With just one of the top four teams in the Women’s Premier Division winning both their matches, the group stage of the Hockey 5s Championship reached a thrilling climax at Bromsgrove School on Sunday.
Just one point separated the top five teams in the final table, with leaders Bowdon Hightown managing just one from a possible six points on the final day. But they clung on to top spot, with East Grinstead and Slough second and third respectively on goal difference only. Canterbury finished fourth and scraped into the semi finals on goal difference, while Reading – who won both their final games against Harleston Magpies and University of Birmingham – narrowly missed out.
Bowdon drew 2-2 with East Grinstead in a crucial result for both sides, but them lost out 5-4 to Sutton Coldfield later in the day. Sally Walton scored three goals on the day to finish as top-scorer in the group stages with 18 in total.
East Grinstead won 7-3 against Sutton Coldfield in the day’s final match to secure second spot. Sophie Bray bagged six goals in their two Sunday games to help her side reach the semi finals.
Slough beat Canterbury 3-2 and Clifton 4-2 to climb to third, Laura Bailey scoring three of their goals. Following their narrow loss to Slough, Canterbury bounced back with a 7-2 win over Clifton to secure the final place in the semi finals at Kettering.
The University of Birmingham secured a crucial 7-4 win over Harleston Magpies, which lifted them above their rivals and away from relegation danger. They lost out to Reading 4-2 later in the day, but the win over the Magpies proved enough to avoid the drop.
* For goalscorers and full competition details, including live updates click here
Photo shows Sutton Coldfield celebrating a goal against Bowdon