Champions! Wisbech Ladies 1sts lift the title after dramatic draw
- Credit: Archant
Wisbech Town Hockey Club’s Ladies’ first team are preparing for life in the East Leagues Premier Division after sealing a sensational Divison One North title last weekend.
Tensions were high prior to the Ladies’ meeting with league strugglers Blueharts 1sts, as Wisbech knew they had to avoid defeat to clinch the title.
The visitors began nervously, with hosts Blueharts forcing an early penalty corner that was dealt with well by the Wisbech defence.
Wisbech took the lead – and had one hand on the title – when Charlie Paine slotted home midway through the first half.
Blueharts responded well, but more determined defending from Wisbech kept them one up as the teams entered the half time break.
The hosts continued to pressurise the Wisbech defence early in the second period, and their dominance paid off when a dubiously awarded penalty corner was converted to level the scores.
Wisbech came agonisingly close to snatching the victory late on when Joey Gomm was superbly set up by Lisa Williamson, but the attacker fired wide.
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The visitors had chances to take all three points late on, but a draw was enough to see the side in red leap into the Premier Division as champions by one point, and star forward Williamson was delighted with her team’s title win.
She said: “The season has been a huge success. It’s a massive achievement for us to be promoted into the Premier Division, we’ve played consistently very well as a team with a few outstanding individual performances.
“The fact we have had eight different goalkeepers over the course of the season is a credit to our outstanding defence record. Next season the aim will be to remain in the Prem - something I believe we can do with a few new additions and hard work from the squad.”
Wisbech Ladies 2nds are also celebrating after pulling off the great escape and securing their Division Two North-West status in dramatic fashion - coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with champions St Ives 1sts.
Having secured victories in their last two league games, Wisbech knew they were the masters of their own destiny and could escape relegation if they could avoid defeat in their final match of the season.
They faced a home tie against table-toppers St Ives 1sts, who made the strange decision to travel with a squad of 13, but not field a goalkeeper.
Wisbech’s make-or-break tie started disastrously, with the runaway league leaders surging into a two goal lead.
The hosts didn’t allow their heads to drop, and reduced the deficit in the dying stages of the first half through vice-captain Lou Sandall.
Wisbech, buoyed by pulling a goal back, carried their momentum into the second period, and sealed their safety with five minutes left on the block thanks to a superb strike from Alice Salmon, who turned on a sixpence to fire into the bottom corner.
The final whistle was greeted with elation from the Wisbech camp, who survived the drop by one point.
Wisbech’s men had a less successful end to the season, with the men’s 1sts receiving a 6-1 hammering from Harleston Magpies 2nds.
The 1sts finished their up-and-down campaign in eighth in the East Men’s League Premier B Division, forty points behind champions Letchworth 1sts.
Similarly, Wisbech 2nds were on the end of a defeat, losing 3-2 to City of Peterborough 5ths.
Wisbech’s narrow defeat – their thirteenth of an inconsistent season – sees them finish their Division Three North-West campaign in eighth.
Wisbech 3rds played their penultimate match of the season last weekend, producing a professional performance to take a 2-0 victory over Bourne Deeping 3rds.
The 3rds sit in ninth in Division Four North-West, and finish their campaign on April 2 at home to Spalding 2nds.
And finally, Wisbech Town men’s 4ths will be glad to see the end of the season after a torrid campaign finished in defeat once again.
The 4ths miserable season, in which they have lost 19 out of their 22 league encounters, concluded with an 11-0 humbling at the hands of mid-tablers Long Sutton 3rds.
The 4ths will now prepare for next season in Division Six North-West, having dropped out of Division Five North-West along with Cambridge South 4ths.