Aldershot & Farnham pip Haslemere for league title

By Farnham Herald in Hockey

HASLEMERE 0, ALDERSHOT & FARNHAM 1

ALDERSHOT & Farnham won the championship showdown match against Haslemere on Saturday, thanks to a lone goal from Mel Sutherland.

It was a tough match and Haslemere, who have been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks, were not at their best on their own Woolmer Hill pitch.

But the table does not lie, as they say, and A&F, with 19 wins out of 22 games and only one defeat, are worthy Hampshire Women’s League champions, finishing four points ahead of Haslemere

It’s been a superb season for Haslemere, though, and second place is their best finish for many years.

A&F claim the automatic promotion place to the South League, while Haslemere hope for a league restructure that might send them up as well.

With two experienced South League umpires brought in for this important game, A&F knew they had to either win or draw to clinch the title, while only a victory would do for Haslemere.

Nerves showed on both sides at the start and the play, although fast, was more reminiscent of ping-pong at first.

The ball was turned over frequently in both halves. Haslemere began to gain momentum and linked some nice passes on both flanks, while Aldershot were quick to counter with attacking pressure of their own.

Some good moves down the left then earned A&F a flurry of short corners and one led to the all-important goal. A well-practiced injection by Hannah Sprake and a fine pass from Sara Nankivell enabled Mel Sutherland to crack the ball home.

Half-time was a welcome cooling-down period on a very warm day, but the heat got to both sides as the second half, like the first, got off to a frantic start.

Cards of various colour were handed out to the local rivals as Haslemere fought hard for an equaliser and A&F held their ground and shut out short corners with a solid defensive unit.

For the last five minutes, Haslemere played with a kicking back in a final attempt to break through, but Aldershot & Farnham stayed strong to the end and were on the attack again when the final whistle blew.

Champagne was quickly passed over the fence and the celebrations began in earnest for A&F who made Louise Laws their Player of the Match for her calm and collected play throughout.

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