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Hockey captain fears relegation confusion



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COACH Paul Halfpenny has admitted he is not feeling confident about Newark Ladies’ 1sts’ chances of staying in the Midlands 2 Hockey division as his team go into the final three games of the campaign.

It is unclear whether two or three teams will be relegated because of a restructure of the divisions for next season.

But Halfpenny believed it was more likely three teams would go down.

Newark, who have lost their last seven games, are third from bottom, four points behind Tamworth and two points clear of Bournville.

Two of their last three fixtures are against Tamworth and bottom-of-the-table Burton, but Newark first face a tough trip to fourth-placed Solihull Blossomfield.

If three teams go down, Newark would be relegated should they lose to Solihull on Saturday and Tamworth beat Leek.

Halfpenny said: “I don’t know what the reason is for our bad run of form. I’m putting it down to a lack of confidence but there have been other factors too.

“We’ve only had Becky Warner for eight games this season and she has been a massive loss.

“Another problem is that I have had to umpire in many of the games, which meant I wasn’t allowed to coach from the sidelines.

“We haven’t been able to get anyone from the club to umpire for us.

“It doesn’t help that we don’t know how many teams are going to be relegated. I don’t know if I can start planning for next season in this division or in the one below.”

Halfpenny said he was relying on Leek and Beeston beating Tamworth before the last game of the season, when Newark travel to their relegation rivals.

Several players will be missing on Saturday, including Terri McLeod, Catherine Hawkins, Katie McMunn and Jess Cunningham.

In contrast to the ladies, Newark Men’s 1sts could be celebrating promotion from the East Midlands 2 on Saturday if they win at Nuneaton.

If promotion rivals Rolls Royce don’t beat third-from-bottom Long Buckby, Newark will be promoted regardless of their result.

Coach Sally Halfpenny is looking for the team to put in a similar performance to last week when they thrashed Derby Asterdale 7-1.

She said: “Everything comes down to this Saturday. Promotion is in our hands and if we repeat the same level of performance we will be promoted.

“The team has a healthy confidence in its ability at the moment.”

Newark Men’s 2nds secured promotion from the Reserves East Midlands 1 last week.



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