Source: England Hockey

Vitality Women’s Hockey League (9 April)

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Hampstead & Westminster leapfrogged Wimbledon on the final day of Top Six fixtures in the Vitality Women’s Premier Division to guarantee European hockey next season.

The race for Europe on the men’s side will go down to the final day on April 23 after Surbiton beat Wimbledon and so will the battle to avoid relegation after University of Exeter claimed a priceless win over Beeston.

Hampstead & Westminster secured European hockey with a 3-1 win over East Grinstead on a turbulent day in the Vitality Women’s Premier Division.

Three teams were separated by three points at the start of the final round of games in the Top 6, all in the hunt for the second automatic European place.

Wimbledon could guarantee second with a win but they could only draw 1-1 at Surbiton, who were crowned champions last week.

Surbiton hotshot Darcy Bourne opened the scoring on 39 minutes, converting a penalty stroke for a 19th goal of the season that sees her end 2021/22 as the Premier Division’s top scorer.

Eliza Brett cancelled that out with a well-taken effort ten minutes from time but events at Paddington Rec meant that would not be enough for the top flight debutants to bag a European berth.

Hampstead & Westminster took advantage of those dropped points with a 3-1 victory over East Grinstead on an  afternoon overshadowed by a serious head injury to a visiting player.

The teams were locked at 1-1 when the game was paused for two hours due to the injury. The player was brought to her feet by paramedics.

After the resumption, internationals Grace Balsdon and Holly Hunt scored to drive Hampstead & Westminster to victory.

Elsewhere, fifth-placed Beeston and sixth-placed Clifton Robinsons shared an entertaining 3-3 draw.

The hosts controlled the early stages and Paige Gillot bundled home from a penalty corner routine to establish a half-time lead.

The game sparked into life in the third quarter and Clifton twice dragged themselves level through Catherine MacAulay and then Phoebe Richards.

Izzy Webb gave them an unlikely lead just past the half-hour mark but Lucy Millington bagged her second of the afternoon, four minutes from time, to preserve a draw.

With Swansea already relegated, Bottom 5 sides have no further fear of the drop and that produced a free-flowing 3-2 win for Holcombe over University of Birmingham.

Holcombe took a two-goal lead through Ivi Pessina and Marta Fuentes but were teetering when Jess Davis got a goal back for the hosts from a penalty corner on 35 minutes.

Emma Bandurak restored the advantage, with Amelie Green’s late strike coming too late to spark another comeback, as Holcombe claimed their sixth win of the season.

Meanwhile, Buckingham’s superb run of late-season form continued with a pulsating 2-1 victory over Loughborough Students.

After a noon push back at Stowe School, the visitors struck first when Hannah Irwin fired her side ahead on 11 minutes.

Buckingham were frustrated by the Students’ stubborn rearguard but a pair of penalty corner strikes from Kitty Higgins completed a rousing comeback and earned the hosts a fifth win in six matches.

  • Beeston 3-3 Clifton Robinsons
  • Hampstead & Westminster 3-1 East Grinstead
  • Surbiton 1-1 Wimbledon

Bottom 5

  • Buckingham 2-1 Loughborough Students
  • University of Birmingham 2-3 Holcombe

With thanks to England Hockey