Dereham secure return to the top flight of East Women’s Hockey League

Dereham ladies' hockey first team.

Dereham ladies' hockey first team. - Credit: Archant

Dereham ladies' first team are celebrating after securing promotion to the East Women's Premier Division with a game to spare, writes Charlotte Taylor.

Saturday's 3-0 home win over Cambridge City II was enough to ensure Dereham will return to the top-flight next season as a result of their excellent performances this term. The match started well with the hosts putting some great pressure put on City, creating multiple dangerous circle entries.

This was rewarded eight minutes into the match when Dereham gained a short corner, which resulted in a goal, via the stick of Alice Gill.

Although the home side were one goal up they continued to push forward and create wonderful opportunities. Evie Gardner and Gill linked up well upfront and produced many goalscoring opportunities. Not only did the attackers perform well, Charlotte Seaman in defence used her skill effectively and distributed the ball nicely throughout the first half.

Helen Malcomsome and Eve Coulett worked well together making some crucial tackles despite being under pressure from the Cambridge City attackers. Jess Webb made some good saves and such commitment from all of the players led to a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first half.

The second half showcased Dereham's skills and the ball was distributed well throughout by Malcomsome and Seaman. This was taken advantage of by Gardner who scored 17 minutes into the second half after a great cross from Seaman. This raised the team's spirits and resulted in another quick goal, scored by Holly Allen. Pressure was reapplied by City but the work of captain Georgie Edwards and her other midfielders Rebecca Loveday, Lauren Healy and Charlotte Taylor ensured they were kept at bay. Emily Russell also made a positive return from injury.

Dereham, who end their campaign at Bury St Edmunds, are set to finish second behind Cambridge University. They are three points clear at the top.