HOCKEY: Newbury and Thatcham sealed promotion to Regional Division One of the Middlesex, Berks, Bucks and Oxon League with Saturday’s 3-1 win over an already doomed Witney at Henwick.
With that target met, the final ambition will be to snatch top spot back off Eastcote II in their final outings on, needing to win at Bracknell while their rivals – now with a superior goal difference - go to Milton Keynes II.
Newbury had to shake themselves up after falling behind to Mike Godwin’s simple tap-in and they were soon back on terms when man of the match Martin Hitchcock got the first of his double from an accurate short corner strike before doubling his and his side’s tally after linking with Luke Barrington to score with a neat reverse-stick flick over the advancing goalkeeper.
Newbury knew they just needed to keep their heads and the chances would come after the break, but instead a nervy spell saw a string of yellow cards that reduced both numbers.
Newbury still managed to dominate and eventually stretched their lead when a raking cross from Lee Jordan was met at full stretch by the diving stick of Kevin Randall.
There was still time for a bit of late drama when Jordan also found himself taking an enforced rest but the result was already in the bag, Newbury gaining promotion with a match to spare after they followed a shaky league start with a run of only one defeat in 17 matches.
Newbury and Thatcham: Butler; Johnson, Digby, Morley, Ferguson, Alewood, Jordan, Hall, Randall, Radbourne-Smith, Hitchcock, Barrington.