Holt promoted without having to go through with play-off

Holt have been promoted to the London 3NE division without having to go through with tomorrow's scheduled play-off.

The in-form north Norfolk outfit, who produced a flying finish to grab second spot in the Eastern Counties League, had been preparing for a winner-takes-all showdown with Millwall at High Kelling.

But the London club contacted Holt yesterday to say they would not be able to fulfil the fixture because of a lack of available players, meaning a walk-over for the hosts, and a place alongside the likes of Norwich and Wymondham next season.

Penny Chapman, joint coach with Ed Steed, was disappointed with the late cancellation – but at the same time delighted that promotion had been achieved.

'It's a shame in a way because we were really looking forward to the match and were expecting a decent crowd,' she said. 'It's a strange way to get promoted, but we'll take it and with the way we have been playing recently I am convinced we would have won the game anyway.

'Over the last seven weeks of the season everything has just clicked. We beat the champions (Stowmarket) in our final game, taking the bonus point as well, so I don't think anyone could say we didn't deserve it.

'We haven't got the biggest of squads but the players are now reaching their potential and they all play for each other. Around 70pc have come through the youth set-up here which says everything about what we are trying to achieve. Getting out of the Eastern Counties League is not easy and it's good news for Norfolk rugby that the county now has another team at a higher level.'

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Having geared up for a game tomorrow Holt will now be concentrating on their end of season presentation evening, followed by a celebration party. The event is set to get under way at around 5.30pm, with a number of junior games taking place beforehand.

• International referee Wayne Barnes will be taking a training event, organised by the Norfolk Rugby Union Referees Society, at the Holiday Inn, Norwich Airport next Tuesday (7.30pm). The topic will be game preparation and management, using the recent Harlequins v Leicester Premiership game as the backdrop.