Double delight for Hampstead & Westminster as men survive and ladies secure historic promotion

Hampstead & Westminster's Will Naylor struck in the 1-1 draw against Wimbledon. Pic: Mark Clews

Hampstead & Westminster's Will Naylor struck in the 1-1 draw against Wimbledon. Pic: Mark Clews - Credit: Archant

There was double delight for Hampstead & Westminster at the weekend as their men’s team avoided relegation in the Premier Division while the ladies secured promotion.

Hampstead & Westminster's ladies' first team have secured promotion

Hampstead & Westminster's ladies' first team have secured promotion - Credit: Archant

The men’s first team travelled to relegation rivals Southgate on Saturday and, although Callum Burden had a goal disallowed for the hosts in a tense encounter, the game ended in a goalless stalemate which all but ensured H&W’s place in the top flight next season.

They played their final game at Wimbledon on Sunday knowing it would take a 15-goal swing in goal difference to relegate them and the more relaxed nature of the game became evident as the visitors gradually relaxed.

Andy Hayward was unable to capitalise on two short corners in the first period, but Will Naylor broke the deadlock for Hampstead after the break with a typical push over the line from five yards.

Tiring after their exertions the previous day, Hampstead were unable to sustain their lead for long and Wimbledon equalised before a fairly uneventful closing period as the game ended, perhaps fairly, 1-1.

Meanwhile, Hampstead’s ladies went into their penultimate game of the season needing a point to secure the title in the South of England Premier Division and guarantee promotion to the Investec National League for the first time in their 30-year history.

H&W had gone agonisingly close in the previous three seasons – and the previous weekend, when a late equaliser from Oxford University delayed their celebrations – but they were not to be denied again as a 1-0 win over Reading finished the job with a game to spare.

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The decisive goal came after just 30 seconds as Hampstead pounced on an error and a fast move down the left involving Helene Godsen, Caroline Ford and Juliet Chapman resulted in a fierce reverse stick shot from Alice Garrad which nestled in the bottom corner.

Having learned the lessons of their previous game, H&W played the final five minutes by Reading’s corner flag, and the final whistle heralded the beginning of some epic celebrations – not least for defender Joy Ferneyhough in her 20th season for the ladies’ first team.

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