Eastbourne Hockey Club made sure of their place in the Southern Premier Division next season after securing a dramatic 4-3 victory over Sevenoaks last weekend.
The impressive win, which saw Eastbourne come back from 3-1 down, was enough to banish any fears of relegation and ensure they remain in the top flight for a third successive season.
Manager David Adelston said, “The South East has some of the strongest hockey teams in the country, which means not many teams from this area get relegated from the National Leagues into our division.
“It was important for us to stay in this division last year and again this year. It’s a tough league but we are learning more and getting stronger with every season that we play.
“Last season, teams probably played us thinking they had a good chance of a win but this year, they know we’ll give them an extremely tough game.
“The guys are very young and after two seasons in this league, they’re learning to play fast, unselfish hockey.
“While they all have great individual skill, it’s about playing it in the right areas. Chris Bristow has also done a fantastic job making them believe in themselves again.”
That belief was plain as day for all to see on Saturday as Eastbourne battled to wipe out a two-goal deficit and claim all three valuable points.
After taking the lead through a Steve Perry deflection, they found themselves pegged back by an own goal.
Sevenoaks gained confidence and went on to net two more before Eastbourne dug their heels in and fought back.
Matt Minister got on the score sheet before a double from Mike Burney secured the last-gasp and vital victory.
Adelston added, “It was quite a game. We started well and in control but the own goal undid a lot of our good work.
“The winning goal was absolutely amazing - the best goal we’ve scored all season and possibly even ever.
“The strike was a carbon copy of Mike’s earlier one but the build up by Matt and Steve was so much better.”
Eastbourne are next in action on April 6, when they host Chichester at the Saffrons.