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HomeHOCKEYPremier status secured after last day play off victory

Premier status secured after last day play off victory

Sevenoaks Hockey Club Men’s first XI managed to secure their top flight status after beating the University of Nottingham 2-1 on Sunday.

The club remain in England Hockey’s Premier Division after finishing second in the round-robin playoff finals, having beaten Oxted the previous week, and losing a fierce game against the University of Exeter on Saturday.

Tim Warrington, the Sevenoaks Captain said: “It’s been a long hard season but this makes it all worthwhile [to stay up]. We knew that only a win on Sunday against Nottingham University would be enough due to our adverse goal difference”.

Sevenoaks went into the second weekend of the promotion/relegation playoffs having put themselves in a strong position with a 3-2 victory over local rivals Oxted last weekend. However things were turned on their head after a lacklustre display against Exeter University on Saturday saw Oaks lose 6-3 (Goals from: David Smith, Duncan Parnis and Mike Shelton). With Oxted beating Nottingham University, it left everyone in the pool on 3 points with one game remaining.

Sevenoaks made a bright start to their final game and after only 10 minutes they look the lead when 16-year-old Louis Tipper skipped past a challenge on the top of the D and lashed a thunderbolt of a shot over the keeper’s shoulder into the roof of the net. The lead was not to last long though as Nottingham won a penalty corner four minutes later and it was converted to draw the sides level at 1-1 at the half time break.

It took Oaks just six minutes into the second half to retake the lead when superb forward pressing from Mike Barber saw him steal the ball off the deepest Nottingham defender, before advancing into the left hand side of the D to rifle a reverse stick shot past the keeper at the near post and into the back of the net to make it 2-1.

Oaks pressed knowing a one goal lead was precarious, and a Nottingham equaliser would likely send them up instead.

Nottingham won a number of penalty corners but the Oaks defence heroically kept them out with Richard Potton in fine form in goal, and when he was beaten, player of the season, Tom Samuel was on hand to clear one off the line. With just two minutes to go Nottingham were awarded another penalty corner and this time Potton and the defence were beaten but the ball rebounded off the post and was cleared to safety.

Oaks clung on for the remaining minute to win 2-1 and retained their Premier League status for next season, with Exeter University taking the other spot after a 2-1 victory over Oxted.

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