Canterbury secure Europe spot

Canterbury celebrate 2013-14 - 450

CANTERBURY finished top of the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division by a point and secured their place in Europe next season after beating Clifton 2-0, courtesy of goals from Nikki Lloyd and Kim Young.

Despite a resounding 5-1 win over Bowdon Hightown, Reading finish in second place and must now look to the play-offs to pick up a spot in Europe.

Reading knew that they needed to win to stand any chance of landing top spot and they got off to the worst possible start as Nat Wray put Bowdon ahead inside seven minutes.

But they soon got on top and drew level through Emma Thomas just before the half hour mark. Just two minutes later, Rebecca Halle put Reading in the lead and then a goal from Sam Quek and a brace from Jess Brooker wrapped up the victory.

Surbiton and Clifton had already made sure of their play-off berths but still wanted to end the league campaign with good results.

While Clifton lost to Canterbury, Emily Atkinson and Giselle Ansley got Surbiton’s goals in a 2-0 win over Beeston.

Olton and West Warwickshire lost 4-0 to Leicester as Hannah Fair found the net with two goals from penalty corners.

In the other game of the day, Sutton Coldfield went down 2-1 to University of Birmingham. Sutton Coldfield were already confirmed as the relegation play-off side but a double from Olivia Chilton inflicted their 15th defeat of the season.

Holcombe are runaway champions of the Investec Conference East and they ended with a 5-0 win over St Albans. Chelmsford avoid automatic relegation after beating Wimbledon 1-0, although they still have to go through relegation play-offs. Old Loughtonians are relegated.

Brooklands Poynton needed to win to ensure the Investec Conference North title and they did it in style as a Laura Evans brace helped them to a 4-1 win over Kendal. Boots go into the relegation play-offs and Doncaster are relegated.

Buckingham were crowned as Investec Conference West champions last week and they signed off with a 3-0 win over Gloucester City. Barnes must battle relegation and Exe go down automatically.

* Olton & West Warwicks were unable to fulfil the above fixture and therefore had to forfeit the game. The England Hockey League Committee have carefully considered this in line with league regulations 12 and 13.1.1 (see below). They have taken into account a statement issued by Olton and have also received representation from Canterbury.

The Committee agreed that the score line of the game should be recorded as Canterbury 12 – 0 Olton.

In doing so the Committee considered a range of points including, the previous score between the two teams, the highest number of goals that Olton had conceded in a match and the number of goals conceded by Olton during the season. Had Olton fulfilled the fixture they would not have been at full strength.

The Committee also agreed to defer discussion and imposition of any other penalties until they meet on 1 April.

12. FAILURE TO HONOUR A FIXTURE OR FORFEITURE OF A GAME

If a team fails to honour a fixture or forfeits a game, it shall be deemed to have lost 0-3 and the opposing team shall be awarded three points and be deemed to have won the game 3-0. This is subject to any remission or further penalty which the EHLC may impose.

13. BREACH OF REGULATIONS & PENALTIES

13.1.1 For breaches of any or all of these Regulations, the Player Code of Conduct, the Club Code of Conduct and/or the EHB Code of Ethics, the EHLC shall at its discretion have the right to impose any penalty, including, but not exclusively, the deduction of points, fines and suspension of players, and has power to make teams play matches away from their home venue.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the Investec Women’s Hockey League and the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

* Photo by Peter Smith (Smifsports).

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 22 2014):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Surbiton 2, Beeston 0; University of Birmingham 2, Sutton Coldfield 1; Olton and West Warwickshire 0, Leicester 4; Reading 5, Bowdon Hightown 1; Clifton 0, Canterbury 2.

Investec Women's Conference East: St Albans 0, Holcombe 5; Harleston Magpies 1, East Grinstead 1; Chelmsford 1, Wimbledon 0; Old Loughtonians 0, Ipswich 2; Horsham 1, Sevenoaks 1.

Investec Women's Conference North: Kendal 1, Brooklands Poynton 4; Loughborough Students 1, Boots 0; Ben Rhydding 2, Doncaster 2; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1, Wakefield 3; University of Durham 2, Stourport 1.

Investec Women's Conference West: Buckingham 3, Gloucester City 0; Swansea Cith 0, Slough 1; Exe 2, Barnes 3; Trojans 2, Isca 1; Oxford Hawks 3, Bristol Firebrands 2.