THE Ben Rhydding Men, who knew from the start that only a win would do to gain promotion, did just that winning 2-1 against a strong Neston side with a last-minute goal.

From the outset, Ben Rhydding dominated and the large crowd gave plenty of support but the tension showed and smooth play was hard to find.

Rhydding won the occasional short corner, but were unable to find a way through the Neston defence and went into half-time goalless.

With regular coach, Demy Dowley, having to watch a live stream of the game from her temporary base in New Zealand it was up to assistant coach Warwick Smither to lead the half-time talk and instil more confidence in the team.

Ten minutes into the second half saw a change in tactics at the short corner and a well-drilled conversion by Myles Locke gave Rhydding a 1-0 lead.

Rhydding kept competing and looking for the second goal, but it was Neston who found the net from their first short corner to take it to 1-1 with 10 minutes to go.

Rhydding sacrificed their goalkeeper in search of the winner and had to rely on a great defensive tackle from Matt Birch to save them from conceding a second goal to Neston.

Then, with just a minute left on the clock a pass into the defence from Lewis Wild was deflected goalwards into the air by Charlie Smith before man of the match Dave McCollum smashed it into the back of the net to give Rhydding the winner and seal third place in the league, securing promotion to the North Premier League next season.

Ben Rhydding Ladies moved up to fifth place with a 3-1 win in a derby at Leeds in their final league game of the season.

Kelly Baxter scored a pair of goals in the first half to give Rhydding a comfortable lead and in spite of conceding a penalty stroke just before half-time, a goal from Rachel Doherty early in the second half was enough for the 3-1 victory.

The team have gained promotion to the new Division One North but celebrations were put on hold as their big game of the weekend came on Sunday in the semi-final of the England Hockey Championships.

Hampstead and Westminster, who had just won the Conference East on the Saturday, beat the Ben Rhydding Ladies 4-1 in the cup semi-final.

The first half was fairly even and ended scoreless though there were chances for both teams.

Rafaela Brandao-Lee, in her last game at Ben Rhydding before heading off to university, had a her goa bound strike saved well saved and Kate Wood almost got on the end of a well-struck cross by Sarah Bell.

Hampstead and Westminster had numerous penalty corners but Ben Rhydding defended these well and twice cleared off line.

In the second half, Ben Rhydding ran out of steam, as the full strength squad from London began to dominate.

Two goals from penalty corners gave them a 2-0 lead before a great reverse stick strike saw the visitors reach comfortable three-goal lead.

A further short corner extended the lead before Ben Rhydding scored a late consolation goal from a penalty corner when Beth Cordukes deflected the ball past the keeper.