LEICESTER missed the chance to leapfrog Holcombe into fourth in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division after the sides played out a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
Tamsyn Naylor and Nicola White scored for Holcombe after Nikki Laybourne and Katie Long had given Leicester a 2-0 lead. The result leaves Leicester two points off the final spot in the play-offs, which are being held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from April 18-19.
Surbiton pulled three points clear at the top of the league after coming from behind to win 2-1 at home to the University of Birmingham. Anna Toman put the students ahead on the stroke of half time, slotting home from a penalty corner. But the league leaders levelled things up after the break with a goal from Julia King before Emily Atkinson completed the fight back two minutes from the end.
Canterbury all but confirmed their place in the top four with a tight 1-0 win at Bowdon Hightown. Jen Wilson’s late strike from a penalty corner piled further pressure on the struggling hosts who fall to ninth.
Buckingham boosted their survival prospects with a 1-0 win at bottom side Beeston thanks to Leanne Grimsley’s second half goal. The result leaves struggling Beeston facing a seven-point gap to safety.
Investec Conference West
Slough maintained their five-point lead at the top of the Investec Conference West with a solid 2-0 victory over Trojans, courtesy of goals from Melissa Ball and Charly Brydon.
The league leaders struck in each half to move a step closer to wrapping up top spot, despite second place Swansea City labouring to victory at Cheltenham. City twice came from behind to claim a 3-2 win with Natasha Marke grabbing the final goal four minutes from the end.
The defeat leaves Cheltenham bottom and eight points adrift of safety after Stourport won 3-0 at Isca to climb to eighth.
Elsewhere Oxford Hawks beat Olton and West Warwicks 5-0 and Gloucester stayed third with a 2-1 win at Bristol Firebrands.
Investec Conference North
Wakefield moved three points clear at the top of the Investec Conference North on Saturday with a 5-1 defeat of bottom side Cannock. Gwen Smith led the scoring with a brace.
Brooklands Poynton couldn’t keep pace with Wakefield after falling to a rare defeat at the hands of Ben Rhydding. Jo Ellis scored all three of Ben Rhydding’s goals in the 3-2 win.
Sarah Parkinson-Mills was another hat-trick hero in Sutton Coldfield’s 7-2 defeat of Kendal. The win keeps them third.
Liverpool Sefton drew 1-1 with Whitley Bay and Tynemouth and the game between Loughborough Students and University of Durham also ended all square with the score at 2-2.
Investec Conference East
East Grinstead made it 14 games without defeat in the Investec Conference East this season as a Sophie Bray hat-trick guided them to a 5-2 defeat of Horsham.
Harleston Magpies chalked up their seventh win as Susan Wessels fired all three of their goals in a 3-0 defeat of Chelmsford.
Wimbledon beat hosts Bedford 2-1 courtesy of first-half strikes from Olivia Martineau and Karlijn Van Der Linden.
The game between Ipswich and St Albans looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw before the game exploded into life in the final ten minutes.
Lizzy Aldous missed a penalty stroke for Ipswich on 60 minutes but redeemed herself, scoring six minutes later. But St Albans tied the game late on with Eleanor Watton making it 1-1 in the final minute.
Andy Smith’s photo above shows Nikki Laybourne scoring for Leicester against Holcombe.
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 21 2015):
Investec Women’s Premier Division: Beeston 0, Buckingham 1; Bowdon Hightown 0, Canterbury 1; Surbiton 2, University of Birmingham 1; Leicester 2, Holcombe 2.
Investec Women’s Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 1, Gloucester City 2; Isca 0, Stourport 3; Oxford Hawks 5, Olton and Weat Warwicks 0; Slough 2, Trojans 0; Cheltenham 2, Swansea City 3.
Investec Women’s Conference North: Liverpool Sefton 1, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1; Loughborough Students 2, University of Durham 2; Kendal 2, Sutton Coldfield 7; Ben Rhydding 3, Brooklands Poynton 2; Cannock 1, Wakefield 5.
Investec Women’s Conference East: Bedford 1, Wimbledon 2; East Grinstead 5, Horsham 2; Ipswich 1, St Albans 1; Chelmsford 0, Harleston Magpies 3; Sevenoaks 3, Maidenhead 1.