WHILE Windermere are guaranteed top-flight hockey next season, skipper Scott Santamera wants his side to grasp the tag of champions and finish the campaign as the division’s leading lights.

A Liam Derome doubled proved sufficient for Mere to claim a narrow victory over lowly Formby, a win which secures the South Lakes outfit promotion – their fourth in as many years.

But after losing their opening two games of the season to Bowdon and Prescot, Santamera admits promotion was the last thing on his mind after such an inauspicious start.

“It’s good to get promoted and we’re happy with that but it would be even better to win the league title – the cherry on top of the cake,” he said.

“We didn’t have a great start to the season and lost our first few games so weren’t sure how we would fare as we progressed through the campaign.

“In the early stages we were thinking more along the lines of just trying to win a few games so it hasn’t been a bad turnaround in the end.

“Promotion is not what we initially envisaged and wasn’t the aim but we were top at Christmas and knew we would be in with a great shout if we maintained our form.”

Derome fired Mere ahead with the only goal of the first-half, running onto a flick from Richie Jackson before shooting into the bottom right corner.

In an unconvincing second period, Derome netted again from a rebound before a ball along the base line resulted in Formby making the scoresheet with a late own goal.

Although not at their best, Mere claimed their 14th success of the season while victory at Bangor on Saturday will see Santamera and Co. crowned champions of North West Hockey League Division Two.

“To be honest we didn’t play our best hockey against Formby but saying that we weren’t particularly threatened at the back and their goal came from a defensive error.

“We didn’t create too many chances of our own but it was more about getting the win to be fair and if we can play badly and win things can’t be too bad.”