Hockey: Sheffield Hallam hit the big time

Sheffield's Phil Roper, right, is challenged by Wimbledon's John Kinder. Pic: Ady Kerry/PA Wire
Sheffield's Phil Roper, right, is challenged by Wimbledon's John Kinder. Pic: Ady Kerry/PA Wire
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Sheffield Hallam hockey club made it a weekend to remember after winning promotion to the NOW: Pensions Premier Division.

The Abbeydale Park-based club have been promoted after coming through the play-offs at Reading Hockey Club’s Sonning Lane ground.

Sheffield Hallam needed to finish in the top two of a group of four, which also included Cardiff, Wimbledon and Southgate.

Last weekend a comfortable 3-0 win over Southgate in the first of their three play-off games had put Sheffield Hallam in a confident frame of mind for matches on Saturday and Sunday.

Phil Roper starred for the Sheffield Hallam on Saturday as they drew 4-4 with Cardiff.

Roper scored all four of his team’s goals.

And when Cardiff beat Southgate in the first match on Sunday it meant that Sheffield Hallam could afford to lose their game yesterday against Wimbledon.

Despite going 2-0 down after 40 minutes Sheffield knew that they would be promoted if they could keep Wimbledon from winning by five goals.

But there was no sign of a defensive mentality from them and they went looking for a way back into the game.

Their attitude paid off with five minutes left on the clock as Mike Shaw stepped up to rifle the ball in from a corner to make it 2-1.

Sheffield Hallam star Roper said: “It’s fantastic to get to play in the NOW: Pensions Premier Division next season.

“It (the Wimbledon defeat) wasn’t quite the result we wanted, but given the result of the other game we knew going in that we were almost there.

“Our ambitions as a club are big over the next four or five years - we’ve worked really hard to get to where we are and we can’t wait to play the top teams next season.”

In other matches Beeston were crowned as champions of the Premier League after beating Surbiton 5-1 in the final and host club Reading beat Canterbury 4-0 to finish third and secure their place in European competition next season.