Double celebrations as Ladies' XI are awarded England Hockey Women's Team of the Year
Double celebrations have been enjoyed by Rugby’s hockey club this week, winning two national titles.
The men’s masters team became national cup champions, while the Ladies 1st XI were crowned Team of the Year in the England Hockey awards.
Playing at London’s Olympic Park last Monday, Rugby & East Warwickshire beat Isca 3-1 in the final of the Tier 1 National Over 40s Cup.
Having finished runners-up in their previous attempt at glory in 2016, they again ventured to the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre with a full coach of supporters.
Keen for success in their second chance at the trophy, the game started with some nerves showing, but an early save from Danny Bell helped to settle the team and allowed them to start to press. Great skill and hard work up front saw Luke Hurle finish clinically to score the first goal to put Rugby ahead.
A few minutes later Hurle won a penalty stroke, which was finished cleanly by penalty expert Chris Duerden for 2-0.
Another great save from Danny Bell, picking a hard shot out of the top corner kept Isca at bay and a missed opportunity for Chris Graham and Greg Wade kept the scoreline at 2-0 going into half time.
The second half saw Isca desperately trying to score and find a way back into the game. Wade hit the crossbar, with a chance that could have put the game away and soon after a goal for Isca pulled them back to 2-1. A penalty corner in the final minute was Isca’s chance to draw level and force a shootout, but the ball was ran down by Rich Major, who was able to ship it forward to Wade, who made it third time lucky with a chip over the keeper to secure victory for Rugby 17 seconds left.
Great play throughout saw Simon Thompson win Man of the Match, but it was great performances throughout the year that saw it through as Rugby became the National Over 40s champions.
Rugby & East Warwickshire Ladies 1st team have been recognised by England Hockey as the Investec Women’s Team of the Year at the annual awards night held at the Athena in Leicester.
The accolade comes after they achieved promotion for an astonishing fourth consecutive season to reach the Midlands Premier division, the highest level in their history.
It acknowledges their outstanding coaching and junior programme, consistency, exemplary conduct, attitude and wider contribution to hockey off the field, which sets them apart as a model team.