Sports Awards 2012: A vintage year for Leicester Ladies - the hockey queens
Success and Leicester Ladies hockey club go hand in hand. But even by their own high standards, 2012 has been a vintage year. The club is among the prime candidates for the Team of the Year trophy in the Mercury Sports Awards after lifting the National Hockey League championship and the National Indoor title.
Their successes came in far from straightforward circumstances, too. They had to play for much of the season without a number of their leading players as Crista Cullen, Hannah Macleod, Anne Panter and Chloe Rogers all had spells preparing to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, where they were ultimately to be rewarded with bronze medals.
The Leicester club, who are sponsored by Pukka Pies, breezed into the indoor final on the back of a crushing 7-3 semi-final victory over Sutton Coldfield at Loughborough.
The final was to prove a very different story as Lauren Turner scored the only goal of the game at Wembley Arena to beat Reading.
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"It just wasn't happening," said club president Sarah Treanor. "We had opportunity after opportunity. The goalkeepers were having good games and it wasn't until three-quarters of the way through the match that we got our goal.
"As you can imagine, we were very pleased after all the planning, work and effort we had put in before the competition."
Reading loomed again in a league championship final which was to produce the most dramatic of finishes.
The Berkshire outfit had finished the season at the top of the table, with Leicester in second place.
However, the city team showed how determined they were to complete an outstanding double when they hammered Canterbury 4-1 in their play-off semi-final.
As anticipated there was little to choose between the finalists and they were locked at 1-1 after extra-time.
The first round of penalty shuttles failed to produce a winner, each team scoring twice from three attempts, and that set up sudden-death.
Rogers stepped up and hammered the ball into the roof of the net, sparking more Leicester celebrations.
"Things are never easy,"said Sarah. "It has to be really nerve-racking and traumatic!
"We knew at the start of the season that we would have up to eight players unavailable for certain games. So to come out of it with two national titles is, for me, the sweetest feeling."
To nominate an athlete or team, complete the form below. Nominations close on December 4.