Leyland and Chorley Hockey Club ladies 1sts coach Rob Alty praised the ‘fantastic achievement’ of his side as they were crowned champions of the league after a 5-0 away victory over Windermere.
Unbeaten Leyland, who have won all 13 league matches this season, have an unassailable lead at the top of the Lancashire Central Women’s Hockey Association Second Division with three games left to play.
The women’s division nearly folded back in 2012 but thanks to Alty, club captain Sarah King and a core group of players they bounced back from oblivion to dominate the league.
Alty said: “We set out this season with the objective of promotion but thanks to the ladies’ dedication we have exceeded that target.
“We have a 100% winning record in the league and we have currently conceded four goals in 15 matches in all competitions while scoring 103.
“There is a very good core in this club and with player numbers swelling from seven in 2012 to 42 in 2013 this shows the direction the club is going.”
The club were forced to relocate training from Leyland St Mary’s RC High School after the September fire to Southlands High School, Chorley.
And Alty believes the move increased the team spirit.
He said: “Training has not been the easiest this season. We have been relocated to Southlands with less pitch time on a seven-a-side pitch that has no hockey goals. This in itself has brought the players closer.”
Leyland stormed past Windermere to secure the title thanks to an opening goal from Paula Thornton and four more from top scorer Raelene Strickland.
Captain King hailed the ladies transformation. She said: “I’m absolutely amazed at what we have achieved this season, the dedication by every player has helped us to become champions with three games left, it is an amazing achievement.
“This could not have been done without the support of the ladies’ 2nd team, who are also fighting for promotion – an equally impressive statistic given they were a completely new team this season.
“Rob, our coach, has been amazing. He really has helped to turn this club around. The time and effort that he and others have put in this season has really paid off.
“We just need to win our final three games to complete a perfect season.”