Pendle Forest 1sts 2

Beeston 2nds 2

THERE’S not many who have been able to stop Pendle Forest ladies hockey team in recent years but a small field mouse tried its best.

The all-conquering Forest team have won three consecutive promotions, gained national recognition and last month clocked up an incredible record of just one defeat in 100 games.

But reputations stood for nothing as the pitch-invading rodent halted play at Marsden Heights Community College, Brierfield in Forest’s Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference North clash with Beeston.

The home side were leading 1-0 at the time thanks to Steph Bedford’s early goal when the mouse decided to join in the action – prompting players, coaches and match officials to join together to try and catch it.

Forest coach Ian Bythell, who safely managed to remove it from the field of play, said: “We were all trying to catch it but I finally got it and put it on my pocket and took it away from the pitch.

“I have never seen anything like it, it was certainly a talking point.”

He added: “Quite a few years ago, a dog got on the pitch but that was down to me!

“We were getting hammered so I thought the girls needed a rest so I opened the gate.

“But I definitely wasn’t’ responsible for the mouse, in fact I think it cost us the victory!”

Forest did go on and double their lead through Freya Bythell but, uncharacteristically, they let the lead slip and Beeston hit back to earn a share of the spoils. The draw was only the third time Forest have dropped points this season

They are currently fourth in the table, a point behind Timperley in third with Sutton Coldfield second a further point ahead.

University of Nottingham have a five point lead at the top and appear favourites to win the title.

Bythell and his players are now re-evaluating their aims for the remainder of the season.

“It has been a superb first half to the season, far better than we thought,” added Bythell whose side were named women’s team of the year in the England Hockey awards in 2018 on the back of an 87-game unbeaten run.

“This is the first time we have played National League hockey so the initial aim was consolidation and just staying in the


“But at the halfway stage, we are fourth and could have gone second had we won the game at the


“Winning the title is probably beyond us as Nottingham are the standout team in the division but who knows.

“I definitely think was could finish in second place so we have raised our expectations and we’ll take it from there.”