CUMBRIA Women just fell short of pulling off a remarkable hat-trick of English County Hockey Championships when they lost 3-1 in the competition’s final at Hazelmere in Surrey.

Northern Section qualifiers Cumbria were pitched against favourites Suffolk, the winners of the Southern Section, in the semi-finals.

After a frantic first quarter the score was all square at 2-2. Cumbria opened the scoring after two minutes through a move started by Emma Hill and converted by Kendal’s Vicky Jones.

Almost as quickly Suffolk equalised through Linda Rose and went into a 2-1 lead after 14 minutes through Lizzie Aldous. Cumbria equalised after 18 minutes through Nicola Conway.

It was a nipo-and-tuck battle for the remainder of the first half without further score.

After the interval Cumbria came out with all guns blazing and within seven minutes were 5-2 up, with three goals all coming from Vicky Jones.

Suffolk fought back with goals from Charlotte Anderson and Hannah Brooks, but Cumbria remained in control to run out 5-4 winners.

In the final Cumbria met Middlesex who had defeated Humberside 5-2 in their semi-final.

It was a much cagier first half than the semi-finals with Cumbria having the majority of possession and Nicola Martindale controlling midfield.

Cumbria thought they had taken the lead midway through the half when Lisa Potter swept in a short corner but it was ruled out.

To add insult to injury Middlesex took the lead shortly afterwards when Kerri Lendon wriggled past Hannah Sherlock and stroked the ball home.

Cumbria were not going to let their title go easily and surged forwarded after the interval.Vicky Jones equalised for them eight minutes into the second half and went on to dominate, although a well-organised defence kept them at bay.

A penalty shoot-out was looking likely when a long ball towards the Cumbria D deflected into the path of Gemma Dunnett and she put Middlesex back ahead at 2-1.

Lisa Potter, venting her frustration from her disallowed goal, was sent off, but Cumbria threw all caution to the wind in an attempt to rescue the game.

In the dying seconds Middlesex’s Triona Doyle intencepted an ambitious clearance from goalkeeper Dani Tedford and she made the final score 3-1.

Cumbria Coach Tom Leach said that he was pleased with the team’s performance because they had dominated in both their games but it was just not to be their day.