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The Northern Combination was one of the tighest contested leagues in the country this season, going down to the very last match after three teams had been involved in the title battle.
That last match saw South Durham & Cestria win 3-1 away to Huddersfield Town, goals from Zoe Ness, Jen Jennings and Lauren Jordinson giving their team the victory they needed in order to take the title on goal difference from Chorley, with Bradford City only just behind.
South Durham opened up the season with six straight victories and after defeats in both of their next two matches, they bounced back with a crucial 4-2 win over Chorley who, in their first season in the league, had been setting the early pace. The next three games were all won before a vital three match run against their two main rivals. They completed the double over Chorley and although they lost the first meeting with Bradford, they won the return to keep up their title challenge. Another reverse to in-form Stockport gave way to a finish where they won four and drew the other of their last five matches, ending with the title clinching victory at Huddersfield.
"Winning the league is a fantastic achievement given that ten members of the squad are aged 16-17 and in their first season of senior football," says manager Lee Sanders. "Backed by some fantastic experience, it has proven a good blend. Credit must go to Chorley and Bradford as we could have finished third without a win [against Huddersfield], that's how close it was.
"It gives us confidence as we change to Durham WFC with Durham University to enter FA WSL 2 next year. An exciting time lies ahead for both north east based players and the BUCS players within the university to be part of, as one club.
"Andy Cook has been an outstanding coach and will take the team forward in the right way. Colin Harker, who managed the team for a number of years, also deserves alot of credit for the success the team has achieved this season."
Jen Jennings captained the victorious South Durham squad and leading goalscorer was highly rated striker Zoe Ness, who is also a Scotland Under-19 international.
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