STAFFORDSHIRE men’s senior hockey squad have been crowned National Champions for the first time in 20 years.
The players, who are selected from clubs across the county, defeated Sussex 4-2 in a fiercely contested National Inter-counties finals at Old Loughtonians HC to lift the cup.
Victory is a culmination of five years of training and competition that saw Staffs win promotion back to the top division three years ago.
Since then they have had to console themselves with silver medals in the last two finals, but this year, having won their qualifying tournament at Lincoln in May, the squad went one better to claim the gold medal.
Drawn from eight clubs, including Cannock, Burton and North Staffs, the winning Staffs side showed excellent team spirit within the squad based on trust and respect.
"This was combined with a frightening degree of skill and speed that produced an outstanding quality of hockey this year," said manager Joanne Bandurak.
Captain Stuart Gooderham (Burton HC) has been at the helm throughout those five years and he, finally, was able to lead his players in their celebrations as the final whistle went. On target for Staffs in the final were Will Hearne and Nick Bandurak with two goals apiece.