Grassroots: Epworth hockey players ready for new season

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Epworth Ladies Hockey Club will be heading into new surroundings of Yorkshire Four this weekend following promotion.

And the Isle side will be taking on the might of the higher division with a new captain in the shape of Cath Eade.

Eade, an experienced player for Epworth, takes over from outgoing captain Fiona Chester.

Chester said: “Everyone came together last season, we played exceptionally as a team.

“The reward was promotion and Epworth are now looking forward to next season under the captaincy of Cath.”

Eade’s first role domestically will be to guide her team into the home tie with last season’s Division Five champions Thirsk Seconds.

In preparation for the league bow, Epworth - who have won back-to-back promotions - got back on the field for the Annual Challenge Cup match against App Frod.

The tie saw Epworth retain the cup for their fourth consecutive year following a 9-3 success.

The Isle side were well on their way to victory when, in the opening 10 minutes, Jacqui Jennings netted a brace.

App Frod reduced the deficit before the goals flowed from the Epworth sticks.

Alex Robinson, Helen and Holly Lightburn all added to the tally to see Epworth lead 7-2 at half time.

The scoreline did not quite reflect the attempts the home side had on goal with several blocked by returning Epworth goalkeeper Sarah Peach.

App Frod returned strongly in the second half and tried to capitalise on Epworth who admittedly sat back following their scoring advantage.

But Peach was equal to the hosts’ attacks and was aided superbly by Natasha Griffiths and Katie Chester.

That defensive display galvanised Epworth as they responded in fine fashion - scoring two impressive goals in quick succession.

App Frod were not to be deterred as Esther Latham and Fiona Chester had to work hard in defence to stifle their attacks.

In return, Epworth battled hard in possession as they bid to extend their lead - which they managed.

Despite a further goal from App Frod, Epworth ran out comfortable 9-3 winners to lift the Challenge Cup for the fourth year in a row.

Peach and Robinson were awarded the Umpire’s Players of the Match and the former took the Players’ Player gong.

* Epworth Ladies Hockey Club held their annual end of season presentation at Thorne Rugby Club with Thornesians RFC helping to host the event.

The night saw Epworth’s senior and junior sections rewarded for their performances during their latest campaigns.

The senior winners were Alex Robinson (Top Goalscorer), Sarah Parkin (Most Improved Player), Cath Eade (Captain’s Player), Kathryn Hewitt (Umpire’s Player and Club Person) and Holly Lightburn (Players’ Player).

The junior winners were Jessica Wilson (U13s Most Improved), Natasha Lightburn (Coaches Player), Sophie Vickers (U16s Most Improved) and Maddie Knight (Coaches Player).