OLTON & West Warwick Hockey Club experienced a remarkable final weekend of the season, when the ladies side were forced into a play-off for promotion, and the men’s side thrashed the newly crowned champions.
In the Investec Ladies Conference West, a trip to Exeter against ninth-placed Exe brought a stalemate, despite the hosts winning seven points all season and losing 8-1 to Olton in September.
A win was enough to clinch automatic promotion to the new Division 1 next season, but inexplicably, the ladies were unable to score in a game they dominated.
The 0-0 scoreline left them in seventh place, sending them into a promotion round-robin play-off against the other two seventh placed sides in the North and East conferences.
A trip away to Leeds on Sunday is followed by a home tie against Horsham the following Sunday (April 14), where two of the three teams will be promoted.
Olton will fancy their chances to qualify, going into the play-offs with more points amassed than their rivals over the course of the season, and having better rates in scoring and defensive terms.
Meanwhile, Olton dismantled the Men’s Conference West champions Havant 8-3 – ensuring they become the only team to have done the double over them this season.
The hosts initially went behind from a penalty corner, but responded through Tom Mallett at a penalty corner three minutes later.
Chris Rawlings netted on 18 minutes, before Josh Green made it 3-1 going into half-time.
Pete Jackson scored with a trademark drag flick at a penalty corner, Havant following suit to score from a similar goal.
Olton then hit three quick-fire goals to take a commanding lead, Harry Sherlock netting two, and Martin Ebbage scoring the other.
Havant pulled a goal back from a penalty corner, but Joe Paul’s 66th minute strike made it eight for Olton, and combined with the news that second-placed Oxford Hawks had suffered defeat, ensured Olton & WW finish the season as runners-up.
Elsewhere, the ladies second and fourth-teams clinched promotion, as did the men’s fourth XI.