Pendle Forest Veterans have reached the final of England Hockey Women’s over 35s Champions Plate thanks to a thrilling 3-2 win against Seven Oaks.

Forest made the long trip to Kent for the semi final clash and, after storming to a 3-0 lead, showed real composure to survive a fightback from their hosts.

They will now play at the ‘home of hockey’ when the final is held at Lee Valley on April 29.

Buoyed by inspirational exuberance and positivity from captain Karen Wignall and tempered by the steadying voice of calm and reason from Laura Kendall during the warm up, the prospect of playing at Lee Valley in the final, the pleasure of another night in a Premier Inn and a pack lunch after the match, Pendle took it to the home side from the whistle, narrowly missing scoring several times in the first few attacks.

After eight minutes another Pendle attack finally reaped the opening goal when Sally Evans skirted through the midfield, switched the ball left to Steph Bedford who took the ball into the D. She dragged the keeper right, to then strike across goal into the left corner.

Deb Bythall turned over a Seven Oaks attack in their 23 which saw Pendle break again. Passing to Charlotte Hartley on the left flank her ball to Claire Birkett was calmly and expertly held up until Cathy Kilgallon joined the action, earning Pendle’s second Penalty Corner skilfully putting ball on foot.

Fiona Head injected to Crewe, her slip left to Kilgallon saw her shot saved, but Hartley pounced on the rebound firing it into the net.

Seven Oaks were awarded a plethora of penalty corners in the first half, all of which were calmly and effectively dealt with by substitute keeper for Kendall, Jayne Kirkpatrick.

Pendle dominated the rest of the half even after Gill was green carded for a stick tackle and went to half time with a comfortable lead.

Pendle started the second half strongly and Hartley added a third not long after the whistle. Dribbling through from midfield beating four defenders, took the ball left, then right as Bedford had the first half, firing home.

Oaks keeper kept the score at three with key saves but a change in formation saw Pendle lose some concentration, giving the ball away cheaply. And a long ball through found it’s player who beat Bell for pace, then beat Kirkpatrick in a one on one.

Minutes later, a foul wasn’t seen on the half way line allowing Oaks to score a second past a diving Kirkpatrick from a straight strike.

With eight minutes remaining, Head received a green card for not being five yards, adding to the pressure. But Pendle held their composure and with a final attack into the Pendle D, the whistle sounded and so did the roars of victory from the travelling team.