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HOCKEY: Swindon men wait on relegation fate
SWINDON men face an agonising wait to see if they have avoided the drop from the Premiership.
The Isambard side were thrashed 6-0 by Exeter Uni A at the weekend, but ECV Hornets’ 2-1 defeat at Plymouth Marjon meant Swindon avoided slipping into the two automatic relegation places.
However, if a National League team drops down into the Davis Wood Hockey League then three Premiership teams will be relegated, with the final verdict likely to be delivered later this month.
Swindon were hamstrung from the start against Exeter as they made the trip south with only 10 players.
Despite the best efforts of the defence and keeper Alan Gough, the hosts took a 3-0 lead into the interval having first netted midway through the first half.
Matters went from bad to worse following the resumption when Swindon were reduced to nine men after Tom Wickens was forced off the field with an injury.
The visitors battled their hearts out but Exeter added another three unanswered goals to complete an emphatic victory.
There were better fortunes for Swindon Ladies who secured survival in Premier Division 2A of the West Clubs Women’s Hockey League.
Their penultimate game of the season saw them record a 1-0 win over Gloucester 2nds, with the only goal of the game scored in the second minute of the match.
Julie Lewis teed up Fran Bennett and her shot deflected off a Gloucester foot and dropped nicely for Sophie Maycock, who reacted superbly to push the ball home.
Moments later Maycock was unlucky not to grab her second of both the game and the campaign, when her high deflection of Linda Brouwers hit across goal was just kept out by the keeper.
Gloucester also had chances in the first half but aggressive defending from Gael Little and Clare Sage prevented them from equalising. Swindon worked hard to defend their lead in the second half, and keeper Sarah Annstey made some solid stops while central defender Lewis was in imperious form.
Wide players Rachel King and Chloe Peppiatt, created some good opportunities for Swindon to score but in the end they had to settle for a 1-0 win. Little was voted player of the match for a third week in a row.
Elsewhere, Wootton Bassett picked up a more-than-creditable result as they shared a 3-3 draw with high-flying Jaspers in North Division.
North Wilts took three points after edging out Wootton Bassett 2nds 2-1 in Wessex Division 1.
Swindon 2nds secured promotion from Wessex Division 2 after finishing second, thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of Wootton Bassett 3rds.
The goals were scored by Michelle Harding, Lucie Anne Smale, Ella Caldwell, Nicola Wylie and Katy Canon. Ella Caldwell was voted player of the match.