WITNEY are aiming to add another chapter to their remarkable story when they take on some of the biggest clubs in the country next season.

The west Oxfordshire outfit’s ladies 1s will play in the second tier of English hockey for the first time in their history in 2022/23.

It has been an incredible rise, with Witney winning the National Conference West title last season to clinch their fourth promotion in six years.

The Lambs are preparing for their first campaign in Division One South, where they will join clubs like Sevenoaks and the second teams of Surbiton and Wimbledon.

Their title win is even more impressive considering it was achieved with most of the squad that gained promotion to National Conference West in 2020/21.

Defender Amy Williams said: “Our objective was always just to stay up and improve as a team.

“We never considered promotion, just building on each game and enjoying the game we love.”

She added: “We lost to Wimbledon in a friendly after Christmas so we know how tough the league above will be.

“But we just want to continue to improve as a team and play exciting, fearless hockey.”

Witney are thriving at their Wood Green School base, boasting more than 350 members and a growing junior section for five to 18-year-olds.

That homegrown ethos goes all the way through the age groups to the ladies’ first team, with all players based within 30 minutes of the town.

Their stars include 13-goal forward Abi Florey and 19-year-old defender Molly Larkin, whose fearless attitude makes her the first line of defence from opposition penalty corners.

Nine first-team players came through Witney’s youth system and many have been involved throughout their run of promotions, starting in South Division Three A in 2016/17.

“Seven of the team that were promoted in 2016/17 also started the game against Clifton on the last game of this season,” Williams said.

“We’ve had the same captain, defender Katie Gatt, and same coach, Chris Boyle, and many former players have remained involved with the squad.

“There have been some key additions along the way, but there was only one new player at Christmas from the team that was promoted into Conference West.”

Boyle is a former international goalkeeper for France and has been at the helm for 15 years, adding thorough tactical preparation and implementing the champagne hockey that has propelled Witney to one promotion away from taking on Rio gold-medallists in the Vitality Women’s Premier Division.

“He has a wealth of experience and incredible dedication to the team,” Williams said.