HOCKEY: Champions sign off in style

Bedford Ladies
Bedford Ladies

Bedford Ladies finished their title-winning season on a high with two wins in their double- header against Norwich City and Holcombe last weekend.

Bottom-placed Norwich City were the visitors to Chester Road on Saturday with Bedford recording a 3-0 win.

Norwich battled hard and with only 10 players did well to keep the score down as the champions-elect were not at their free-flowing best.

Despite a barrage of attacks and short corners, they only had a Sam Turner goal from their first-half efforts, her second strike in as many games.

Bedford were guilty of some sloppy passing and poor decision-making in the final third while Norwich were indebted to their keeper who was kept very busy.

The Maroons eventually made their possession count with a late brace from Steph Holyoak.

After the game Alex Smallwood from sponsors Bedford Consulting Rooms presented the team with medals and the East Premier Division trophy.

The next day, Bedford were without Jenna Maclaren and Claire Higginson so took a squad of 13 to face Holcombe down in Kent.

Bedford took the early lead through a close-range Andrea Mason half volley from a penalty corner.

With nothing to lose, Holcombe responded well, scoring two goals in quick succession to put the visitors on the back foot.

But the champions had plenty in the tank and tenacious Emma Pinny was the instigator of a great response in midfield aligned with good pressing from Pippa Jones, in her final game before heading to university.

Kate Costin won a penalty stroke and got up to convert it herself to bring the scores level at half-time.

Tom Hewitt’s side were impressive in the second-half and moved the ball at will.

Steph Holyoak tucked in from the injectors mark to give Bedford the lead before a Costin drag-flick and goal from captain Jackson put the result beyond doubt.

With the clock running down, Kinnear set up Holyoak for a tap in to make it 6-2.

Bedford finished with the joint-best defensive line and top attack in the league and have the challenge of National League hockey to look forward to next term.