Promotion still on for Sprowston

WOMEN'S EAST LEAGUE: Sprowston showed they deserved their position near the top of the table as they beat Norwich Dragons II 2-0 to keep their promotion hopes alive.

They go into their final game of the season in Division 2NE at home to Old Buckenham on Saturday just one point behind second-placed Carlton Park, who also won at the weekend.

The Suffolk side are firmly in the driving seat, needing only to beat North Walsham at home to secure a place in Division 1N.

But Sprowston are in a position to take advantage of any slip-ups, while Yarmouth are still with a shout as well, despite Saturday's surprise 4-1 defeat at Loddon.

Sprowston kept themselves in the hunt by scoring a goal in each half against the Dragons.

A first-half goal from Kerry Hamilton was quickly followed by another chance for Amy Butler, but the reverse flick hit the bar and dropped to a defender.

Dragons worked hard to win the ball back and their efforts resulted in a number of Sprowston free-hits.

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In the second half a yellow card to Dragons saw Sprowston take advantage of their extra player with a break from Butler. Her shot rebounded from the keeper to Kerry Hamilton who slipped the ball back to Butler to finish. Dragons pushed hard for a goal back at the end but the Sprowston defence held firm, with a fine performance from player of the match Grace Lowry.

Already promoted, Norwich City continued their strong run with a 2-1 victory over Dereham II.

After a goalless first half City found another gear after the break and went ahead following a flowing move between Esme Barber and goal scorer Emily Anthony. A second followed from a short corner – another from Anthony, whose goal tally is looking impressive this season.

Dereham rallied in the final mintues and through persistence pulled a goal back, but with only minutes left it was City who took all three points. Player of match was Frankie Bocking.

In Division 1N Norwich Dragons drew 3-3 with fellow high-flyers Saffron Walden to all but secure fourth position.

Saffron dominated most of the first half, playing some great flowing hockey as well as showing impressive individual stick skills. Dragons seemed unable to click for most of the half, although they did have some chances as well as one or two shouts for penalty strokes.

Saffron scored first, but some good work by Tash Blyth set up Marie James to equalise. Saffron struck again before the break to make the score 2-1 to the visiting team.

A motivating team talk by captain Hannah Roney and coach Steve Woodward ensured a much-improved second-half showing. Dragons upped their game, but found themselves 3-1 down early on.

This seemed to spur Dragons on and their great character was on show again as they started to pass the ball better and work together, with player of the match Lizzie Moulton starting to influence the game with some drives from defence.

The pressure applied by Dragons was soon rewarded. A well-paced through ball from Natalie Beal left Claire Baker with only the keeper to beat and she scored from close range to make it 3-2. A few mintues later, James' persistence at a broken down short corner resulted in an acurate pass to the unmarked Beal, who slotted home, much to the relief of the team and the supporters, to ensure a share of the spoils