East Grinstead beat play-off rivals Clifton Robinsons 2-1 as their bid for the top four gathered pace in the Investec Women’s Premier Division on Saturday.
The two sides started the day level on 25 points along with the University of Birmingham, and it was the visitors who struck first through Lucy Bairner (pictured) after six minutes.
Abigail Porter converted a penalty corner on the stroke of half time to level the scores, but Pippa Chapman restored East Grinstead’s lead seven minutes after the break.
The result sees East Grinstead move up to third, while Clifton Robinsons drop to fifth.
Surbiton are the first team to qualify for next month’s Finals Weekend after a 2-0 home victory over Slough.
Rebecca Middleton and Naomi Evans scored the goals, as Slough continue to look over their shoulder in the battle to avoid the relegation play off.
Holcombe moved to within one win of qualification for the season finale in April after a 4-0 home win over bottom side Reading.
Leah Wilkinson, Leigh Maasdorp and Nicola White made it 3-0 at the break, before Erin Hunter wrapped up the points in the second half.
Reading remain six points adrift at the bottom of the table with just three games to play.
Leicester and the University of Birmingham both remain in the hunt for the top four but had to settle for a share of the spoils after a 1-1 draw.
Rachel Mack’s sixth of the campaign gave Leicester an early lead before Amelia Andrew scored a second half equaliser.
Birmingham moved into the top four with Leicester just two points behind in sixth place.
Canterbury eased their fears of being dragged into the relegation picture with a 3-2 win at Bowdon Hightown.
Goals from Hannah Griggs, Mel Clewlow and Katie Williams gave Canterbury the three points, as Bowden stay ninth in the table.
Investec Women’s Conference East
Wimbledon remain three points clear at the top of the Investec Conference East after a 3-1 home win over Southgate.
The visitors led at the break thanks to a Caitlin Wales goal, but the hosts hit back in the second through Nicola Lloyd, Great Britain Olympic Gold Medallist Crista Cullen and Harriet Naismith.
Lily Elliott converted a hat trick of penalty corners as Sevenoaks won 5-0 against Chelmsford to keep up the chase at the top of the table.
Hampstead and Westminster moved third after an emphatic 9-0 win against bottom club Northampton Saints, Louise Radford and Michelle Borren both scoring hat tricks.
Hannah Macleod scored the fourth hat trick of the day in the Conference East as St Albans defeated West Herts 8-0, Adele Sammons and Kirsty Barber both scored two.
Cambridge City came from behind to defeat Harleston Magpies 2-1, Holly Parsons scoring the winner.
Investec Women’s Conference North
Belper continued their fight for survival in the Investec Conference North as they defeated Timperley 1-0 in the battle of the bottom two.
Sally Goodman scored the game’s only goal as Belper now sit just three points behind Timperley with three games to play.
Brooklands Poynton remain four points clear at the top of the table after a 5-0 win at Wakefield, Helen Turner scoring two.
Paige Gillott scored two as Beeston stay second after a 4-2 away win over Ben Rhydding.
Jane Bazley Harrison hit a hat trick as Liverpool Sefton twice came from behind to draw 3-3 at Sutton Coldfield, whilst Loughborough Students won 1-0 at the University of Durham.
Investec Women’s Conference West
Buckingham shut out Investec Conference West top scorers Stourport, registering a 2-0 away victory to move above them at the top of the table.
The two sides started the day separated only by goal difference, but strikes from Natasha James and Abbie Brant secured what could be a pivotal three points for the visitors.
Buckingham have only conceded seven league goals this season, and now look favourites to qualify for the promotion play offs.
Elsewhere, Sally Walton took her tally for the season to 14 with a brace as Olton and West Warwicks beat Isca 2-1
Joanne Westwood scored twice as Swansea City beat struggling Bristol Firebrands 3-0.
Bottom side Exe moved level with Bristol Firebrands on six points after a 2-2 draw against Oxford Hawks, whilst a single Rachael Rountree goal six minutes from time gave Trojans a 1-0 win over Gloucester City.
* The photo above shows East Grinstead celebrating a goal against Clifton Robinsons.
Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 4, 2017):
Investec Women’s Premier Division: Bowdon 2, Canterbury 3; Clifton Robinsons 1, East Grinstead 2; Holcombe 4, Reading 0; Leicester 1, University of Birmingham 1; Surbiton 2, Slough 0.
Investec Women’s Conference East: Cambridge City 2, Harleston Magpies 1; Hampstead and Westminster 9, Northampton Saints 0; Sevenoaks 5, Chelmsford 0; St. Albans 8, West Herts 0; Wimbledon 3, Southgate 1.
Investec Women’s Conference North: Belper 1, Timperley 0; Ben Rhydding 2, Beeston 4; Sutton Coldfield 3, Liverpool Sefton 3; University of Durham 0, Loughborough Students 1; Wakefield 0, Brooklands Poynton 5.
Investec Women’s Conference West: Exe 2, Oxford Hawks 2; Olton & West Warwicks 2, Isca 1; Stourport 0, Buckingham 2; Swansea City 3, Bristol Firebrands 0; Trojans 1, Gloucester City 0.
|Women’s Premier Division|
|Rebecca Middleton 29 – PC
Naomi Evans 58 – F
|Lily Wolstenholme 21 – F
Sarah Ingham 68 – F
|Hannah Griggs 2 – PC
Mel Clewlow 23 – PC
Katie Williams 49 – F
|Clifton Robinsons||(1)||1||–||2||(1)||East Grinstead|
|Abigail Porter 35 – PC||Lucy Bairner 6 – PC
Pippa Chapman 42 – F
|Leicester||(1)||1||–||1||(0)||University of Birmingham|
|Rachel Mack 8 – PC||Amelia Andrew 44 – PC|
|Leah Wilkinson 17 – PC
Leigh Maasdorp 28 – F
Nicola White 34 – F
Erin Hunter 39 – F
|4||University of Birmingham||15||8||2||5||33||30||3||26|
|Women’s Conference East|
|Hampstead and Westminster||(4)||9||–||0||(0)||Northampton Saints|
|Louise Radford 7 27 44 – F F F
Katherine Baker 12 – PC
Annebeth Wijtenburg 21 – PC
Michelle Borren 40 49 63 – F F F
Brodie Fairchild 52 – PC
|Nicola Lloyd 42 – PS
Crista Cullen 56 – PC
Harriet Naismith 59 – F
|Caitlin Wales 16 – F|
|St. Albans||(4)||8||–||0||(0)||West Herts|
|Adele Sammons 3 25 – PC PC
Hannah Macleod 21 35 55 – F F F
Katy Hart 37 – PS
Kirsty Barber 51 53 – F F
|Susie Rowe 7 – PC
Lily Elliott 21 30 39 – PC PC PC
Cathy Gilliat-Smith 45 – F
|Cambridge City||(1)||2||–||1||(1)||Harleston Magpies|
|Megan Beard 14 – F
Holly Parsons 41 – PC
|Maria Andrews 2 – PC|
|3||Hampstead and Westminster||15||10||1||4||45||19||26||31|
|Women’s Conference North|
|Sally Goodman 54 – F|
|Beth Cordukes 61 – F
Rachel Doherty 63 – F
|Alice Huddlestone 19 – F
Madeleine Pearce 28 – PC
Paige Gillott 44 53 – F F
|Sutton Coldfield||(2)||3||–||3||(1)||Liverpool Sefton|
|Bethan Merriman 1 – F
Jane Sixsmith 22 – PC
Vicky Woolford 44 – PC
|Jane Bazley-Harrison 27 39 69 – PC PC F|
|Claire Wallace 11 – F
Kate Harris 34 – F
Helen Turner 39 70 – F F
Caroline Hulme 50 – F
|University of Durham||(0)||0||–||1||(0)||Loughborough Students|
|Lucy Millington 50 – PC|
|4||University of Durham||15||6||5||4||21||14||7||23|
|Women’s Conference West|
|Olton & West Warwicks||(0)||2||–||1||(0)||Isca University|
|Sally Walton 54 66 – F F||Olivia Hoskins 64 – PS|
|Natasha James 18 – F
Abbie Brant 59 – F
|Swansea City||(1)||3||–||0||(0)||Bristol Firebrands|
|Joanne Westwood 12 51 – PC F
Amy Burton 59 – F
|Clare Whitworth 23 – F
Emily Mitchem 51 – F
|Catherine Reaney 38 – F
Lucy Stewart 49 – F
|Rachael Rountree 64 – F|
|3||Olton & West Warwicks||15||9||2||4||32||31||1||29|
Report courtesy of England Hockey via Snowdon Sports