Tangerine dreams continue as Saints' ladies close in on national league second tier

PUBLISHED: 13:26 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:26 28 March 2019

St Albans Hockey Club's ladies have confirmed their place in the second tier of England hockey's national leagues. Picture: CHRIS HOBSON PHOTOGRAPHY

St Albans Hockey Club's ladies have confirmed their place in the second tier of England hockey's national leagues. Picture: CHRIS HOBSON PHOTOGRAPHY

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St Albans ladies have all but confirmed their place in the newly-restructured second tier of the Investec Women’s Hockey League thanks to a 3-2 win at home to Harleston Magpies.

St Albans Hockey Club's ladies have confirmed their place in the second tier of England hockey's national leagues. Picture: CHRIS HOBSON PHOTOGRAPHYSt Albans Hockey Club's ladies have confirmed their place in the second tier of England hockey's national leagues. Picture: CHRIS HOBSON PHOTOGRAPHY

It was the Oaklands College-based side’s seventh success of the year and a vital win in their pursuit of that top-six spot.

It was understandably a nervy affair with the Magpies ahead of the Tangerines in Conference East table.

Saints had a number of chances early on that they couldn’t convert and it was with relief that the opening goal arrived on 26 minutes, courtesy of some silky skills from Samantha Archer-Overall and the combination of Katy Hart and Adele Sammons from a penalty corner, the latter getting the final touch.

That was the score at half-time and it got better when the same routine brought the same outcome five minutes into the second half, Sammons getting her second.

The gap was halved by a counter-attack goal on 54 minutes and as the nerves began to grow again, Harleston levelled with six minutes to go.

But instead of sitting back, both teams went on the offensive, neither happy with a draw.

And it was Saints who benefitted when captain Natasha Humphris fired a ball into the circle for Caitlin Wales to deflect in the winner.

Coach Ravi Vijh said: “After a good start and in such a commanding position in the game, it was disappointing to let the opposition back in.

“However, it was pleasing to see how far we’ve come as a group and the resilience we showed to rally and find a way to win.”

A win at Cambridge City in their final game would confirm their Division One status next year.

The men are already assured of playing in the National Leagues after clinching promotion from East League Premier Division.

But they will still be disappointed with their 4-3 loss at Harleston.

Tariq Marcano got two and Mark Lowden one as the lead continually switched from one team to another but a goal late on handed the Magpies the win.

Saints’ head coach John Barrett said: “We played well, especially in midfield, but it was a shame that a few lapses meant we were on the wrong end of the score.”

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