Hockey: Panthers closing in on title

Panthers dropped points for only the second time this season on Saturday – but they now need just one more win to secure the Marshall Motor Group Norfolk League Premier Division title.

They were held to a 2-2 draw by UEA – the only team left who have a mathematical chance of catching Panthers – before claiming a 3-0 walkover win on Sunday when Thetford conceded the game.

Panthers knew the game against UEA was going to be the hardest they would face this season but they were focused and switched on from the start and were 1-0 up after just two minutes when Georgina Stannett put in an excellent cross from the right wing for Gail Rudd to fire home.

The game was very tense with end to end action and both teams playing some superb hockey. UEA equalised just before half-time with an unstoppable strike from a penalty corner.

UEA started the second half stronger and took the lead following a goalmouth struggle with the ball finally being flicked over the Panthers keeper. As the half wore on Panthers became the stronger side and when a UEA defender had a free hit from the top of their circle this was intercepted superbly by Zoe Gotts who passed to Gemma Rolph to score Panthers' second goal. Panthers had a couple more excellent chances that they couldn't quite convert so the game finished in a 2-2 draw.


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Panthers' joint players of the match were Zoe Gotts and Gemma Rolph

They will now be hoping to clinch the title at Beccles this weekend.

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n Reepham produced another valiant battle on Saturday against a full UEA II squad before slipping to a 3-0 home defeat. Another pleasing improving performance will only continue to mould these youngsters into a squad for the future – two of the girls had not played women's hockey before.

Reepham had an excellent first half and couldn't ask for anymore from the team. Carrina Carter in goal saved a penalty flick to keep Reepham in the game but UEA scored just after to give them a 1-0 edge at the break. The students added two more goals in the second half.

nNorth Walsham beat Old Buckenham 3-0 in the East League while the second team lost 2-1 at Yarmouth II.

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