Bishop's Stortford go into Christmas break six points clear at the top of East Women's League, Premier Division as they aim to reach National League
Bishop's Stortford are going into the Christmas break six points clear at the top of the East Women's League, Premier Division as they bid to secure promotion to the National League.
They won their final game of 2021 in convincing fashion as two goals from Livvy Smerdon and one apiece from Sally Powell, Katie Richards and Pearl Mason-Smith helped them triumph 5-1 at bottom side Ipswich & East Suffolk.
The table-toppers have won 10 of their 12 matches and are the leading scorers with 48 goals, netting an average of four per game.
"The club is ambitious and we have a large squad of talented players – no fewer than 19 players have represented the first XI so far this season – and we find ourselves in a very strong position," said coach Nick Prowse.
"Last year, until the pandemic brought an abrupt end to the season, we were in a very strong position and now we are hoping there is no interference this time around in the fixture programme."
Stortford are now having a well-earned rest before resuming their mission to claim the title and clinch promotion.
They have a home friendly arranged against Bury St Edmunds on January 8 before returning to league action against St Albans II at the Herts and Essex Sports Centre on January 15.
"A glance at the table shows we have been the best team this season, scoring 48 goals and also having one of the best defensive records," said Mark Surridge, who manages the side when Prowse is unavailable.
"This highlights the fact we are playing a very attacking style of hockey – high intensity, high tempo with aggressive pressing and with equally strong defence. This is proving a very successful formula.
"We have a good blend of youth and experience and in the evergreen Sally Powell, who was deservedly player of the day once again in our last game, and Charlie Leonard, our popular captain, we have strong leadership in the squad.
"And well-attended training sessions show we have a cohort of younger players, some still at school, who are joining the ranks and pressing their claims for selection."