WOMENS HOCKEY Exe mark national league spot

Exe Hockey logoExe are heading back to England Hockey League Women’s Conference West following a two-year absence.

Kelly Barrett’s navy blue and whites secured the West Clubs Women’s Hockey League Premier 1 title with a game to spare following a 4-0 home win over Bournemouth in Exeter.

Forward Anna-Mae Morton scored a championship-clinching hat-trick and her mazy run into the D won a late first half penalty, converted by skipper Barrett, as Exe swept into a 3-0 half time lead.

Top scorer Morton completed her treble in the second half as Exe ensured a return to the national league ahead of tomorrow’s trip to sixth placed Team Bath Buccaneers, who won 4-1 at Plymouth Marjon last Saturday.

Exe started the penultimate match day of the season requiring a point to make certain of promotion but as it was cross-city rivals, Isca 2, beat title challengers Cheltenham 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller at University of Exeter.

The combination of results means Exe go into tomorrow’s outstanding final game already six points ahead of runners-up Cheltenham, who have completed their 22-match league programme.

After leading Exe back to the national league playmaker Barrett is hoping to again skipper the side next season, when Exe will face - among others - derby rivals Isca University.

Barrett said: “The best thing is that most of the team that has won promotion will be together again next season.

“We will lose a couple of players, like most seasons, because they will be going off to university.

“However we are hoping that having won promotion to the national league we may attract some new players looking to play at a higher level.

“The great thing is that we have got quite a range of experience within the squad.

“There are some players who have been with the club for quite some time, which is great, and we also have some up-and-coming younger players.”

Barrett says a key part of this term’s success has been down to new coach and England Masters player Simon McCollum.

The Exe skipper said: “He talked not only of our ambition to win this league but also to be prepared for promotion and ready to play in the national league.

“Another key element has been the atmosphere in and around the team. Basically we are good friends and when you are enjoying your hockey then results tend to follow.

“We have had one or two blips, random results, and one or two games where we have lost our way or left it until late to get winning goals but overall we’ve always managed to get back on track and put winning runs together.

“Now we are all really looking forward to Saturday and then next season playing back in the national league.”

Tomorrow's West Clubs Women's Hockey League fixtures

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