Hockey: Lancaster promoted but miss out on title

Nicola Conway for Lancaster 1s.
Nicola Conway for Lancaster 1s.

Lancaster 1s’ hopes of lifting the league title were dashed on Saturday when they were beaten 3-1 away at Harrogate, meaning Newcastle finish the season in top spot.

However, despite the disappointment of missing out on winning the league, Lancaster still finished in second place and achieved back to back promotions.

Lancaster nearly made the perfect start after 10 minutes when Ali Standeven-Johns rounded the keeper but saw her shot saved off the line.

Julie Walker and Nicola Conway also went close but found Harrogate’s keeper in spectacular form. Only five minutes later, Harrogate took the lead when, after Leighan Bleasdale made a great initial save, the ball fell to a Harrogate forward who swept the ball home.

Lancaster went back on the offensive and top goalscorer Nicola Conway scored a great reverse strike to bring Lancaster level.

Harrogate were quicker and stronger in the 50-50 challanges and were flooding players forwards.

They scored their second goal just before the break which left Lancaster feeling a little flat.

Into the second half and Lancaster seemed to lack their usual tenacity and Harrogate looked the more likely to score.

However, Lancaster kept pushing and from a penalty corner, Hayley Standeven-Johns got a great deflection but saw the ball skim the outside of the post.

With Lancaster pushing forwards looking for an equaliser, Harrogate found themselves with a lot more space in Lancaster’s half.

From a Harrogate penalty corner, Cath Foy thought she had cleared the ball off the line, but the umpire adjudged the ball had crossed the line to give Harrogate a two goal cushion with 10 minutes to go.

Lancaster didn’t give up and kept looking for those crucial goals, but Harrogate defended solidly and Lancaster couldn’t carve out any clear chances.

At the final whistle Lancaster were disappointed not to have won the league, but achieving successive promotions is something to be extremely proud of.

Meanwhile, Lancaster 2s were also in action on Saturday, losing 2-0 at home to Longridge Ladies 2s.

Lancaster Ladies 3s lost 4-0 at Preston Ladies 2s, and the fourth team were beaten 3-1 at Leyland and Chorley Ladies 3s.