Leigh brace helps Clifton to victory

Clifton's Els Mansell celebrates a goal v Leicester, Sept 27 2014, credit Andrew Smith - 450

Two Jo Leigh goals helped Clifton battle back from behind at Leicester and preserve their unbeaten record as they snatched a 3-1 win in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.

It was the home side who struck first with Rachel Mack slotting home after 20 minutes.

Clifton had to wait until the 45th minute to get off the mark through Leigh. She added a second just after the hour mark and Els Mansell wrapped up the points with a third two minutes later.

Rebecca Herbert was in deadly form for Surbiton as she scored four of their goals in a 6-0 victory over Beeston. Sarah Page also put in a good attacking performance, chipping in with the other two goals.

Buckingham picked up their first win of the season at home to Bowdon Hightown. It was the visitors who opened the scoring with Holly Hunt pouncing in the ninth minute but strikes from Zoe Shipperley, Jess Bloom and Leanne Grimsley saw Buckingham complete their comeback to win 3-1.

Holcombe and University of Birmingham had to settle for a share of the spoils after battling to a 1-1 draw. Lily Owlsey tucked a chance away for Birmingham on 28 minutes but Nicci Daly replied just after the break.

Canterbury scored a goal in each half as they beat Reading 2-0, Sarah Kerly and Grace Balsdon with their goals.

Investec Women's Conference East

Julia Ridger saved two penalty strokes for Maidenhead but still ended up on the losing side in a 3-2 defeat to Horsham.

Steph Baggett, Steph Dent and Fran Crossley scored the goals for Horsham. The result sees them move up to second in the table.

East Grinstead are the leaders of the Investec Women’s Conference East - but only on goal difference as they scraped a 2-2 draw away to St Albans.

Natasha Humphris and Amy Kee were on target for St Albans but their efforts were cancelled out by goals from Heather Batten and Maddie Tait.

Hayley Heggie and Rebecca Budd’s goals landed Chelmsford a 2-0 win over Bedford and Sevenoaks took a smash and grab 2-1 win over Wimbledon. Rosie Macpherson gave Wimbledon the lead in the 59th minute but late strikes from Susanna Finlayson and Katy Hornsby turned the game around.

Lizzie Clymer and Amy Campbell scored as Harleston Magpies came from behind to beat Ipswich 2-1.

Investec Women's Conference North

Loughborough Students top the Investec Women’s Conference North on goal difference after an Ellie Tait hat-trick helped them to a 5-1 win over Ben Rhydding.

There were no goals until the 28th minute when Jen Wilson put Ben Rhydding ahead, but this only served to spark Loughborough into action and a second-half flurry saw them run away with it. Madeleine Newlyn was also in form, scoring a brace.

Brooklands Poynton are second in the league and they also looked dangerous going forward, putting six past Kendal on the way to a 6-3 win. Helen Turner scored a brace with Charlotte Jackson, Cat Savage, Jess Berry and Kate Harris also on target.

Whitley Bay and Tynemouth sit third in the league, equal on points with Loughborough and Brooklands. They beat Liverpool Sefton 2-0 with goals from Naomi Harkness and Joss Plummer.

Cannock are still looking for their first point and looked set to get it, drawing 1-1 with Sutton Coldfield. But eight minutes from time, Jane Sixsmith scored her second to grab the win for Sutton Coldfield.

Wakefield took their second win of the campaign with a 2-0 defeat of University of Durham courtesy of goals from Gwen Smith and Hannah Norman.

Investec Women's Conference West

Slough survived a late come back to beat Olton and West Warwickshire 3-2 in the Investec Women’s Conference West.

Laura Puddle, Jess Brooker and Harriet Cunningham had given the league leaders a three-goal lead but Kate Brough pulled one back in the 50th minute and then scored a penalty stroke in the 68th. However Olton couldn’t find an equaliser and remain bottom of the table.

Swansea tasted defeat for the first time this season, losing to Cheltenham by a single goal. Hannah Sanderson forced the ball home from the 43rd minute to get Cheltenham’s first points.

Four second half goals saw the game between Oxford Hawks and Trojans end 2-2. After a quiet first half, the game sprung into life as Sally Gibson found the target on 41 minutes. Lucy Stewart and Emily Court put Hawks in the lead but Gibson scored her second with five minutes remaining to tie the game.

A Zoe Burford hat-trick was enough for Gloucester City to defeat Stourport 3-1, and Isca beat Bristol Firebrands 2-0 with goals from Nat Capel and Megan Crowson.

* Photo of Clifton’s Els Mansell celebrating a goal against Leicester on Sept 27 2014 is by Andrew Smith.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 27 2014):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Surbiton 6, Beeston 0; Buckingham 3, Bowdon Hightown 1; Holcombe 1, University of Birmingham 1; Leicester 1, Clifton 3; Canterbury 2, Reading 0.

Investec Women's Conference East: St Albans 2, East Grinstead 2; Horsham 3, Maidenhead 2; Chelmsford 2, Bedford 0; Wimbledon 1, Sevenoaks 2; Ipswich 1, Harleston Magpies 2.

Investec Women's Conference North: Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 2, Liverpool Sefton 0; Ben Rhydding 1, Loughborough Students 5; Cannock 1, Sutton Coldfield 2; University of Durham 0, Wakefield 2; Kendal 2, Brooklands Poynton 6.

Investec Women's Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 0, Isca 2; Olton and West Warwicks 2, Slough 3; Oxford Hawks 2, Trojans 2; Swansea City 0, Cheltenham 1; Stourport 2, Gloucester City 3.