Newark 2nds keeper Lily Dean makes a save from Laura Donaldson, of Newark 1sts, in their league match on Saturday.
Newark 2nds keeper Lily Dean makes a save from Laura Donaldson, of Newark 1sts, in their league match on Saturday.

The championship is at stake in Newark Hockey Club Ladies 1sts’ winner-takes-all clash with second-placed Manning on Saturday.

Newark are hoping to make a swift return to the Midland Region Hockey Association Women’s League Feeder East after relegation last season.

Victory in their final match will seal the Notts Women’s Premier League title, while a draw should also be enough to seal promotion.

They face a stern test at Manning, who inflicted one of Newark’s two league losses and were the odds-on favourites for the league before losing to Southwell Brincliffe United at the weekend.

The teams share an identical record, but Newark have a superior goal difference and kept their hopes alive with a 6-1 win over Newark Ladies 2nds on Saturday.

Coach Arran Coggan, who replaced Paul Halfpenny this year, said he was happy with the way the team had performed.

“They have had Paul as a coach for a number of years and I think he needed a change and the team needed a change,” Coggan said.

“I knew the talent in the squad could take us up the table and we have got there. There have been a few blips along the way but on the whole they have enjoyed their hockey and work well as a team.

“We have seen a few talented individuals work together and show a lot of heart.”
The last time the two sides met was in the semi-final of the Notts Cup, which Newark won 5-4.

'Psychological advantage'

Coggan said: “Before that game I said if we could get the win it would give us a psychological advantage going into the final game.

“We just need to do the things we have been doing in training time and time again.
“It is about keeping possession and letting them run around after the ball. When we start taking on players and lose possession, that is when we get into trouble.”

In their must-win match against Newark Ladies 2nds on Saturday, Amy Crouch broke the deadlock with a sweeping finish into the corner for her first goal of the season.

The 2nds levelled when Sue Tate converted a goalmouth scramble after a good move.
2nds keeper Lily Dean was called into action to make some good saves, including a top-class reaction stop from Laura Donaldson.

Becky Wells eventually added a second with a clinical finish, before Hannah Coe produced an excellent solo run for the third.

The 1sts continued to press to add to their tally, but the 2nds looked strong on the counter-attack.

Donaldson crossed the ball for Dani Ashwell to score and top-scorer Donaldson got on the scoresheet from a penalty corner.

A thumping strike from another penalty corner by Kate Lambert rounded off the victory for the first team.

They are hoping to emulate the Men’s 1sts and Ladies 3rds teams, who both won their respective championships in a successful season for the club.

If the match is drawn, then Southwell Brincliffe United 1sts could theoretically win the championship with an 11-goal margin of victory in their final match at Ashfield Aztecs.