Final day flourish sees Cambridge South seal title joy
Cambridge South clinched the East Men’s League, Division 2N title in style by beating City of Peterborough III 3-1.
They took the lead when tidy play through midfield set up Jim Hockley to sweep home at the back post.
Chris Pearson doubled the advantage at the start of the second half, but Peterborough pulled a goal back.
James Bailey’s reverse-stick shot made it 3-1 to South, and a goalline clearance from skipper Stuart Rimmer and some smart saves from man-of-the-match keeper Darren Farmer confirmed the title.
They finished the season three points clear of Cambridge Nomads, who completed their campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Pelicans.
Nomads started brightly and opened the scoring through Martin Hamon’s reverse-stick strike.
Hamon struck again minutes later, finishing powerfully from a penalty corner.
Pelicans were kept at bay by a penalty stroke save from Ethan Brown and, after Pelicans did pull a goal back, he was kept busy in the closing stages, saving a number of penalty corners to preserve the win.
South II ended in third place in 4NW for a second season in a row after a 2-1 win over Spalding III.
With a mooted reshuffle of the league offering the outside chance of promotion, South knew they had to win to cement third.
Jack Chalk was the provider for James Menzies to get South’s opening goal, but Spalding quickly equalised.
After the break, Menzies struck the winner from a well-worked penalty corner routine as Simon Cooper was chosen as man of the match in his final match as skipper after five years.
A threadbare South III suffered a 6-1 defeat to promotion-chasing Spalding II in 4NW.
They took the lead against the run of play through Jonny Camp, but Spalding redoubled their efforts and scored three times in each half to earn the win as the depleted visitors ended up with three walking wounded.
South IV avoided relegation from Division 5NW by the narrowest possible margin after a 5-2 defeat to St Neots II.
South had started the day level on points with Horncastle and with a similar goal difference so knew every goal would be crucial.
The hosts were 5-0 up midway through the second half.
Rob Barton grabbed a goal back for South with 10 minutes remaining after good work from man-of-the-match George Weston and, in the closing stages, Jo Dant cleverly deflected the ball home from close range for a crucial second.
Horncastle lost 6-1 to promotion-chasers Wellingborough, which meant South had a superior goal difference of one and therefore avoided the drop.
In 6NW (S), South V lost 3-0 to Ely City II.
Cambridge City have finished bottom of the Men’s Hockey League, Conference East after a 6-1 defeat at Teddington, with player-coach Gareth Andrew scoring their goal.