Watton hat-trick as Holcombe win again

Rebecca Middleton of Surbiton is action against Clifton's Joie Leigh. Credit Peter Smith - 450

Ellie Watton hit a hat-trick in the first half as Holcombe kept up the pressure on leaders Surbiton with a 3-1 win over the University of Birmingham in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division.

The 3-1 home win leaves Holcombe just three points behind table-topping Surbiton, who secured a 2-1 win at Clifton Robinsons.

Holcombe captain Steph Elliott missed a penalty stroke in only the second minute but Watton opened the scoring just six minutes later, tucking away from a penalty corner.

She then doubled her side’s lead in the 20th minute before completing her treble in the 30th. Amy Costello hit a consolation for Birmingham after the break.

Surbiton preserved their unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at Clifton Robinsons.

Sarah Page got the visitors off to a good start with a third minute opener. Laura Bridge levelled for the hosts on 24 minutes, but Giselle Ansley hit what proved to be the winner two minutes later.

East Grinstead drop to third after being held to a 2-2 draw at Leicester.

They had to come from behind to earn the point after Holly Payne and Elizabeth Honarmand had put Leicester two up at the break.

Second half goals from Bridget Blackwood and Zoe Burrell earned East Grinstead a share of the spoils.

Canterbury picked up their third win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Bowdon Hightown. Eliza Brett and Tinesha Carey put Canterbury 2-0 up before Nat Wray hit what proved to be a consolation for the visitors.

The bottom two sides going into the weekend’s fixtures met on Sunday in the Investec Women’s Conference, with Slough running out 3-1 winners at Reading.

Mel Ball scored twice and Amy Sheehan was also on target to lift the visitors to eighth in the table.

Georgie Blackwood did pull one back for the host with a stunning finish, but Reading stay bottom of the table, five points adrift of ninth place Bowdon Hightown.

Investec Women's Conference East

West Herts picked up their first win of the season in the Investec Conference East with a 3-1 defeat of fellow strugglers Northampton Saints.

Goals from Rebecca Perry, Jenny Morris and Helen Humphrey saw them secure what could turn out to be a vital three points.

Cathy Gilliat-Smith and Jess Denniff both scored their seventh goals of the campaign as Sevenoaks won 2-0 against Southgate to stay top.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon kept up the pressure beating Harleston Magpies 2-1 with goals coming from Laura Bevan and Nicola Lloyd either side of the break.

Cressida Grant scored two second half goals to see Hampstead and Westminster to a 2-1 win over Cambridge City whilst St Albans beat Chelmsford by the same margin.

Investec Women's Conference North

Brooklands Poynton remain top of the Investec Conference North after beating bottom of the table Belper 3-0.

Belper held their own for the first half but were undone in the second half when Helen Turner, Jess Bestall and Ellen Lockhart all converted penalty corners to claim the points.

Beeston are just two points behind Brooklands in the table as they also won 3-0 in their game at Wakefield, with Sophie Robinson hitting all three goals.

Two other teams in the Conference North also recorded 3-0 victories, with Ben Rhydding putting three past Liverpool Sefton and the University of Durham doing the same against Timperley.

Elsewhere, a Vicky Woolford goal nine minutes from time handed Sutton Coldfield a 3-2 win over Loughborough Students.

Investec Women's Conference West

It’s tight at the top of the Investec Conference West where Stourport remain top of the table on goal difference.

Lora Symonds was the star of the show as she bagged a hat trick in their 3-1 victory at Exe.

But Buckingham are breathing down their necks – they are level on points and just two goals behind them after a comfortable 4-0 win over Trojans.

Olton and West Warwicks are in third just one point behind the leaders. They had to survive a Gloucester City fightback but held on for a 4-3 victory.

Swansea City beat Oxford Hawks 2-1 and Bristol Firebrands drew for the third successive game, this time 1-1 at home to Isca.

* The above photograph shows Surbiton's Rebecca Middleton in action against Clifton Robinson's Joie Leigh. Credit: Peter Smith.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, November 19, 2016):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Holcombe 3, University of Birmingham 1; Clifton Robinsons 1, Surbiton 2; Canterbury 2, Bowdon Hightown 1; Leicester 2, East Grinstead 2.

Investec Women's Conference East: St Albans 2, Chelmsford 1; Hampstead and Westminster 2, Cambridge City 1; West Herts 3, Northampton Saints 1; Wimbledon 2, Harleston Magpies 1; Sevenoaks 2, Southgate 0.

Investec Women's Conference North: University of Durham 3, Timperley 0; Loughborough Students 2, Sutton Coldfield 3; Liverpool Sefton 0, Ben Rhydding 3; Wakefield 0, Beeston 3; Belper 0, Brooklands Poynton 3.

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