Manager John Adams on Harleston Magpies Ladies' I beating Canterbury 3-0 to save their Vitality Women's League Division 1 South status for next season
Manager John Adams hailed the best performance of the season which saw Harleston Magpies Ladies’ I avoid relegation on the final day.
Magpies went into Saturday’s last round of fixtures sitting in ninth place in the Vitality Women’s League Division 1 South table, with only goal difference separating themselves and Cambridge City I in the first available safety slot.
Goals from Beth Gardens, Anna Cogdell and Laura Tibbenham helped clinch a 3-0 home win against Canterbury I for Harleston who, after a nervy wait, discovered Cambridge had lost 3-2 at Barnes I, a pair of results which lifted them out of the relegation zone.
“I’m absolutely over the moon and to be honest we played probably the best game of hockey that we’ve played all season on Saturday,” Magpies manager Adams said.
“Although there might have been a few nerves in the first 10 or 15 minutes, I thought the girls were brilliant in the end.
“We still had a bit of a wait to know how Cambridge had got on. If we won and they won then we’d have to win by two more goals than they did.
“I was confident, but you just can’t be 100 per cent sure. I thought having won 3-0 that I couldn’t see Cambridge beating third-placed Barnes by more than the odd goal. It took five minutes for the result to come through and once we knew that we were safe everybody was jumping up and down.
“Everyone was incredibly excited and ecstatic. It would have been pretty disappointing (to have been relegated), but I think the club has moved on considerably and we’re in a far better position than we were at the start of the season, from a playing point of view.
“We needed to follow that up by staying in the league. That was our goal and we’ve done that, with the added bonus of being promoted to the Premier Division indoors, I think the ladies have had a very successful season.”
Adams also praised the impact of coach Georgia Linnell, who came on board at the start of the campaign, but is moving on to pastures new.
“I thought Georgia settled the girls’ nerves very well in her team talk before the start of the game,” he said.
“Her team talk was inspirational. Unfortunately, Georgia has got a job in Surrey so she won’t be coaching us next season.
“She will be very difficult to replace because she’s changed an awful lot around the club.
“She’s leaving us in a lot better position than we were at the start. She’s done a great job and we’ve got to try to find a replacement for her and that process has now begun.”