Surbiton returned to the top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division table after carving out a 3-1 win over Clifton, while previous leaders the University of Birmingham slipped up.
Goals from Olivia Chilton, Sarah Page and Giselle Ansley helped the reigning champions take a win which puts them top, and although they are level on points with Canterbury they have a game in hand which could prove crucial.
The University of Birmingham could only draw 2-2 with East Grinstead, and they had to rely on a late goal to take a point.
They are all vying for the best possible place in the League Finals Weekend, which takes place at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London on April 16-17.
Lucy Bairner had given East Grinstead the lead only for Tina Evans to level for the students. Alice Pyrgos’s 30th minute goal put the visitors back in front, and it was not until Erica Sanders’ 68th minute strike that Birmingham were back level.
Canterbury were run close at Buckingham, goals from Sarah Kerly, Kristen Greaves and Alice Brown helping them on their way to a 3-2 win despite Zoe Shipperley and Amie Hone hitting back for the hosts.
Holcombe climbed to fourth after they dispatched struggling Bowdon Hightown 2-1 at home, with their goals coming from Sarah Robertson and Emily Maguire, while Sally Walton pulled one back for Bowdon Hightown.
Leicester collected a narrow 1-0 victory at home to Reading with Elizabeth Honarmand scoring the crucial goal which leaves Reading looking over their shoulders.
Investec Women’s Conference East
Slough secured the Investec Women’s Conference East title as they settled for a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Wimbledon on Saturday.
Now seven points ahead of their nearest rival with two games remaining, Slough took an early lead with Philipa Newton scoring from a 13th minute penalty corner, only for Lauren Seaman to level shortly after the break for Wimbledon, who remain third.
Ella Dowling scoring the only goal as second-placed Cambridge City beat winless Ipswich 1-0.
Hampstead and Westminster moved up to fourth after dispatching Sevenoaks 3-1, whist Maidenhead won 3-2 over Harleston Magpies to boost their hopes of avoiding the drop. Elsewhere, St Albans were 4-1 winners away at Chelmsford.
Investec Women’s Conference North
There are still four teams in the hunt for the Investec Women’s Conference North title after a dramatic set of results on Saturday.
Brooklands Poynton moved up to second with a 2-0 win over Loughborough Students with Annabelle Watton and Kelly Baxter scoring their goals.
Leaders Wakefield were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool Sefton who are fighting to avoid relegation The hosts scored through Chloe Tyler and Jane Bazley-Harrison. Although Cat Horn halved the deficit, Wakefield couldn’t salvage anything.
Ben Rhydding leap-frogged Beeston into third spot after beating them 2-0, Kate Hesketh and Rachel Docherty scoring their goals.
Springfields’ difficult season continued with a 6-0 defeat away at Belper, whilst mid-table University of Durham were 4-2 winners at home to struggling Whitey Bay and Tynemouth.
Investec Women’s Conference West
Sutton Coldfield battled to a 5-4 win over Oxford Hawks to all but secure the Investec Women’s Conference West title.
Two goals from Jane Sixsmith and one each from Emma McCabe and Sarah Parkinson-Mills had them 4-0 ahead at the break, before the visitors came storming back with four goals in seven minutes.
Two from Lucy Millington one each from Kate Lowe and Becky Odlin looked to have salvaged a point for Oxford before Vicky Woolford struck late to claim a 5-4 victory and leave second-placed Stourport having to overturn a 29-goal difference in the last two games to take top spot away.
Stourport lost ground as they were beaten 2-1 at Gloucester City, with Zoe Burford scoring twice for the hosts.
Elsewhere Olton and West Warwicks won 8-1 away at relegated University of Bristol to climb up to seventh, while Bristol Firebrands drop into relegation danger after losing 3-4 to Isca.
Trojans are also not safe, and they battled out a goalless draw with Swansea City.
* The photo above shows Surbiton’s Natalie Maclean in action.
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 5 2016):
Investec Women’s Premier Division: Buckingham 2, Canterbury 3; Holcombe 2, Bowdon 1; Leicester 1, Reading 0; Surbiton 3, Clifton 1; University of Birmingham 2, East Grinstead 2.
Investec Women’s Conference East: Cambridge City 1, Ipswich 0; Chelmsford 1, St. Albans 4; Hampstead and Westminster 3, Sevenoaks 1; Maidenhead 3, Harleston Magpies 2; Slough 1, Wimbledon 1.
Investec Women’s Conference North: Belper 6, Springfields 0; Ben Rhydding 2, Beeston 0; Brooklands Poynton 2, Loughborough Students 0; Liverpool Sefton 2, Wakefield 1; University of Durham 4, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 2.
Investec Women’s Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 3, Isca 4; Gloucester City 2, Stourport 1; Sutton Coldfield 5, Oxford Hawks 4; Trojans 0, Swansea City 0; University of Bristol 1, Olton & West Warwicks 8.
|Women’s Premier Division|
|Olivia Chilton 2 – F
Sarah Page 16 – F
Giselle Ansley 70 – PC
|Claire Thomas 41 – F|
|Sarah Robertson 42 – PC
Emily Maguire 54 – PC
|Sally Walton 50 – F|
|Zoe Shipperley 18 – PC
Amie Hone 47 – F
|Sarah Kerly 17 – F
Kirsten Greaves 29 – PC
Alice Brown 37 – F
|University of Birmingham||(1)||2||–||2||(2)||East Grinstead|
|Tina Evans 18 – PC
Erica Sanders 68 – F
|Lucy Bairner 16 – PC
Alice Pyrgos 30 – PC
|Elizabeth Honarmand 33 – F|
|3||University of Birmingham||16||11||3||2||35||15||20||36|
|Women’s Conference East|
|Ella Dowling 62 – F|
|Thea Franklin 11 – F||Emily Panniers 8 – F
Eleanor Watton 17 – F
Sarah Embrey 45 – PC
Hayley Payne 46 – F
|Hampstead and Westminster||(2)||3||–||1||(0)||Sevenoaks|
|Alexandra Irwin 8 19 – F F
Fleur Horner 51 – PC
|Cathy Gilliat-Smith 37 – F|
|Alex Teasdale 32 – F
Holly Cram 55 – F
Jane Smith 70 – PS
|Abby Gooderham 41 – PC
Maria Andrews 56 – F
|Philipa Newton 13 – PC||Lauren Seaman 38 – F|
|4||Hampstead and Westminster||16||8||3||5||36||29||7||27|
|Women’s Conference North|
|Sally Goodman 4 39 – F F
Helena Skinner 19 – F
Charlotte Hobbs 21 – F
Kyla Madsen 45 – F
Joanna Lane 61 – PC
|Kate Hesketh 38 – PC
Rachel Doherty 68 – PC
|Brooklands Poynton||(1)||2||–||0||(0)||Loughborough Students|
|Annabelle Watton 35 – F
Kelly Baxter 65 – F
|University of Durham||(1)||4||–||2||(1)||Whitley Bay and Tynemouth|
|Christabel Mcwhirter 9 – F
Molly Rawnsley 37 – F
Juliette Inverdale 39 – F
Laura Bevan 49 – F
|Ali Gordon 35 – PC
Joss Plummer 55 – PC
|Chloe Tyler 14 – PC
Jane Bazley-Harrison 24 – F
|Cat Horn 43 – F|
|5||University of Durham||16||8||2||6||30||33||-3||26|
|9||Whitley Bay and Tynemouth||16||3||3||10||16||30||-14||12|
|Women’s Conference West|
|Bristol Firebrands||(1)||3||–||4||(3)||Isca University|
|Abigail Porter 27 – PC
Dayzee Booth 49 – F
Kathryn Bache 65 – PC
|Sophie Jefferson 1 – PC
Elly Yard 14 – F
Annie Dalton 23 – F
Katie Taverner 59 – PC
|Zoe Burford 12 50 – F F||Georgina Bathurst 43 – F|
|University of Bristol||(1)||1||–||8||(5)||Olton & West Warwicks|
|Lucy Mckee 8 – F||Kerry Thompson-Moore 2 24 – PC F
Katie Brough 4 25 – PC F
Mandy Gatherer 17 – F
Carole Quill 39 – F
Kathryn Berns 44 – PC
Jane Wackett 64 – F
|Sutton Coldfield||(4)||5||–||4||(0)||Oxford Hawks|
|Jane Sixsmith 4 32 – F F
Emma Mccabe 6 – F
Sarah Parkinson-Mills 19 – F
Vicky Woolford 66 – PC
|Lucy Millington 40 47 – F PC
Kate Lowe 44 – F
Becky Odlin 45 – PS
|7||Olton & West Warwicks||16||4||4||8||24||29||-5||16|
|10||University of Bristol||16||1||0||15||14||67||-53||3|
FIXTURES – Saturday, March 12
Investec Women’s Hockey League
Investec Premier Division
Holcombe v University of Birmingham 12:00
Clifton v Leicester 13:00
Reading v Surbiton 13:30
Bowdon Hightown v Buckingham 13:45
Canterbury v East Grinstead 16:00
Investec Conference East
Cambridge City v Chelmsford 12:30
St Albans v Sevenoaks 13:00
Slough v Maidenhead 13:00
Wimbledon v Harleston Magpies 14:00
Ipswich v Hampstead and Westminster 18:00
Investec Conference North
Loughborough Students v Belper 12:30
Beeston v University of Durham 12:00
Liverpool Sefton v Springfields 12:30
Ben Rhydding v Brooklands Poynton 13:30
Wakefield v Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 13:30
Investec Conference West
Swansea City v Sutton Coldfield 12:00
Gloucester City v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Olton and West Warwicks v Trojans 12:00
Isca v University of Bristol 12:30
Stourport v Oxford Hawks 18:00
League Finals weekend now on sale
The next big event in the club calendar is the League Finals Weekend on the 16th and 17th April – this year the Men’s and Investec Women’s Hockey Leagues Finals and playoffs are combined into one action-packed weekend at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre so drama is guaranteed!
League Finals Weekend tickets are on sale now here. Knockout Finals tickets will also go on sale soon on this page.
This report is courtesy of England Hockey by Snowdon Sports