Pendle Forest secured the North Hockey Women’s League Division 2 North West title with four games to go as they beat second place Garstang on Saturday.
A point was enough, but Forest made sure in a 3-1 win.
Forest were missing a number of key players, with the spine of the team unavailable, so manager Scott Hornby had to reshuffle his pack.
Forest started confidently and the pairing of Lisa Crewe and Kayleigh Vickers combined well to keep the dangerous Garstang midfield quiet, while Dani Hornby marshalled the back line confidently.
In the first 15 minutes, both teams won a number of short corners, with some near misses. Forest carved out a number of chances, notably froma pin point pass from Crewe to pick out Charlotte O’Brien in the D, who got her shot away, but the Garstang keeper pulled off a great one handed save.
Forest did not have to wait long for the opener, as they continued their excellent scoring record at short corners, when Cathy Waters’ angled shot from the top left of the D was saved by the keeper, but O’Brien reacted first with a reverse stick finish – Forest’s 100th league goal of the season in just 18 matches.
Garstang claimed an equaliser from a short corner mid way through the second half, but Forest stepped up a gear.
Charlotte Hartley, who caused Garstang problems all game with her direct running and superior skills, played the ball into the D, where Karen Wignall was hand to poke the ball home.
And with 10 minutes to go, Hartley weaved her way through the Garstang defence and unselfishly fed the ball to Wignall, who used her predatory instincts to slip the ball under the keeper. The Forest defence held firm, led by player of the match Olivia Purtill, and the final whistle was met with celebration.
Forest are at Clitheroe at 11 a.m.