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Ladies await relegation fate

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Megan Beard scored a hat-trick as Newark Hockey Club’s ladies’ 1sts fought back from two goals down to end their season with a 3-3 draw at Tamworth in the Midlands 2.

Newark finished third from bottom of the table and will only stay up if Women’s Conference North side Boots avoid relegation because of a league restructure in the Midlands divisions.

The visitors were under constant pressure in the opening exchanges of their final match and went behind on 15 minutes when, during an attempted clearance by keeper Molly Usborne, the ball became lodged briefly in her kicker and rolled to an oncoming forward to open the scoring.

Tamworth extended their lead with a well-worked move on 21 minutes.

Twelve minutes into the second-half, Katie McMunn outfoxed the home defence and fed the ball to Beard, who didn’t waste the opportunity.

Newark were dominating but were back to square one when the hosts restored the two-goal advantage on a counter-attack.

Beard wrong-footed the keeper to reduce the arrears with nine minutes on the clock.

Newark created several chances and, with five minutes left, a cross was lifted into the path of Beard, who instinctively attempted to hit the ball on the volley.

The result was a warning green card for Beard and a penalty corner for the originally lifted ball, from which Newark’s top scorer unleashed a perfect drag-flick into the top right corner to secure a point.

Coach Paul Halfpenny said: “This was possibly one of Newark’s best performances of the season.”

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