Hockey joy for super Ipswich

KAT Wrinch led her jubilant Ipswich Hockey Club team-mates to their first-ever national second team cup and declared: “It is the perfect end to a perfect season.

KAT Wrinch led her jubilant Ipswich Hockey Club team-mates to their first-ever national second team cup and declared: “It is the perfect end to a perfect season.”

Going into the game as underdogs, Ipswich, the East Division One North champions, capped off a wonderful season to beat Midlands Premier Division outfit Leicester 4-0 at Bowdon.

It was fitting that Ipswich should win this competition as their lobbying for the chance to compete in the national league led to the second team cup's creation in 2000.

Further success in next year's Premier Division may well see them push once again for the chance for second teams to compete at a higher level, but the sport's ruling body is unlikely to change its rules.

Wrinch said: “Next season will show us whether we are ready or not, but one of the sides that were knocked out in the semi-finals of this cup finished third in the Premier Division this year so that bodes well.”

The scoreline in the final does not reflect the tense affair which went right down to the wire.

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After both sides had started nervously on the bouncy water- based pitch, Ipswich keeper and captain-elect Claire Gould made a number of top class saves to keep her side level.

With Gould seemingly invincible, Leisa King gave the Suffolk side a half-time lead from a short corner before some stout defending after the break kept Ipswich in front.

The final three goals didn't come until late on, Ipswich exploiting the gaps left at the back by Leicester's desperate attempts to draw level.

Hannah Tallent gobbled up a rebound, King added a second, before the retiring Amanda Little fittingly scored the fourth in her last game for the club.

Wrinch said: “Amanda has had injury problems for a few seasons now but has battled on when probably she shouldn't have done because of her love for the game. It was fitting for her to get the last goal and really was the culmination of a superb season.”