Banbury promoted as title rivals lose ground

Sadie Lapper has guided Banbury to promotion and the title after rivals slipped up
Sadie Lapper has guided Banbury to promotion and the title after rivals slipped up

Banbury clinched promotion to division two of the South Clubs Women’s Hockey League in emphatic style.

Sadie Lapper’s side returned from Teddington II with a 5-0 victory in their penultimate division three fixture, moving past the 100 goals mark for the season.

And, following title rivals Witney’s surprise defeat to PHC Chiswick, Banbury will go up as champions as they cannot now be caught. So Saturday’s final game against Hampstead & Westminster II will see the team sign off as champions and captain Sadie Lapper, who missed last week’s game, will be back to enjoy the celebrations.

All five goals came in the second half as Banbury created some good chances but the Teddington keeper was equal to them. The closest the visitors went was when Becca Demczak’s movement up the right flank created an opportunity for Natasha Nunneley who saw her shot saved

The back four of Holly Firkins, Juliet Gardner, Becca Atkins and Paige Davis patiently held the ball while Aveline Cruikshank’s movement up front put more pressure on Teddington’s defence but the hosts held out until the break.

Despite the absence of midfielder Sam Humphreys, Banbury coped well with the high press tactics Teddington operated.

Banbury worked hard as a unit to dominate possession through the key movement, on and off the ball, and finally broke the deadlock after the restart.

A good run up the right from Firkins, interlinking with Demczak, saw Cruikshank slot the ball past the goalkeeper. Banbury quickly doubled their advantage when a quick break from Vicky Coombes saw her find Natasha Nunneley who cut in from the base line to beat the keeper.

Banbury soon increased their lead when a scything run from Demczak created another chance for Nunneley to notch her second goal.

Patient play from the back unit ended with Serena Goodhart finding Coombes who found Cruikshank to bag number four and the same player completed the rout.