Preston are county cup kings

Preston players after their promotion
Preston players after their promotion
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Preston Hockey Club capped a fine season by retaining the Lancashire Cup in emphatic fashion, beating Manchester opponents Didsbury Northern 5-1.

The win – Preston’s ninth in the history of the competition –followed hard on the heels of their promotion-winning league campaign.

The club will be playing National League hockey again next season.

Before the final. player-coach Martin Scanlon urged the need to avoid complacency, knowing that their opposition were from two leagues below them.

Didsbury had also enjoyed a successful league campaign in winning the North League Division Two, accumulating more than 140 goals in the process, so were not to be underestimated.

Preston started the game brightly and took control from the first whistle.

The back four were very patient in moving the ball around to feed Dave Greenough, Tom Galloway and Adam Wilson in the midfield.

This brought a couple of chances in the opening 10 minutes, the closest going to Steven Masterson who shot over the bar on his reverse stick.

Didsbury then went close on the counter-attack but lacked the finishing to match their attacking endeavours.

The deadlock was finally broken on the 17th minute.

Wilson made another powerful run through the Didsbury midfielders and smashed the ball towards goal where Masterson was on hand to guide it past the keeper.

Preston then doubled their lead five minutes later. The forwards worked tirelessly to put the Didsbury backline under pressure and it paid off when Greenough stole the ball from them in their own 25 metres. David Sullivan picked up the ball and put in Scanlon, who smashed the ball high into the top corner and it stayed at 2-0 going into half-time.

Shortly after the break, Preston virtually settled the outcome

Masterson worked a short corner by finding a foot in the D and Wilson drag-flicked the ball the find the bottom corner via a deflection.

Didsbury got one back to give themselves some belief going into the final minutes.

But as they pushed forward looking for a second goal, Preston hit them on the break.

Scanlon picked up the ball high and found Sullivan, who turned and hit a reverse-stick shot hard into the corner.

And 4-1 became 5-1 from another short corner which was hammered home by Wilson.

Captain Robin Taylor said: “We came here not only to do a professional job but to add more silverware to what has been a terrific season for this squad.

“We’ll now look forward to some rest before preparing ourselves for a bigger challenge which lies ahead next September.”

Springfields ladies 3rds completed a hat-trick of promotions for the club. They secured the runners-up spot in Division One of Lancashire Central Women’s Hockey League and promotion to the Premier Division.

Springfields men’s 1sts and ladies 1sts also clinched promotion earlier this month.

The ladies 4ths finished third in their league and Springs ladies’ 2nds finished in mid-table of the North West Hockey League Division Two North West.

After bagging the Lancashire title earlier this month, Springfields Under-12s boys finished fourth in the North County Finals in Leeds.