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Vital point secured in relegation fight

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Newark Ladies 1sts 2
Solihull Blossomfield 2
Megan Beard struck twice to end Newark’s terrible run of seven straight defeats as they battled to a credible draw with Solihull Blossomfield in the Midlands 2.

Newark only had 11 players, with Megan Cocker and Emily Sanderberg stepping up from the second team, while there was a first start in more than two years for Jemma Leeman.

The hosts, embroiled in a relegation dog-fight, got off to the worst possible start when a defensive error in the first minute gifted Blossomfield the lead.

But, determined to avoid an eighth defeat, Newark responded with Camilla Johnson making a great run on the right and releasing Trish Trafford, whose mazy run and pass was finished off by Beard.

Solihull, fourth in the table, took control towards the end of the half and regained their lead before the break.

Paul Halfpenny changed Newark’s formation slightly with Sanderberg instructed to mark Solihull’s main playmaker out of the game and that decision paid off.

After pressing for most of the second-half, Beard scored her second from a penalty corner when her shot, which appeared to be going wide, was deflected in off a defender’s stick.

Halfpenny said: “It was a great result for the underdogs.”

If three teams are relegated from the division, Newark are all but down barring a miracle turnaround in goal difference. If two teams are sent down Newark will stay up if they can take four points from their last two games.

They travel to bottom side Burton on Saturday.

Sikh Union Coventry 1

Newark Men’s 2nds 5

Player/coach Arran Coggan’s brace helped Newark to a 5-1 win over relegated Sikh Union Coventry to clinch the East Midlands 1 Reserve League championship title.

After a nervy opening, Newark opened the scoring when Simon Higgs fought his way into the circle and put the ball beyond the keeper.

Minutes later Danny Hendrie, playing his final game for Newark before moving to Birmingham, got on the end of Coggan’s lay-off to make it 2-0.

Steve Littlewood crashed the ball into the circle only for a defender to deflect the ball into the net to give Newark a 3-0 lead at the break.

The hosts pulled a goal back just after the break, but Coggan had saved his best until last. First, he turned and shot in his trademark move, and then finished off a Higgs run and cross.

The result means Newark go up as champions to the East Midlands Premier Division, the highest league in the team’s history.

Coggan said “It was a fantastic result and well done to the whole team, including those not able to play today, who have all contributed to a great season.”

Manning Ladies 4

Newark Ladies’ 2nds 3

A depleted Newark ended their season in the Nottinghamshire Women’s League Premier Division with a narrow defeat at third-placed Manning.

The signs looked ominous from the start as Newark had no substitutes and their opponents were desperate to win to have a chance of promotion, however, Newark played some of their best hockey of the season.

Manning struggled to break down their visitors, but finally got the breakthrough with a short corner routine.

Newark responded soon after half-time when Susan Tate was tripped as she ran towards the D. A short corner was awarded and Shanade Orsmond’s shot was deflected in by a perfectly-positioned Millie Hill on the right post.

Manning came back strongly and scored again, only for Ann Crockett-McLean to equalise when she deflected in Orsmond’s shot.

It was end-to-end as the hosts poured forward again, and they appeared to have killed the game off when they scored twice in quick succession.

But a determined run from Hill saw her squeeze the ball between the post and keeper to Amber Smith who was waiting at the back post to slot in.

Newark thought they had equalised when Crockett-McLean placed a shot just inside the post but the goal was disallowed because it had been struck outside the D.

Boots Ladies’ 4ths 8

Newark Ladies’ 3rds 0

A depleted 3rds travelled to Boots to take on the Nottinghamshire Women’s League Division Two champions, where they were well beaten.

Newark finished fourth and can look forward to their Shield final in a couple of weeks.

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