Saturday April 2 – South League Premier Div 2
Purley Walcountians 0 – 4 Horsham Men’s 1st XI
Horsham clinched promotion in style with 46 points and a strong win against, previously troublesome opponents, Purley Walcountians at Banstead to go up into the South Premier Division 1 – English hockey’s third level – one step from the National League. Team Manager Al Campbell told the District Post: “Our excellent travelling supporters were treated to a consummate display of competitive hockey. Horsham made their intentions abundantly clear with a brilliant goal in the opening minute, Freddie Campbell bewildering the Purley defence with an airborne supply collected by Jack Dean who bested three tackles and then saw his shot deflected home by John Burroughs. This perfect start was followed by a trademark Matt Hough short corner conversion, giving us a 2 nil cushion at the break.” Andy McIllwraith’s pinpoint second half pass enabled Dean to beat the keeper, confirming his credentials as the league’s leading scorer before Burroughs scored again to seal the emphatic win.
Ebullient Captain Duncan Howarth said: “Our promotion is an incredible achievement – we’ve pushed the boundaries, taking the club to its highest level of competition – twice in the last four years. We’ve got a brilliant squad and gone from strength to strength.” Player Coach Dom Male told us: “A long season! But I wasn’t worried when we had a few disappointing results because we’ve got goals in many people and it was great to be promoted convincingly with a game in hand!” After running endlessly in every game former captain John Burroughs added: “Six years ago the senior players hatched a development plan: we knew we had the potential. Our men’s section is very strong with eight Saturday sides and we’ve got a motivational youth policy, its fantastic to see great home grown talent coming through and blending so well with the senior players.” Chairman Nick Evans added: “Richly deserved, the result of a lot of hard work and discipline, both on Saturdays and at training. I’m absolutely delighted for everyone making it happen. We’ve got another new challenge, but I am confident that we’ll compete well.” Al Campbell summed up saying: “We’re already thinking about next season! We could lose one or two to university but we’ll be bringing on our academy players and recruiting fresh blood to make sure we give a good account of ourselves.”
Martin Read – Sports Reporter