborough countered, but Saxons stood firm and continued the pressure by winning a series of penalty corners which they were unable to convert.
A slick move between Amelia Acott and ladies’ player of the season Kat Millar put Millar in front of goal at the top of the D, but the half time whistle sounded shortly before her shot hit the backboard.
Saxons were frustrated to be level at the break, but after an inspiring team-talk from captain Heather Klein, they returned to the field eager to finish the job.
Crowborough came back fighting and won a penalty corner, which was defended well by Saxons, who quickly countered to win a penalty corner of their own.
A trademark penalty corner routine found Mandy Marriott, who struck a shot past Crowborough’s goalkeeper and over the goal-line. But the umpire’s view was obscured and the ball was craftily put back into play by Crowborough.
It was beginning to feel like it was not going to be Saxons’ day, but the rousing support from the sidelines spurred the ladies on.
Another penalty corner ended with ladies’ young player of the year Abi Merison lifting the ball over the grounded goalkeeper for top scorer Marriott to volley into the backboard.
Saxons retained possession as the remaining two minutes ran down and they are now looking forward to playing in the Premier Division next season.
Saxons: Upfold, L. Klein, H. Klein, Marriott, Jenner, Millar, A. Merison, Acott, Jacobs, Cooper, Elion, C. Merison, Redman, Normoyle.
The ladies’ second team, meanwhile, finished its promotion-winning season with a convincing 3-1 victory away to Hailsham seconds. Elysia Wright struck twice and Hollie Pooke also netted.
The Sussex Ladies’ League Division Two runners-up will compete in Division One next season.