IWHL Premier Division Review – 14 March

East Grinstead inflict Surbitons greatest ever defeat

Regular season champions Surbiton were stunned by East Grinstead as they crashed to their heaviest ever defeat since joining the IWHL in 2010-11. East Grinstead won 6-1 with Sophie Bray scoring twice to finish as the division’s top goalscorer on 24 goals. Tess Howard also scored a brace and Katerina Lacina was also on target before Surbiton elected to replace goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh with an eleventh attacker. Bray scored her second goal and Laura Unsworth completed the scoring into Surbiton’s empty goal. Erica Sanders briefly levelled for Surbiton in the first half.

The win clinched second place for East Grinstead, but Hampstead & Westminster fought all the way, beating Beeston 4-0 at home. Joyce Esser scored twice with Jo Leigh and Lauren Turner also scoring with the last three goals coming in the final eleven minutes.

Other results went Beeston’s way enabling them to stay in the top flight. The University of Birmingham were the unlucky team to finish in ninth place after Buckingham finally secured their playoff place with a 1-0 win in the Second City. Buckingham had stuttered over the last two weeks, losing 1-0 at home twice but Lottie Porter scored the only goal to ensure a fourth place finish and a potential semi-final at Surbiton.

Loughborough Students, who had dropped from fifth to ninth a fortnight earlier, avoided an immediate return to the second tier with a 3-2 home win over Holcombe.  Hannah Grieve, Lizzie Neal and Lucy Millington scored for Loughborough with Eloise Richards and Leah Wilkinson replying for Holcombe. 

Bowdon Hightown ended their 31 season stay in the Premier Division with a 1-0 loss at Clifton Robinsons, Phoebe Richards scoring in the second half.

Clifton Robinsons finished fifth, three points ahead of Holcombe and Loughborough Students, Holcombe finishing above Loughborough on goal difference.

Beeston ended the season in eighth, a point ahead of Birmingham who are scheduled to play the loser of the Division One North and South playoff over two legs to preserve their top flight status. Wimbledon won the Division One South title and go into the final weekend with a one hundred per cent record after winning their first seventeen games.

The Division One North title is still up for grabs with Swansea level on points with Leicester City, but heading the East Midlands club on games won. 

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