HEREFORD Hockey Club secretary Giles Stokes says player unavailability for large periods of the season was the main reason why his side were relegated from Conference North of the GoCrea8 Hockey League.

The city side had to avoid defeat against Yate in the last game of the campaign last Saturday to ensure they did not go back down to De Cymru & The Marches 1.

But Hereford slipped to a 4-2 defeat, meaning Yate stayed up instead.

"We had quite a different midfield last year and we just couldn't cope with the competition," said Stokes.

"It is a big step up in terms of skill and sometimes we were going away with only nine or 10 players to make sure the seconds had a chance as well."

Yate opened up a 4-0 lead last Saturday before Hereford pulled two goals back.

But the home side had two goals disallowed, leaving Stokes disappointed

"The ball hit the defenders' feet and legs on its way of going in and the umpire thought it was dangerous," said Stokes.

"But when you're shooting at goal, the ball can go anywhere.

"But we can't argue with the umpire and have to accept his decision."

Hereford will now enter the Newent Summer League before restarting their league season in September.

Joining Hereford in De Cymru & The Marches 1 will be Leominster, who finished second from bottom in Conference North.

Their latest defeat was an 8-2 hammering at the hands of Swindon.

But it was better news for Ross-on-Wye, who were crowned De Cymru & The Marches 2 champions after thrashing Cheltenham 3rds 5-0 thanks to goals from Tom Walton, Ben Green, Phil Evans, Rich Jennison and Luke Ward.

The win meant Ross pipped Cheltenham on goal difference, with Cleevillians two points further back in third.

Elsewhere, Leominster 2nds beat Gloucester City 4ths 6-2 to finish fifth in The Marches 1, while Hereford slipped to seventh after losing 6-4 to Cirencester 2nds.

Ross 2nds were thrashed 9-0 at Wotton-under-Edge 3rds and finish sixth in The Marches 2.

Hereford still have two games left in Premier Division 2A in the West Club's Women's Hockey League and drew 2-2 at home to Salisbury last Saturday.

Elsewhere, Leominster lost 4-2 to Old Bristolians in North Division and Hereford 2nds were thrashed 12-0 by Severn Division 1 leaders Cirencester.

Also in Severn Division 1, Colwall & Malvern beat Cheltenham Civil Service 5-2, while Ross-on-Wye overcame Bourton & Sherborne 2nds 1-0 in Severn Division 2.

Colwall & Malvern 2nds were hammered 11-0 at Bourton & Sherborne 3rds in Severn Division 3 and in the South Wales League, Presteigne beat Whitchurch Saints 4-1 and Kington lost 4-0 to Cardiff University 3rds.