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HOCKEY: North Wilts claim East Central 1 title
NORTH Wilts secured the East Central 1 title and promotion to Central 2 after two victories at the weekend.
The Swindon-based outfit beat both Wootton Bassett A and Team Bath Buccs F 2-1 to ensure that they could not be caught by either Chippenham A or City of Bath A.
Promotion was a well-deserved reward for a side who have won 18 of their 20 fixtures and only tasted defeat once.
The 2-1 scoreline at Bassett on Saturday was flattering to the hosts, who would have found themselves on the end of a much heavier defeat had North not been wasteful in front of goal.
Skipper Tom Wilson converted from the flick spot and Darren Hillier also got on the scoresheet following good work from Colin Fisher.
Bassett got a goal back late on but it proved only a consolation.
On Sunday at home to Team Bath, North reshuffled their personnel and Darran Cragg scored twice in the first half.
This was despite the team playing some of the first period with 10 men after Shaun Montague was shown yellow early on.
Mike Egan deflected past the excellent Neil Smith in the Wilts goal during the second half to give Buccs hope, but the home side held on.
Damo Holland missed several good chances to add to North’s tally, but ultimately it did not matter as his side held on for victory.
Swindon’s hopes of a second successive season in the Premiership remain in the balance after a 3-3 draw at home to fellow strugglers ECV Hornets.
The Isambard outfit had the majority of the chances in the first half but found themselves 2-0 down, after Hornets capitalised on poor defending twice in two minutes leading up to half-time.
Swindon dominated after the break and a brace from Tom Gillingham and a further goal from Luke Cejer put them ahead with less than three minutes remaining.
However, Hornets made Swindon pay when they scrambled across the line to grab a draw.
Struggling Wootton Bassett drew 1-1 with Westbury and UB B in Central 2.
In East Central 2, North Wilts A lost 2-1 at home to Swindon C in their final game of the season and therefore slipped down to sixth in the standings.
Having spurned multiple chances early on North A found themselves a goal behind when Swindon C scored with only their second shot of the match.
Midway through the second half, the hosts levelled when Kiran Momi slammed home a spectacular shot.
However, a scrappy goal ensured Swindon C took away maximum points.