Hampstead show fighting spirit

Hampstead and Westminster's Stuart Loughrey evades a challenge. Credit Tim Reder - 450

Hampstead and Westminster clawed their way out of the relegation zone in the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division with a shock 3-1 defeat of second-placed Reading on Sunday.

Reading took an eighth minute lead through Simon Mantell, but Hampstead went into the break 2-1 up through goals from Iain Mackay and James Simpson. Andrew Murie wrapped up the points four minutes from time.

It was the second game in as many days for Hampstead, their game against East Grinstead on Saturday ended 0-0.

It was a missed chance for Reading to close the gap at the top after Holcombe drew 1-1 with Surbiton on Saturday. Samuel Ward had given them the lead but a Dave Beckett goal earned a share of the spoils for Surbiton.

Bottom side Canterbury gave themselves a fighting chance of beating the drop with a 4-2 win over fellow strugglers Cannock. Craig Boyne, Tom Butt, Josh Pollard and Ross Gilham-Jones were on target for Canterbury with Tom Morris and Peter Jackson replying for Cannock. The result sees Cannock drop to ninth.

Brooklands Manchester University are just a point outside the play-off places after a 3-1 defeat of East Grinstead with goals from Peter Friend, Aidan Khares and Graeme Wolfenden. Robert Schilling hit the consolation for their opponents.

Wimbledon still hold on to fourth spot despite losing 1-0 to Beeston with Richard Lawrence hitting a late winner.

Men's Conference West

Cardiff and Met were confirmed as champions of the Men’s Conference West despite Cheltenham pulling off a shock 3-0 win them. Luke Cole, Tom Cole and Peter Duffy scored for Cheltenham.

If Team Bath Buccaneers had won then Cardiff would have had to wait until at least next week to take the title but they could only manage a 3-3 draw with the University of Birmingham.

The division has been very close this season and only seven points separates Team Bath in second and Cheltenham in seventh. University of Exeter remain third after a 4-3 win over Indian Gymkhana. Bottom side Chichester Priory Park lost 5-0 to third from bottom Isca, while second from bottom Guildford beat Fareham 2-1.

Men's Conference East

The title fight is going right to the wire in the Men’s Conference East, and it took a late strike from Duncan Scott to keep Southgate at the top by a point as they beat Cambridge City 1-0.

Richmond are fighting all the way though, and beat Brighton and Hove 2-1. At the other end of the table, things became more clear as Harleston Magpies had their relegation confirmed after losing their do-or-die game against Teddington 5-3.

Second from bottom Bromley and Beckenham lost 4-3 to Oxted. Max Webster scored twice as West Herts beat Sevenoaks 5-1.

Men's Conference North

Loughborough Students took the Men’s Conference North title with two games to spare after a 2-1 win over Olton and West Warwicks, courtesy of goals from Nick Page and Luke Taylor.

Bowdon miss out on the title, despite beating Sheffield Hallam 5-0. Wakefield took a small step towards safety with a 3-3 draw against Preston. The result lifts them up to eighth.

Lichfield are only two points off them at the bottom of the league after beating Doncaster 2-1. Rory Patterson hit a hat-trick for the University of Durham in a 6-3 win over Deeside Ramblers. Andrew Hayton also scored a treble but found himself on the losing side.

* The above photograph shows Hampstead and Westminster's Stuart Loughrey evading a challenge. Credit Tim Reder.

Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 27 2016):

Men's Premier Division: Hampstead and Westminster 0, East Grinstead 0; Surbiton 1, Holcombe 1.

Men's Conference West: Cardiff and Met 1, Indian Gymkhana 0.

Men’s Hockey League (Sunday, February 28 2016):

Men’s Premier Division: Beeston 1, Wimbledon 0; Hampstead and Westminster 3, Reading 1; Cannock 2, Canterbury 4; Brooklands Manchester University 3, East Grinstead 1.

Men's Conference West: Isca 5, Chichester Priory Park 0; Cheltenham 3, Cardiff and Met 0; University of Birmingham 3, Team Bath Buccaneers 3; Guildford 2, Fareham 1; Indian Gymkhana 3, University of Exeter 4.

Men's Conference North: Sheffield Hallam 0, Bowdon 5; Lichfield 2, Doncaster 1; Preston 3, Wakefield 3; Loughborough Students 2, Olton and West Warwicks 1; University of Exeter 6, Deeside Ramblers 3.

Men's Conference East: Oxted 4, Bromley and Beckenham 3; Brighton and Hove 1, Richmond 2; Cambridge City 0, Southgate 1; Harleston Magpies 3, Teddington 5; West Herts 5, Sevenoaks 1.

League Finals weekend now on sale

The next big event in the club calendar is the League Finals Weekend on the 16th and 17th April – this year the Men’s and Investec Women’s Hockey Leagues Finals and playoffs are combined into one action-packed weekend at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre so drama is guaranteed!

League Finals Weekend tickets are on sale now www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets . Knockout Finals tickets will also go on sale soon on this page.