In the Investec Women’s Hockey League Play-Offs the round robin tournament continued with Sutton Coldfield facing Slough and Bowden Hightown up against Wakefield on 16 April 2016.
Sutton Coldfield 1 (0)
Jane Sixsmith, 62 (FG)
Slough 2 (2)
Amy Sheehan, 17 (FG)
Mel Ball, 23 (FG)
It was a tense final ten minutes for Slough, but despite a late goal from Jane Sixsmith, they were able to see off Sutton Coldfield in the Investec Women’s Play-Offs. Goals from Amy Sheehan and Laura Bailey in the first half sealed the victory.
Both teams were eager to get off to a good start after winning their first round matches but it was Slough who broke the deadlock after 17 minutes. Becky Batsford was beaten by Sheehan, as the forward cut in from the right and struck the ball confidently on her reverse from the top of circle. This gave the side in black confidence and they forced a number of penalty corners only for Batsford to deny the East Conference winners on numerous occasions. However, after 23 minutes, Slough doubled their lead when Laura Bailey’s cross teed up Mel Ball and she neatly slotted the ball into the far corner to give her side a two goal cushion heading into the break.
Slough continued the second half as they’d left off, but this time Batsford denied Dilly Newton, leaping across the goal and knocking the ball wide with her stick. With 20 minutes to go it was end to end but after a continued spell of possession and pressure, Sutton Coldfield were rewarded with a goal. The ball bobbled across the face of goal and Jane Sixsmith was on hand at the far post to poke home. The Mighty Pinks pressed for an equaliser in the final few minutes but they were unable to find a breakthrough and the final score stood at 2-1.
Speaking after the game, goal scorer Amy Sheehan was delighted with the win: “We’re feeling ecstatic! Coming into the game, we knew it was going to be really tough but having won in the first round, we were obviously keen to keep the momentum going. It was brilliant to play at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and we look forward to relaxing tonight before going into the final game against Wakefield tomorrow.”
Bowdon Hightown 5 (2)
Lily Wolstenholme, 6, 67 (FG, FG)
Sally Walton, 10 (FG)
Sian French, 44 (FG)
Nat Wray, 64 (FG)
Wakefield 1 (0)
Gwen Smith, 46 (PC)
Bowdon Hightown put in a strong performance to beat Wakefield 5-1, giving themselves a good chance of retaining their Premier League status.
Lily Wolstenholme opened the scoring early, putting away a loose ball after tenacious work by captain Kayleigh Humphreys on the left hand side. The Seahorses doubled their lead shortly afterwards Sally Walton finding space in the circle before firing home a fierce reverse-stick shot. A succession of penalty corners to Bowdon were well defended by Wakefield, making sure they stayed in the game in the face of severe pressure from their opponents.
The second half saw Wakefield come out the brighter, exerting sustained pressure on the Bowdon defence. However, it was Bowdon who scored next. Sian French with a fine finish to extend their lead. Wakefield swiftly replied, as Gwen Smith deflected the ball home neatly from a well-worked penalty corner. At 3-1, Wakefield were still in with a chance, but further goals by Nat Wray and a second for Wolstenholme put the game beyond doubt.
Sally Walton, speaking after the game, said: “Today was very much a team effort, but if I had to single one player out it would be young Lily Wolstenholme. She’s only 17 yet fearless in her play and able to take people on. But everyone played their part, and we’ve got to carry that on in our next match. It counts for nothing if we don’t win against Sutton Coldfield.”
The final round of Investec Women’s Hockey League Play-Offs take place Sunday with Bowdon Hightown taking on Sutton Coldfield and Slough facing Wakefield.
Relegation Play-offs – 17 April 2016
|Maidenhead||(2)||5||–||1||(1)||Whitley Bay and Tynemouth|
|Holly Cram 13 27 46 60 – F F F F
Jane Smith 67 – PC
|Joss Plummer 32 – F|
|3||Whitley Bay and Tynemouth||2||0||0||2||1||10||-9||0|
Report courtesy of England Hockey.