City 3rd XI wins Promotion without Playing.
Although City had no league matches to complete, the final match in Division 1 was critical in determining whether CoP 3rd XI would retain their 2nd place and therefore achieve promotion to Premier B of the East League.
This match was between Felixstowe 1st XI and Broxbourne 1st XI and was staged on Saturday 7th at the Henley Road Astroturf pitch normally used by Ipswich HC, as Felixstowe’s normal home venue at a school was unavailable due to the Easter holiday. Felixstowe were safely in the middle of the table but Broxbourne needed to win to wrest the final promotion place away from CoP 3rd XI.
A small party of CoP club members went to see the game and that fair play was done. In the event, Felixstowe were very much more motivated for the game than Broxbourne as they were intent on achieving the best possible finish to the season and therefore had many more spectators present than their opposition. Felixstowe opened at pace and stretched the Broxbourne defence before on 4 minutes a quick break resulted in a blind pass which fell fortunately for their right winger to drive home with the keeper out of position. Long spells of possession play were interspersed with an odd short corner at both ends but Felixstowe always attacked with more purpose and defended well especially when putting pressure on the opposing defence in possession. With half time approaching Felixstowe scored a vital second goal following a switched short corner move and the body language of the two sides at half time was hopeful from a CoP point of view as Broxbourne’s team talk was very restrained.
Another smart finish 10 minutes into the second period gave Felixstowe a winning 3 – 0 lead after a better spell from Broxbourne and the game was virtually over as a contest. The Felixstowe keeper was called upon to make 3 good saves in the remaining playing period but there were also chances narrowly missed at the other end.
At the final whistle the CoP contingent gave a polite clap or three, thanked a few of the Felixstowe players who were aware of their presence and proceeded to communicate the good news via various modern techniques to the many parts of the UK where club members happened to be at this holiday weekend. This was an amazingly tight league and the 3rd XI have to be praised for keeping their cool when others faded with the recent 6 – 0 away win at Cambridge City 2nd XI being the absolutely pivotal result that gave them the chance of promotion which just proved sufficient. City 3rd’s under the captaincy of Aggi Milner and management of Martin Collcott have now achieved two successive promotions and will become the first ever 3rd XI side from any club to compete in the Premier B division. As the target at the beginning of the season was survival in this 2 up 4 down “league of death”, this is an astounding achievement.
This final result concludes a tremendous season for the City men’s hockey teams with 5 out of 8 league sides winning promotion. This coupled with the 1st XI’s achievement in retaining their National League status and the superb performances of the age group teams in the cup competitions adds up to a wonderful season, believed to be unmatched in the Club’s history.