North Norfolk Ladies closing in on East League Hockey title

Norwich Dragons Ladies driving out to defend a short corner during their 4-0 win over Cambridge Uni

Norwich Dragons Ladies driving out to defend a short corner during their 4-0 win over Cambridge University II at The Den Picture: CLUB - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk Ladies came through a tough test against Norwich City II to take a big step towards clinching the East League Division 2NE title.

A hat-trick from Hannah Wait and a late goal from Hannah Catling earned them a 4-3 win at Cromer, with the City goals coming from Hannah Bush, Lucy Tilbrook and Annabel Pounder.

With two games left to play the leaders are three ahead of Watton, who won 3-0 at Norwich Dragons III, while Bury St Edmunds are three points further back.

North Norfolk suffered a setback before the match with Julie Mercer, who is having a fantastic season at right back, straining her back in the warm-up but she heroically ended up playing on through the whole match.

With a slightly altered line-up of Charlotte Fiske as centre midfield and Rachel Miles in centre defence stopping anything that came their way the hosts looked strong and dominated the first half.

Hannah Wait opened the scoring but City meant business and soon equalised.

Sarah Powell took the field at half-time, allowing Miles to perform her magic in the middle of the park and Fiske to perform her signature attacking runs up front.

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This was the motivation North needed to turn up the tempo and two goals followed in quick succession, with Wait finding the back of the net from some awesome team efforts to seal a well deserved hat-trick.

However, if the hosts thought they were safe, City had over ideas and their impressive young team quickly responded with two more goals to make it 3-3 with six minutes to go.

With all guns blazing North Norfolk went for the win and earned a short corner and some well-timed passing around the City defence gave the impressive Catling the opportunity she'd been waiting for to score the well-deserved winning goal.

With Lisa Trussell, Rebecca Hart and Mercer strong in defence, Catling running her socks off in midfield and Lucy Spencer having a superb game North deservedly took the three points.

On Saturday North Norfolk travel to bottom of the table Felixstowe - who have lost all 20 games this season - knowing a win seal a top two finish ahead of their final game at home to second placed Watton on March 23.

It has been an excellent season for the club, with the seconds having already clinched the Empresa Norfolk League Division Three title.

The men's promotion hopes in Division 3NE suffered a setback when they lost 3-1 at fellow high-flyers Harleston Magpies III. They are now a point behind Magpies in third position.