HOCKEY: No Payne, no gain as Millie fires St Neots 1sts to derby glory
- Credit: Archant
St Neots 1sts ended the year on a high courtesy of East Women’s League derby delight.
Millie Payne grabbed the only goal as the Saints side claimed the Huntingdonshire bragging rights with a 1-0 victory at St Ives 1sts in a re-arranged Division One North clash last Saturday.
There were few chances in a low-key first half but Saints were much the better side in the second period.
Tanya Sargeant thought she had broken the deadlock when firing in from a short corner, but her effort was disallowed as the ball had not left the 'D'.
Saints shrugged off that disappointment to apply plenty of pressure and were eventually rewarded when Payne burst down the left wing and finished at the near post.
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And after seeing his side extend their unbeaten run to five games, St Neots 1sts coach Nik Payne is dreaming of a promotion bid when the season resumes in January.
He said: "It's a new team with a lot of potential and hopefully we can continue the good run we're on to push for promotion.
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"We lost several key players last summer and had to introduce a lot of youngsters into the 1sts squad.
"It took time for them to find their feet at this level, but they are growing as a group with each week and I'm extremely pleased with where we are.
"We've given ourselves a great platform to build on in the second half of the season."
St Neots 1sts have climbed into fourth spot in the Division One North standings whereas St Ives 1sts face a survival fight as they sit second-bottom.
Elsewhere, St Neots 3rds were beaten 6-0 by Newmarket 2nds in Division Four North-West (South) while the 6ths were pipped 1-0 by Cambridge South 4ths in Division Five North-West (South).
The derby spoils were shared in the East Men's League.
St Neots 3rds and St Ives 4ths battled out a six-goal thriller in Division Six North-West (South) which ended in a 3-3 deadlock.
And St Neots 4ths remain bottom at that level after being beaten 2-0 by Cambridge Nomads 3rds.
Saints' 2nds fared much better though as they climbed into second spot in Division Five North-West courtesy of a 5-0 rout of Bourne Deeping 5ths.