Pendle Forest started their promotion play-off campaign in fine style with a win against Newcastle at Marsden Heights.
After finishing as North Hockey Women’s League Division 2 North West champions, Forest face a round-robin group with Ben Rhydding Ladies seconds, Lymm Ladies firsts and Newcastle Ladies firsts, with the top two earning a place in next season’s North Hockey Women’s League Division 1 – three levels below the Investec Premier Division.
First up were Newcastle at home.
Within the first few minutes, the visitors were caught sleeping and Forest went ahead.
Cathy Waters found the back of the net after a ball down the wing to Karen Wignall was pulled back, Waters catching the keeper off her line for a simple finish.
Newcastle picked up their game and unsettled the Forest defence for a short while, but keeper Laura Kendal was solid, letting nothing past.
Forest then kept the pressure on, earning several penalty corners but were unable to convert.
Shortly before half-time, a great strike from Olivia Bythell managed to hit the post, but Bythell – attempting to thwart the counter attack – was sinbinned after making a professional foul.
Forest reformed in the second half and dealt easily with going down to 10 players for five minutes.
Back to full strength, Forest began to find the cracks in the Newcastle defence.
A lifted ball down the right by Bythell was well controlled for Waters to find her own perfectly-timed ball through to Charlotte O’Brien, who crossed it for Karen Wignall to slip it past the keeper in the move of the game.
Not giving up the fight, Newcastle managed to grab one back through a penalty corner, but Forest saw the game out, winning 2-1.
On April 25th, the league has booked a pitch at Weetwood, Leeds University ground, with push back at 1 p.m. as Forest take on Lymm in their final game, and the following day, the match between Newcastle and Ben Rhydding will be played at Leeds Adel ground.