REIGNING Investec Women’s Hockey League champions Leicester closed the gap to leaders Canterbury to just one point after they beat University of Birmingham 4-1 in the Investec Premier Division on Saturday.
Canterbury had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Olton and West Warwickshire, giving Leicester the chance to consolidate second spot with goals from Katie Long (2), Anne Panter and Jo Hunter.
Mel Clewlow (pictured) gave Canterbury the lead just before half time at Olton, but the hosts hit back with Kerry Thompson-Moore scoring on 49 minutes.
Elsewhere, Reading continued their resurgent form with a 5-1 win over visitors Clifton.
Rebecca Halle scored once in each half, while other goals came from Olympian Alex Danson, Hayley Munt and Amanda Potgeiter.
Surbiton maintained third spot – and boosted their ambitions of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the end of season play-offs – with a 2-0 win over Slough. Abi Robinson and Vicky Bryant scored their goals.
In the Investec Women’s Conference West, leaders Buckingham preserved their unbeaten record with an eighth consecutive league victory – but they had to battle back from behind.
Third-placed Trojans took the lead through Becky Westall in the 11th minute, but Buckingham’s Jo Ellis scored on 49 and 65 minutes to take the points.
Meanwhile, second-placed Isca won 6-0 at Barnes Hounslow Ealing with Taryn Beuthin scoring a hat-trick.
Beeston continued their dominance of the Investec Women’s Conference North with a 7-0 drubbing of bottom of the table Ben Rhydding. Sophie Robinson scored a hat-trick in the win, while Ellie Watton scored two.
Meanwhile, Brooklands Poynton fought back from a 0-1 deficit at half time to beat visitors Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 3-1. Their goals came from Laura Evans, Verity Whinnerah and Kelly Baxter.
Sevenoaks made hard work of beating hosts Chelmsford, but Jet Van Zalen’s 62nd minute goal gave them the win which keeps them top of the table in the Investec Women’s Conference East.
Meanwhile, second-placed Harleston won 2-1 at home against Horsham, Angie Wheelhouse and Emma Lee-Smith scoring the goals.