Newark entered into the last game of the season knowing they had already gained promotion out of the league but had still not sealed the league title - only a win would guarantee this.
The game started at a great pace with newark moving the ball around the park at pace, showing they wanted this league title. The chances started to come for Newark and they started to test the Atherstone keeper every time they came forward but were not able to find the back of the net, until Ryan Foster came charging in on the back post to deflect the ball past the keeper and into the back of the net. This only made Newark more determined to get further in front as they continued to press an Atherstone team who had not really got going yet. It did not take long for Newark to get a second when Foster appeared at the back post again to place the ball into the back of the net and put Newark 2-0 up.
Atherstone seemed to suddenly awaken at this point and made it difficult for Newark going forward and started to break down the flowing attacks that Newark had been showing in the opening 20 minutes and started creating chances of their own but were unable to find the Net even when Newark's keeper was left stranded at the edge of the D.
Leading into halftime Newark started to get back to grips with their attacking hockey and moved the ball again at pace but could not find the net again before half time.
The second half started quickly and Atherstone were pressing knowing a quick goal would test the Newark team and that's exactly what they got, scoring from a well worked short corner putting everyone down watching on edge, with the score at 2-1 but Newark quickly got back their two goal lead when Sam Smith found himself free in the D and fired the ball into the back of the net restoring Newark's two goal lead.
The game only a few moments later took another turn in Newark's favour when one of the Atherstone players found himself receiving a red card after a few choice words were mentioned to the umpire. This allowed Newark more time and space on the pitch and they exploited it well creating more and more chances but if it was not for some good work from the Atherstone keeper and the framework of the goal Newark would have increased their lead.
In the final few moments of the game Newark made a change and brought on coach Paul Halfpenny for him to be on the pitch at the end, this however was not the case for captain Alex Davies who decided to pick up a green card to stop a break away from Atherstone.
Newark held out and walked away 3-1 winners and were crowned league champions.
Goals: Ryan Foster x2, Sam Smith
Newark travelled to Chesterfield knowing anything less than a win ould see them relegated by the end of season. With only 11 players and 5 of those stuck in traffic on the way to game the math started 10 minutes late with hardly any warm up for most of Newark’s team. However this didn’t seem to affect them too much and were soon putting Chesterfield under pressure. With good work from the midfield Kian Hunter passed to Simon Higgs who managed to avoid the on rushing keeper and played the ball into the goal of the defender on the line. This lead soon doubled after a run from Tom Jacob down the line recycled the ball back to Nigel Bett whose ball into the D took a slight deflection from Simon Higgs which put in between the keepers legs. Whilst Newark had got the goals Chesterfield had been putting Newark’s defence under pressure but good work from the centre back partnership of James Barker and Ciaran Logue kept them at bay and anything they missed Ben Bradley in goal tidied up comfortably. Things got better after good work again down the right flank between Tom Jacob and Nigel Bett saw Kian Hunter in space who calmly fired home his first goal for the 2nd team. This saw Newark take a 3 goal lead into half time. Early in the 2nd half things turned around for Chesterfield with Steve Littlewood taking a stick to the head which required hospital treatment and several stitches. However this left Newark with only 10 players and the dynamic of the game changing. Newark still worked hard to go forward put from their attacking short corner Chesterfield counter attacked and scored their first goal which lifted their spirits and expectations from the game. With their renewed sense of urgency Chesterfield continued to pile forward with Newark working hard to keep them at bay. Chesterfield continued to get short corners and from one of these they got their second goal and their intensity rose again. Newark continued to hold on with everyone working hard to make up the missing player. Chesterfield got a penalty flick awarded after goal bound shot was stopped on the line by a Newark foot put Ben Bradley saved the flick giving Newark renewed hope they could hold out. At this point Chesterfield pulled their goal keeper to go with 11 outfield players to push for the equaliser. Unfortunately for Newark this was soon to come and Chesterfield put there keeper back in goal for the last few minutes knowing a draw for them could see them over take Newark in the league on the last match day weekend when they play bottom of the league Melton. Goal Scorers: -Simon Higgs (2), Kian Hunter (1st for 2nd team) Joint M.O.M:- Kian Hunter, Ben Bradley
Ladies 1s Newark Ladies 1s, sponsored by Bingham Ground Services, took to the field Saturday seeking a much needed win against local rivals Southwell Brincliffe United. Following criticism from certain quarters the team were asked what their response will be and with promotion still available they responded well finishing with a comfortable 5-0 win.
Knowing that 3 points was desperately needed it looks like the game may have been too one-sided when the opposition turned up with only 9 players. Thankfully reinforcements turned up 10 minutes into the game to provide for an even game. Unfortunately Newark could not take advantage of the number difference but still created chances for themselves to break the deadlock. SBU worked hard to contain Newark in the first half and the break came with the score still at 0-0.
With playmaker Laura Donaldson marked throughout the game she was given a free licence to roam and this started to create the opportunities that Newark needed, and used this as an advantage.
The midfield of Amy Crouch and Hannah Coe flanked by Rosie Staniforth, Becky Wells and Amber Smith worked hard to contain SBU, turn the ball over and then attack in numbers. The deadlock was broken when Donaldson had a one on one with the keeper and managed to slot the ball away.
Wells working hard down the left flank combined with Donaldson for the second goal. And it was Wells again who took the advantage to score the third goal and forth goals. The first saw Staniforth working the ball from deep, then finding Millie Hill, recently returned from injury, who out stretched her legs to leave the defence flagging in her wake and found Wells ready and waiting. The second goal for Wells came from a circle melee, and the fifth goal came shortly afterwards and was typical of the side working hard to each other and again SWtaniforth and Hill combining well to find Donaldson alone in the circle and her shot was unstoppable.
An excellent return to form for Newark, three vital points that leaves them in a good position to continue the fight for promotion.
Newark Ladies 1s returned on Sunday for Notts Ladies Hockey League Cup semi final against fellow promotion seekers Manning HC. Having claimed victory in the league before Christmas the opposition have the upper hand but Newark knew that if they could steal a victory in the Cup then this would go some way to give in a psychological advantage in the teturned League fixture on the 1st of April.
The game started well for Newark when Hannah Coe fought hard for the ball to release Dani Ashwell down the right who crossed the ball into Laura Donaldson on hand to open the scoring. A great start for Newark but celebrations was short lived when Manning hit straight back to even the match up. Newark continued their moving and passing from the day before and with fresh legs from some of the team who were unavailable the previous day, they took the game to Manning and managed to get back the lead following a penalty corner and once again Donaldson stepping up to slot the ball home.