Hockey: Amrit strike gives relieved Essex first county title

Amrit Singh's 57th-minute goal at Essex's sixth penalty corner was enough to give them their first County Championship title when they beat Warwickshire 1-0 at Chelmsford yesterday after a 2-0 semi-final victory over Lancashire.

Amrit Singh's 57th-minute goal at Essex's sixth penalty corner was enough to give them their first County Championship title when they beat Warwickshire 1-0 at Chelmsford yesterday after a 2-0 semi-final victory over Lancashire.

In a dour contest, with careless misses at both ends, the game looked to be turning Essex's way when Josh Mepham took on the Warwickshire defence in the 46th minute, only to be floored by the Warwickshire goalkeeper Ela Tziambazis.

Jonny Wilcox came off the bench to take the resulting penalty stroke, but he put a powerful stroke well wide.

It was with relief 11 minutes later, after Andrew Kennedy's penalty corner drive was blocked by the keeper, that Amrit slipped in for the winner.

With three minutes left, Dafydd Bowles set Simon McCollum up for what should have been the equaliser only for him to shoot wide. The game ended with Wilcox himself winning a second penalty stroke, but he could only trickle the ball goalwards to allow Tziambazis the simplest of saves.

There was also a first title for Bucks in the Under-21 tournament when, requiring a three-goal clear margin in their final game, they defeated Essex 4-1.

Bucks, who set themselves up with an 11-1 victory against Combined Services in their penultimate game, thanks to a seven goal haul from Eastcote's Seb Malti, left it late in their final game, scoring twice in the last three minutes to take the title.

On Saturday, Staines, after a 1-1 draw with Tunbridge Wells, won the women's trophy final 4-2 in a penalty stroke shoot-out. Bolton beat Brentwood 3-1 in the Vase final.

In the Netherlands, Amsterdam retained their Premier League title when they beat Bloemendaal in two straight final play-off games. Britain's David Mathews, the league's top scorer with 34, scored four of their six goals.

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