Havant’s bid to play England Premier Division hockey next season ended with a 8-1 defeat by star studded Old Georgians in their final play-off match at the Lee Valley Olympic Park.
The Weybridge-based club, who won the Eastern Conference title, will play in the Premier next term alongside Exeter University, who retained their national league status with a dramatic 3-2 win over Bowdon, coming from two goals down.
Havant beat Bowdon 4-1 in their opening play-off match but, having been beaten themselves by the Exeter students, had to pull off a massive giant killing against Old Georgians to keep their faint hopes of promotion alive.
Two down at half-time, Havant pulled a goal back through Matt Cox but in the end were well beaten by a Surrey side containing numerous former England internationals.
“The lads gave everything in the second half and should take huge credit that they never stopped playing and gave it their all,” praised Havant president Chris Pickett.
““Old Georgians, with their present and past International players, are definitely a Premier side and the play-offs showed they deserve to be promoted.”
Reflecting on the play-offs, Pickett said: “For Havant it was a disappointing couple of days, but we must not lose sight that this has been an outstanding season and winning the West Conference was a superb achievement.
“There will be time for reflection and we need to identify where we can improve and progress. Although we did not succeed, we have experienced what is required and experience is a step towards our aspirations and overall goal.
“We can be truly proud of our men’s 1st XI and for me this strengthens my desire and efforts to do whatever can be done to continue their development until we eventually get the rewards and what we deserve.”
Finishing third in the play-offs behind promoted Old Georgians and Exeter University means that Havant will play alongside Fareham in the new national South Division 1 next season. The formation of the new pyramid will be announced in due course.
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