Fareham ladies, South Women's League Division 3B champions 2019-20.
Standing (from left): Stephen Morse (manager), Rachael Clark, Hannah Simon, Heather Batten, Emily Denham, Kiera Denham, Laura Pendleton, Georgia Collins, Ange Cryne. Kneeling: Hayley Wood, Hannah Oldham, Sophie Raymond, Lydia Rosewall, Tara Lemon, Vicky Field, Lydia Jackson. Far right: Steve Lemon.
The UK population are being forced to improvise given the current nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus epidemic.
And Fareham Ladies' first-team were no different as they still found a way to come together – despite social distancing restrictions - to celebrate being crowned South Women's League Division 3B champions, writes Lewis Mason of the News, Portsmouth.
Steve Lemon's side discovered top spot was secured following the authorities' decision to leave all six divisions in the section as they were after 19 matches as the hockey season was cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
That means that Fareham, a point clear of Old Georgians in Division 3B with three games left, will now go up as champions.
Fareham and OGs will replace Worthing and draw specialists Trojans II in Division 2 next season.
But there was just one thing missing as the squad and management came together on a video conference to celebrate the news - they had no trophy.
It remains to be seen when they can finally get their hands on the silverware, but head coach Lemon - whose team won 15 of their 19 games, drawing two and losing only to second-placed Old Georgians and third-placed Havant - is not overly fussed.
‘We had one of these group conference chats where we all had a chat and a beer each to celebrate and say well done to everyone,' he beamed.
'Apparently there will be a trophy at some stage. They normally hand it over at the AGM in May but that has already been postponed.
‘We’ll get a trophy at some stage when this is all over, we’ll get ourselves together and have a proper celebration.
‘Apart from my daughter, I haven’t seen any of the girls since we won it which is a little bit sad.
‘We had a little video conference chat the day after we found out.
‘I thanked the girls for all their efforts. But that’s about all we’ve been able to do.
‘We don’t need the trophy, everyone had worked hard and got the rewards for the hard work put in.'
Fareham conceded just 19 goals in as many league matches as they clinched the title, Jill Tovey producing several fine displays behind the posts.
Batten has a Field day
But it was the quality at the other end of Heather Batten and Vicky Field that made the difference.
Leading scorer Batten, who dropped down several rungs on the hockey ladder to join from National League Trojans in the summer, grabbed 24 goals while Field netted 17.
Between them, they contributed more than half of the team’s 74 goals over the league campaign.
'We’ve been in the league for five or six years and we’ve been trying to get out for a while,' added Lemon.
‘I’d have been grumpy if we hadn’t done it this season.
‘Apart from the first year, we’ve been in the top six for all of them.
‘This year we were lucky enough to sign Heather.’
Batten began the season in sensational fashion, netting 17 goals in her first five appearances.
She belted five on her debut in an 11-0 trouncing of Tulse Hill & Dulwich and added five more in a 7-0 win over Haslemere. Four more followed in a 7-1 thrashing of Lewes.
‘Heather has given us those goals to push us over the line that we probably haven’t scored in previous seasons,’ Lemon remarked.
‘Those extra 20 goals were key.'
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