Melton Hockey Club Third XI secured promotion after winning a top-of-the-table clash against chief rivals Derwent.
After a slightly anxious start, Melton’s nerves were put at ease when captain Nick Icely swept home the rebound following a well-saved short corner effort struck by Jon Leeman.
Melton’s midfield of Johnson, Stanley, Saffhill, Durrant and Boyne soon took control of the game as clever link-up play and free-flowing passing, started to create some goal chances.
Ed Marlow had a goal effort well-saved by the in-form Derwent keeper, but there was no stopping Craig Durrant’s fierce shot after finishing off a slick Melton midfield passing move.
Melton’s defence, who boast the meanest record in the league, stood firm throughout the game as Parker, Leeman and Exton commanded the back line well and gave goalkeeper Liam Cliffe very little to do.
The match was finally put to bed with another wonder goal from Durrant. Some great individual skill saw him beat two Derwent defenders before neatly placing the ball beyond the keeper.
Melton’s youngsters also continued to impress. Both Jacob Welch and Callum Smith slotted seamlessly into the team to add strength and pace in place of some tiring Melton legs.
Melton Thirds go into the final game at Buxton as league champions after the win gave them an unassailable four-point lead at the top of the East Midlands Division One.
But despite being crowned champions, Melton will still be going into the final game with desire to win and finish the season on a high.
Melton: L. Cliffe, G. Exton, J. Leeman, C. Smith, C. Parker, S. Stanley, D. Boyne, C. Johnson, E. Marlow, N. Icely (c), S. Saffhill, C. Durrant, J. Welch.