SOUTHEND & Benfleet ladies are looking forward to taking their place in the Essex Premier league next season after securing their fourth promotion in as many years on Saturday.

The Seasiders claimed a single-goal victory at Old Loughtonians IV and now have a four-point lead at the top of Essex Division One with one game to go.

It was 0-0 at nervy at half-time at the Olympic hockey training ground but minutes into the second half player-of-the-match Adele Cole slotted home the winner on the post to secure a championship winning three points.

It means the new champions can now relax and enjoy their final game of the season at home to Southend II on Saturday.

It was also a good day for S&B’s second team as they walloped third-placed Upminster IV 11-0 in their penultimate game of the season.

The Seasiders, who will finish second in Essex Division Four, secured victory with hat-tricks for Alison Riley and Lesley Tonking, a double for Hannah Daish, and goals for Anna Winfield, Isabelle Williams and Jo Chesters.

It took Tonking’s goal tally for the season to an impressive 38 and she will be hoping to add to that when they finish their league campaign away to Southend III on Saturday.

First team captain Nicola Bryant said: “It has been another absolutely superb season for both of our teams. “And now we're looking forward to finishing in style on Saturday and finally getting back into the Essex Premier next season