CHAMPIONSHIP winning captain Ben Scarrow hailed his St Ives firsts side after they secured the NE14 East Men’s League Division One title with a crushing 4-1 home win over Waltham Forest on Saturday.

CHAMPIONSHIP winning captain Ben Scarrow hailed his St Ives firsts side after they secured the NE14 East Men's League Division One title with a crushing 4-1 home win over Waltham Forest on Saturday.

With promotion to Premier B for next season already in the bag, Ives knew they still had a job to do, as only three points would secure the crown, with second-placed Colchester still looking to snatch it from under their noses.

But Ives put in a thoroughly professional display against an in-form Waltham side, who had won four of their last five games along with being the division's highest scorers.

Braces apiece for Darren Coles and Derrick Pope capped a top quality display of hockey from the hosts.

The reward was fully deserved for an Ives side, who have been a mark of consistency in the second half of the season, which Scarrow believes was ultimately the difference.

“The consistency has been there - where as last year, we pretty much took points off everyone - but couldn't string a run of results together,” he said.

“At the turn of the year this time, we managed to put a run together that took us from mid-table up to second.

“Beating Colchester last month was the difference, I think, between finishing top half and in the promotion spots.

“Once we beat them, we took that momentum on into the final league fixtures.”

And Scarrow is confident the team will be able to cut it in Premier B next season – the highest level of hockey the club has ever reached.

He said: “In Premier hockey, only two go down – as opposed to four in Division One - so five wins and a couple of draws will keep us up. That'll be our first target.

“There will be a couple of players leaving to go to university and we'll have to gel the new players together quickly, but it should be, more or less, the same squad going into next season.”

And with this, Ives' third promotion in five seasons, having gone from Division 3NW to Premier B, Scarrow said the club – now just two more promotions away from the national leagues - will soon be re-evaluating its goals.

He said: “We wrote a development plan five years ago, which included achieving Premier hockey, which we've now done.

“So we're about to re-do the whole plan to make sure, as a club, we've got the backing from a financial point of view, as well as the right training structure in place to carry on moving forward.”

• In other action, the Ladies' firsts eased any lingering relegation fears from East Women's League Division 1N, as a Helen Clarke double earned them a 2-1 win at Cambridge City seconds.