Beeston battle past Sheffield Hallam

Beeston James Blackwell shoots 450

BEESTON survived a scare in their clash with Sheffield Hallam in the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League Premier Division, battling back from behind to record a 3-1 win over their plucky rivals.

Liam Ansell put Sheffield Hallam in front after 13 minutes and they managed to hold on to that lead until James Blackwell (pictured) finally broke through with an equaliser for Beeston on 49 minutes. Tim Whiteman and Sam Ward went on to make it 3-1 to Beeston and they stay top.

Sheffield Hallam are now three points below Cannock, who gave their survival hopes a huge boost with a thrilling 8-3 win over Hampstead and Westminster. Dave Beckett was Cannock’s star man, hitting three goals in the second half.

At the top end of the table, Reading still occupy second spot after fighting back from a 0-1 half time deficit and beating fourth-placed Surbiton 5-3. Andy Watts grabbed a brace for Reading and despite the loss, Surbiton are still in a play-off place.

Wimbledon could have jumped ahead of them but couldn’t find a way past Canterbury as Liam Foster’s hat-trick saw them go down 5-3.

East Grinstead are one point behind Reading but have a game in hand. A Niall Stott double saw them chalk up a narrow 2-1 victory over Loughborough Students.

Cardiff were second in the NOW: Pensions Conference West at the start of the day and faced leaders Indian Gymkhana. A tight game was expected but Cardiff won 7-0 to move back to the top in style.

Holcombe still lead the NOW: Pensions Conference East on goal difference, although they had a scare against Old Loughtonians. They were losing 3-2 but a late double from Gareth Carr saw them win 4-3.

Two Peter Flanagan goals helped Brooklands Manchester University stay at the head of the NOW: Pensions Conference North with a 4-0 shutout of hosts Deeside Ramblers.

* Photo of James Blackwell is by David Kissman.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 23 2014):

NOW: Pensions Premier Division: Loughborough Students 1, East Grinstead 2; Wimbledon 3, Canterbury 5; Beeston 3, Sheffield Hallam 1; Cannock 8, Hampstead and Westminster 3; Reading 5, Surbiton 3.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference East: Cambridge City 3, Bromley and Beckenham 6; Teddington 1, Brighton and Hove 5; Richmond 3, Oxted 1; Southgate 6, St Albans 0; Old Loughtonians 3, Holcombe 4.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference North: Deeside Ramblers 0, Brooklands Manchester University 4; University of Durham 6, West Bridgford 2; Olton and West Warwickshire 1, Khalsa 1; Belper 2, Leek 1; Bowdon 4, Wakefield 1.

NOW: Pensions Men's Conference West: University of Exeter 4, Fareham1; Cheltenham 0, Guildford 1; Team Bath Buccaneers 2, University of Birmingham 3; Cardiff and Met 7, Indian Gymkhana 0; Havant 1, Isca 4.