England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 2 Review

Two first quarter goals left Beeston second on goal difference in the Vitality Women’s Premier Division after toppling East Grinstead for the first time at home.

Cerys Miller won the penalty stroke which Hannah Grieve slotted home in the fifth minute of Saturday’s match in Nottingham. Miller then netted 12 minutes later for her third goal in as many regular season matches.

A third quarter goal from Tess Howard wasn’t enough for East Grinstead, the champions now pointless from their opening two games, while Beeston trio Angela Chilwell, Katie Mason and Martha Wong all made their debuts.

“I’m really proud of this group and it’s great to see them having some fun together,” said Beeston coach James Sordillo after the 2-1 win.

“They work really hard and get stuck in but really, they’re a group of good mates playing the sport they love together and I’m delighted they have been rewarded with another positive result.”

Reading are the early league leaders following their second win of the season, courtesy of a 2-1 win away at Loughborough Students.

The Students are still without a win over Reading, this latest three pointer accrued by goals in the first and last quarters through Shona McCallin and Lucy Daman respectively. Beth Alexander had levelled for the Students.

Surbiton got their season off and running with a 6-1 victory over Isca & University of Exeter.

The returning England internationals played a key hand with Hannah Martin (playing her first match as Hannah French after her recent marriage) scoring a brace and Sophie Hamilton and Izzy Petter netting in the second-half.

Former GB internationals Leah Wilkinson and Sarah Evans had also scored in the opening 20 minutes. As did Victoria McCabe, who bagged Isca’s first ever Premier Division goal.

Clifton Robinsons remain unbeaten following a 2-2 draw with Wimbledon, as both teams left with one point for the first time in Bristol.

Evie Grindal had given Robbies the lead before Becky Manton and Olivia Chilton put the visitors ahead. Sarah Jayne Thorburn secured a point four minutes from time for Clifton.

Meanwhile, Hampstead & Westminster moved to third on goal difference after a comfortable 4-1 win against University of Nottingham.

Bowdon are also on four points after a 2-2 draw with University of Birmingham kept their unbeaten start to the season intact. Lily Sokhi scored two first-half goals for the visitors, cancelled out by Bowdon’s two penalty corner goals through Aine Curran Rosie Threadgold.

Stat Attack:

Sarah Evans and Hannah French are the first players to score penalty strokes for the same team in the same match since Jade Mayne and Mel Clewlow both scored from the spot for Canterbury in a 6-2 win over Olton & West Warwicks in March 2013.

*Stats kindly provided by Colin Pike

Holcombe and Wimbledon are joint top of the Men’s Premier Division after impressive away wins on Saturday, while Old Georgians lost their first top flight game since April 2022.

Nick Bandurak scored a second-half brace after twice being set up by Phil Roper – the second coming from a brilliant reverse cross and deflected goal – and now has scored in his last three regular season Premier Division games as Holcombe won 5-2 at Southgate.

Holcombe led 3-1 inside 20 minutes through Thomas Russell, Phil Roper and Sam Taylor; Richmond Lum having cancelled out Russell’s opener for the visitors. Archie Foster netted on the final whistle via a penalty corner.

Holcombe will play Old Georgians at home on Thursday night, with entry free under the lights. The Surrey side will be looking to overturn a 3-2 defeat to Surbiton as Mark Pearn’s side toppled the league champions for the first time in nearly four years.

Pearn said: “It was great for us to get over the line after what’s been too long. We felt we were a lot closer to Old Georgians last year but just couldn’t close that gap.”

Surbiton took a 3-0 lead through penalty corner specialists Luke Taylor and Gareth Furlong, with Struan Walker scoring in the 38th minute and having a late goal disallowed.

Surbiton had lost Adam Buckle in the warm-up and then Taylor was forced to go off after his opening goal, both having picked up muscle injuries and the visitors forced to cope with a high-pressing Old Georgians.

The hosts then rallied in the second half as James Albery (47) and James Cunningham (60) netted to set up a thrilling finish.

Pearn added: “We struggled a bit towards the end of the second-half to keep our shape. They had nothing to lose and got those two late goals to make it a bit more nervy than maybe the game deserved, but obviously for us we showed a bit of fight to dog it out.”

Meanwhile, Hampstead & Westminster raced through the gears to beat University of Nottingham 5-0.

Matt Guise-Brown’s 24th minute penalty corner was the difference in the first half before the Londoners netted four in 14 minutes. Guise-Brown added a second while American Kei Kaeppeler bagged a quick-fire hat-trick.

East Grinstead were left to rue two final quarter yellow cards as Beeston scored two late goals to deny the West Sussex side.

Brendan Andrews and a Henry Croft double had given the hosts a 3-1 lead – Simon Faulker scoring a minute before Croft’s second – before Archie Phillips and Simon Knight carved out a 3-2 lead for East Grinstead.

But Phillips and Ross Stott were given yellow cards in the 59th and 63rd minutes, paving the way for Toby Stanley (62) and Gareth Griffiths (65) to seal the points.

Wimbledon‘s early season form continued in style with a 4-0 win at Oxted, while Cardiff & Met won their first Premier Division match after a 3-2 win over Reading.

Stat Attack:

With Cardiff & Met leading three times in their 3-2 victory, Reading haven’t led their opposition in a match since December 2022 when they took a 2-0 lead over Hampstead & Westminster after 14 minutes, before losing 4-3 at home.

by England Hockeyl

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