Norwich Dragons III closing in on Empresa League title
- Credit: Archant
Norwich Dragons III took another giant step towards sealing the Premier Division title on Saturday by making it 16 wins in 18 games.
They saw off relegation threatened Harleston Magpies IV 5-2 at The Den to stay nine points clear at the top.
Jess Haw led the way for the champions elect, who led 2-1 at the break, by scoring a hat-trick while Ally Windsor Waite netted twice and Sophie Barrow was player-of-the-match.
Closest rivals Norwich City III kept their outside title hopes alive with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Loddon, with the goals coming from Sophia Basset and Sophie Harrad.
City have a game in hand on Dragons, but it would take a stunning collapse from the leaders over their final four matches to let them in now.
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Broadland put the previous week's narrow defeat against Dragons behind them when they beat visitors Lowestoft Railway 6-1 to stay in the hunt for a top two finish.
Helen Brockington put Broadland ahead within the first minute and quickly doubled their lead a few minutes later when she connected with a fine cross from Helen Kelly.
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Dani Parke increased Broadland's grip with a fine lob over the keeper before a well struck cross found Lydia Lawrence at the far post for a fourth goal.
In the second half Lowestoft Railway improved and pulled a goal back but Broadland continued to dominate, with Parke sweeping home a Kelly pass and Brockington completing her hat-trick when Parke unselfishly squared the ball to her.
The title race in Division One looks set to go to the wire, with just two points separating the top four. Leaders Pelicans were held to a 3-3 draw at Dereham IV while Harleston Magpies V edged past Watton II 2-1 to boost their challenge.
Broadland II conceded a late goal to go down 3-2 at Reepham (Carolyn Duthie, Wendy Anema) while Diss, the fourth side in the promotion hunt, were inactive because of the weather.
In Division Two the top two went marching on. Norwich Dragons VI beat Harleston Magpies VI 6-0 (Gemma Ballard 2, Harriet Rant 2, Gill Walker, Anita Mancini) and Lowestoft Railway II won 4-0 at Broadland III (May Bandy 2, Maddie Chambers, Emma Collins).