England: England Hockey League 2023/24: Weekend 12 Review

Surbiton 2s extended their lead at the top of Division One South to 10 points but saw their 100% record, the last in either league, ended on Sunday. On Saturday they were made to work hard for a 4-3 win over bottom of the table Wimbledon 2s but goals from Charlotte Calnan (2), Amie Hunt and Hannah Denison saw them home. Sunday saw their rearranged game at second placed Holcombe and they lead 2-0 at half time thanks to two more Denison goals. However the home side fought back through Lottie Bingham and a 69th minute equalizer from Phoebe Steele. Holcombe also drew on Saturday, 1-1 at Slough but saw their nearest rivals for second place Bares beaten 2-0 at improving Harleston Magpies, a third successive win to take them out of the relegation places. Team Bath Buccaneers sit a point and a place above Wimbledon after a 1-1 draw at Canterbury whilst Southgate are a point above them after their 2-0 loss at home to Sevenoaks.

Division One North went to form with teams in the top half beating those in the bottom half and conceding no goals in the process.  Susan Wood, Bethan Merriman and Emma McCabe were on target in leaders Sutton Coldfield’s 3-0 defeat of relegation threatened Stourport. Second placed Buckingham found their shooting sticks beating Wakefield 6-0 including a hat-trick for Jo Day as they head into a week’s break from league action, playing in the European Indoor Cup in Turkey.  Elsewhere third placed Durham University 4-0, Ben Rhydding move up to fourth after a 2-0 win at Olton & West Warwicks and Leicester City go fifth after their 3-0 defeat of bottom of the table Swansea.

Conference East leaders Guildford were made to work hard for a 4-2 win at East London. Megan Phillips (2), Alice O’Hagan and Lucy Wood scored for Guildford, Katheirne Round had twice given East London the lead. London Wayfarers remain two points back but improved ither goal difference with a 6-1 win over Horsham. Teddington won 3-2 at Spencer, Old Georgians overcame Old Loughtonians 2-1 at Hampstead & Westminster 2s defeated bottom of the table Ipswich 5-1.  

The top two met in Conference Midlands and leaders Repton extended their lead over Cambridge City to four points thanks to a 1-0 win, Lucy Barker grabbing the all-important goal five minutes before the break. Georgina Hampson hit a hat trick in St Albans 5-0 defeat of Cannock and Bella Davies-Roche did likewise in Beeston 2s 6-0 defeat of Oxford University. Birmingham University 2s beat Belper 2-0 and Bedford overcame Doncaster 4-1.

Conference North leaders Pendle Forest found bottom of the table Brooklands Poynton in resolute mood and only secured a 3-2 win through Olivia Bythell’s with seven minutes to go, just after Brooklands had made it 2-2. Fylde still trail Pendle Forest by five points after their 1-0 win at Newcastle University. Timperley are now six points from safety after their 2-1 home defeat by Didsbury Northern. Bowdon 2s and Durham University 2s drew 2-2 at Harrogate v Leeds also ended level at 1-1.

Clifton Robinsons 2s took advantage of Bristol Firebrands dropping points in a 1-1 draw at Reading 2s to go top of Conference West. Their 2-1 win at Witney came courtesy of goals from Charlie Milsom and Katherine Lavers. Third placed Trojans were unable to take advantage too after a 3-2 reverse at home to Cheltenham, Charli Roberts scoring twice in the last five minutes to secure the points for the visitors. Exeter beat Basingstoke 4-2 and Oxford Hawks won 3-1 at Fareham to leave the losers a long way adrift in the relegation spots.

Bowdon continued their grip on Division One North but left it late to win at bottom of the table   Leeds. Matt Bellin scored the only goal of the game with just four minutes left. They are 11 points clear of Brooklands MU who ended a recent poor run with a 6-1 defeat of Deeside Ramblers.     Loughborough are level with Brooklands after they overcame Olton & West Warwicks 3-1. Durham won 2-1 at Birmingham in an all-University match up and a 5-2 loss at Harborne means Cambridge City are seven points from safety.

Division One South leaders Richmond overcame a stern examination at Havant winning 3-1 to remain 10 points ahead of the pack. Although James Speke quickly cancelled out Josh Smith’s 21st minute opener, second half goals from Jack Clee and Samule Anderson proved decisive for Richmond.  Second placed Teddington came from behind three times at Team Bath Buccaneers before a Phil Lewis goal with three minutes left on the clock secured a 4-3 win. Exeter University were the weekend’s big winners, 6-1 v Old Cranleighan, Sevenoaks and Old Loughtonians shared the points in a 2-2 draw and there was a welcome first win for Brighton & Hove.  An Adam Flett overtime corner gave them a 3-2 win over Canterbury.

Indian Gymkhana remain five points clear at the top of Conference East after a 10-3 win against Wimbledon 2s. James Tindall scored four of their goals and Ajaz Ahmad a hat-trick. London Wayfarers are five points back after a 2-0 win against Surbiton 2s. Guildford won 5-1 at Spencer, Hampstead & Westminster 2s beat Ipswich 1-0 and Old Georgians and Bromley & Beckenham drew 2-2 in the battle for points to avoid the drop.   

Doubles from Josh Biddlecombe and Barnaby Deller helped Conference Midlands front-runners Nottingham University 2s to a 4-3 at Banbury who pushed them hard and led late into the first half. Second placed Stourport came from two goals down to win 3-2 at Birmingham University 2s. City of Peterborough are still a long way from safety after going down 3-2 at Norwich City for whom Daivd Gilbert netted a hat-trick. Bedford, who are also in the relegation spots, picked up a point in a 4-4 draw at home to Harleston Magpies. They now trail St Albans by four points, Saints went down to a 8-0 defeat at home to Barford.

Doncaster opened up the Conference North title race with a 3-1 defeat of league leaders Lindum under the lights at the John Marshall Arena on Friday night. Matt Gibson scored twice as Lindum were beaten for the first time this season; Doncaster moving to within three points of top spot. The result will also have down well in Timperley, who are level with Doncaster but with the best goal difference in the Division, they defeated Oxton 4-1. Sheffield move out of the bottom two after a 5-0 win at 10th placed Belper, going above Beeston 2s, who went down 1-0 to Ben Rhydding in the process. Brooklands MU 2s beat Wakefield 2-1.

Will Jones hit a 67th winner for West Conference leaders Bristol University in their Avon derby with Clifton Robinsons. A 2-1 win puts the students 10 points clear at the top and looking likely to bounce straight back to Division One. Oxford Hawks, who have faltered of late, slip from 2nd to 3rd after being held 3-3 by Cheltenham, who are desperate for points to avoid the drop. Isca go second thanks to a 3-1 win at Ashmoor. Exeter University 2s beat bottom of the table Plymouth Marjon 3-0 and Fareham earned local bragging rights with a 5-1 “El Classicoast” win at Chichester.     

by England Hockeyl

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