ROUND-UP: Spalding win promotion to the big boys league, March ladies are triumphant
Spalding Hockey Club will be playing East Premier A Division hockey for the first time in their history next season.
Spalding needed a point from their final Premier B Division fixture at promotion rivals Norwich City to ensure runners-up spot behind City of Peterborough seconds.
City are unable to be promoted following their first-team’s failure to win promotion from the Premier A Division. Spalding will now take on City’s powerful first team on equal terms next season.
Spalding had the ideal start when short corner specialist Stuart Cunnington whipped home one of his trademark flicks in the second minute. The home side were on the back foot for some time after this and Spalding came close to adding to their score.
Both sides struggled at time to come to terms with the bouncy pitch and play became scrappy with Spalding having to change their normal pattern of play. The home side forced their first short corner on 20 minutes and managed to scramble home an equaliser.
Spalding bounced back immediately and enjoyed a spell of domination which was rounded off with another Cunnington short corner strike. Just as the half time whistle approached, the ball fell in the path of a Norwich forward who slotted home from close range.
The second half was dominated by aerials with both sides trying to use the bounce to their advantage. As a result, the play became stretched and it was some time before Spalding got back in control. Connor Allen and Harry Vickers both came close to adding to Spalding’s scoreline but were denied by some good keeping.
On the stroke of time, Norwich were awarded a short corner which threatened to snatch victory at the last gasp but Spalding’s defence held firm and the necessary point for promotion was secured.
Other East League celebrations were enjoyed by City of Peterborough fifths who have won Division Four North West and Spalding fourths who won Division Six North West.
Bourne Deeping are promoted from Division One despite losing their final game 8-2 at Cambridge City thirds.
March Ladies first team have won Division Four North West. They finished their season with a 6-1 win over Spalding thirds with goals from Hana Howsam (3), Louise Roberts, Carly Stevenson and Charlotte Tweed.