Skipper Clay lifts Sussex Premier title

Skipper Sharon Clay
Skipper Sharon Clay

Eastbourne Ladies Hockey Club captain Sharon Clay heaped praise on the players and coaching staff after they clinched the Sussex Premier Division title in style last Saturday.

The Ladies walloped Burgess Hill 7-0 to claim the trophy by two points from nearest rivals East Grinstead.

Sharon, 43, has played first team hockey at Eastbourne since 1991. She said, “It has been a tremendous season and to seal it by scoring seven against a very good Burgess Hill side is unbelievable.

“Burgess Hill have picked up some good results this season but we approached the game as we have done all year and we got the right result.

“This group of players really deserve it. We are a hardworking and dedicated bunch and we have received tremendous support from coaches Tony Hayes and Jane Parkinson.

“They have helped us play at a very consistent level all season.”

With the title comes promotion to the competitive Ladies South Regional 3B league. At 43, Sharon is the oldest member of the team but insists she is still one of the fittest.

The skipper, who has featured in the demanding centre midfield role throughout the campaign, added, “I fully intend to be playing next season.

“I have worked hard to keep the fitness levels this season and I feel I can continue to play and continue as captain - the players have already said they want me to do that.”

While the league campaign is over, the ladies still have unfinished business in the National Vase competition.

On Sunday, they take on Stafford in the semi-final and victory would see them reach the final and a chance of completing an incredible league and cup double.

“We are travelling up on the Saturday and staying overnight in Stafford. It should be a great weekend and it just shows the team spirit we have created here.

“A final in the Vase would be a great way to finish off the season.”

The success of the ladies is in contrast to the men. The men had a tough year and were relegated from the Southern Premier without winning a game.

Sharon added, “The men have struggled this season so hopefully our success can balance that out.”

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