Reading snatch play-off spot

21032015 Reading vs Leicester Helen Richardson celebrates with Susie Gilbert after scoring the second goal of the game RSKG 450


READING secured the final play-off place in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division as they beat Leicester 3-1 on Saturday.

They climbed above Holcombe who could only draw 0-0 with leaders Surbiton, and will go forward to the Finals Weekend which is being staged on April 18-19 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Reading fell behind to a Liz George goal in the sixth minute, but they bounced back with goals from Susie Gilbert, Helen Richardson-Walsh and Sarah Jones.

Elsewhere, Buckingham must face the relegation play-offs after losing 4-0 to the University of Birmingham whose goals came from Jo Turnbull, Faye Curran, Olivia Chilton and Anna Toman.

Bowdon Hightown live to fight another season in the top flight after a 2-2 draw against relegated Beeston. Holly Hunt was their main threat, notching both of their goals.

In the other game of the day, second-placed Canterbury beat third-placed Clifton 3-2 with goals from Sarah Kerly, Grace Balsdon and Jen Wilson.

Clifton were two goals up early in the game with Joanna Leigh and Claire Thomas hitting the target, but they couldn’t hold on.


Investec Conference West

With all of the crucial matters in the Investec Conference West already decided, it came down to playing for pride on the final day.

Swansea City pulled off the biggest win of the day with a crushing 6-0 win over Isca University. Natalie Blyth and Abi Welsford both hit braces for the team that finish second.

Bristol Firebrands will play in the relegation play-offs and they ended their league campaign with a 4-0 defeat to champions Slough. Nora Ilkei scored twice.

Relegated Cheltenham lost 3-2 to Oxford Hawks, while Gloucester City drew 2-2 with Stourport and Trojans’ game against Olton and West Warwicks also finished all square at 1-1.


Investec Conference North

Cannock were confirmed as the team to be automatically relegated from the Investec Conference North, losing to Loughborough Students 1-0. Rachel Malcolm scored the only goal.

Liverpool Sefton made sure that they get a chance of staying in the division by securing a 0-0 draw with second-placed Brooklands Poynton.

Champions Wakefield took and impressive 5-1 win against Kendal with Cat Horn and Sally Walton both on target twice.

An Emma McCabe hat-trick saw Sutton Coldfield edge out Ben Rhydding in a thrilling 4-3 win and in the other game, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth drew 1-1 with University of Durham.


Investec Conference East

Horsham managed to steer clear of automatic relegation from the Investec Conference East with their 1-0 win over Chelmsford enough to lift them off the bottom. Fran Crossley was their hero, slamming home from a penalty corner on 40 minutes.

It is Bedford who go down after losing 2-1 to Maidenhead. Horsham will take part in relegation play-offs.

Champions East Grinstead ended their league on a sour note, losing 2-1 to Wimbledon. Lauren Seaman and Olivia Martineau scored for the winning side, spoiling East Grinstead’s unbeaten record.

Cathy Gilliat-Smith hit two goals in Sevenoaks’ 3-1 win over Ipswich and Harleston Magpies drew 1-1 with St Albans.

* The above picture shows Helen Richardson-Walsh celebrating with Susie Gilbert after scoring the second goal of the game. Credit: RSK Ghowry.


Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 21 2015):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Reading 3, Leicester 1; Beeston 2, Bowdon Hightown 2; Surbiton 0, Holcombe 0; Canterbury 3, Clifton 2; University of Birmingham 4, Buckingham 0.

Investec Women's Conference West: Slough 4, Bristol Firebrands 0; Swansea City 6, Isca University 0; Gloucester City 2, Stourport 2; Trojans 1, Olton and West Warwicks 1; Oxford Hawks 3, Cheltenham 2.

Investec Women's Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 0, Liverpool Sefton 0; Kendal 1, Wakefield 5; Loughborough Students 1, Cannock 0; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 1, University of Durham 1; Ben Rhydding 3, Sutton Coldfield 4.

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


Investec Women’s Finals Weekend: 18-19 April 2015

Tickets to the dramatic conclusion of the Investec Women’s Hockey League are now on sale. This showpiece event has relocated to Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the fantastic new venue of our international fixtures.

The Finals weekend will see England’s top women’s clubs compete for glory in the showpiece finale to the domestic leagues. Also on display will be the promotion tournaments where 9th place in the Premier Division battles it out against the winners of the three regional Conferences for two spots in the Premier Division for 2015/16. For full details click here.

Advance tickets cost from £17.50 for adults and just £5 for U18s. Weekend tickets are also available from £22.50 for adults and £8 for U18s.

EXCITING CASH-BACK SCHEME FOR CLUBS

England Hockey launches a new cash-back scheme for affiliated clubs, available for the NOW: Pensions Men's Finals Weekend, Investec Women's Finals Weekend and Nations Cup this April. Click here for more information.