It was a case of so close but so far for the Blackburn Hawks as they brought the curtain down on the English National league season with a playoff final loss to the Billingham Stars. A capacity crowd were on hand to witness the Stars cap a remarkable season.
The Stars in their first season back at the refurbished Forum were the favourites for the tie but found themselves a goal behind from the first leg. That was quickly overturned after 5 minutes as the Stars got on the board. A feisty contest ensued as both sides a man following a scuffle behind the goal before a second Stars goal put the home side ahead. A frantic second period followed as the Hawks levelled the tie on aggregate.
The come back wasn’t to be though as the Stars took the lead with 6 minutes to go before adding the empty netter to make sure they became double winners.
Whilst it was heart breaking for the Blackburn Hawks who are still looking for a major piece of silverware to take back to the Blackburn Arena it is a remarkable achievement for the Billingham Stars.
12 months after being forced to take a season off whilst their arena was refurbished the Stars respond by taking the English National League Division One North title ahead of arch rivals Whitley Bay and the Hawks and now by taking the playoff title.
Next season the ENL 1 North will be in for a tough season as the development teams in Telford, Nottingham, Manchester and Coventry are once again joined by the topsides of Billingham, Blackburn and Whitley Bay as well as this season’s undefeated ENL 2 North Solway Sharks. Whilst it will be a very tough ask for the Stars to repeat their double next season the fans will be in for a real treat as there will be any number of teams challenging for top honours in the ENL.