Horsham ladies will be playing at the pinnacle of hockey again next season after sealing promotion back to the Investec Women’s League.
Their 4-2 victory over Reading at the weekend secured promotion and the team’s return to the national stage next season.
The result means they are guaranteed a top-two finish in Division 1 of the South League and will step back up to one of the Conference divisions next year.
They have lost just one of their 21 games so far, winning 16 and captain Hannah Simpson said: “This season has been very successful. We had a new coach (Chris Bowen) this year and he has brought in new ideas which the team has responded well too.
“We have developed our style and worked hard to continue to improve. It means a lot to be promoted back into national and we are excited about the new challenge.
“We are very much looking forward to next season but there is a lot of work to do before the season starts.”
The ladies last played in the national leagues back in 2015 when their eight-year stay at that level was ended.
With one game left to play against leaders Surbiton and sitting level on points with them, Horsham still have an outside chance of winning the league.
They would need to beat Surbiton and hope the leaders then lose their game in hand.
Team manager Jane Denman added: “With a new coach and lots of young players trying to consolidate the team, the aim was to maybe push on and go for National League the following year in 2018-19.
“The team has consisted of a very mixed age range and I think that was the special ingredient.
“The girls are a happy bunch and played as a team, enjoying a great spirit. They have worked very hard and over the last couple of months have played out of their skins to win most of the games so we are now celebrating being promoted to National League a year early.”