Holcombe move into top four

Holcombe celebrates Leah Wilkinson's goal. Credit Peter Smith - 450

Holcombe moved back into play-off contention in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, battling to a 4-2 win at Clifton Robinsons to secure their first win in three matches.

The Kent side leapfrogged their opponents in the table, and with the university of Birmingham also losing Holcombe climbed to third and boosted their hopes of making it to the Finals Weekend.

Sarah Jones opened the scoring for Holcombe on three minutes, but Hannah Coulson levelled for the hosts midway through the half.

Leah Wilkinson (pictured) again put the visitors ahead but Jo Leigh converted a penalty corner to restore parity at the break.

Second half goals from Emily Maguire and Lucy Wood gave Holcombe all three points, leaving Clifton Robinsons hanging onto a top four spot on goal difference.

The University of Birmingham slipped out of the top four after a 6-0 home defeat against leaders Surbiton.

Giselle Ansley scored her eleventh of the campaign, with Sarah Haycroft and Hannah Martin also on target before the break.

Rebecca Middleton, Sarah Page and Naomi Evans goals wrapped up the points in the second half, moving Surbiton 10 points clear at the top of the table.

Leicester moved to within two points of the top four after a 3-2 away win at Canterbury.

Rachel Mack, Katie Long and Elizabeth Honarmand put the visitors three up after 24 minutes.

Grace Balsdon pulled one back on the stroke of half time, before Eliza Brett scored her fifth of the campaign to reduce the deficit with 26 minutes to play, but Canterbury could not find the equaliser.

Reading remain six points behind Bowdon Hightown as the bottom two in the division played out a goalless draw.

Bowdon sit two points behind Slough with five games to go, as they look to avoid the relegation play off.

Investec Women’s Conference East

Wimbledon recorded a thumping 9-1 home win over St Albans to stay three points clear at the top of the Investec Conference East.

Lizzie Rae, Crista Cullen and Tamsyn Naylor both scored twice in the emphatic victory.

Sevenoaks remain three points behind after a 3-1 win at struggling West Herts, Jess Denniff took her tally for the season into double figures with a brace.

Conference leading scorer Maria Andrews was on target again as Harleston Magpies defeated Chelmsford 3-1, Tor Findlay and Lauren Barber were also on the scoresheet.

Elsewhere, a Helen Cathcart double helped Hampstead and Westminster defeat Southgate 4-1, and Heidi Baber scored two as Cambridge won 4-0 at bottom side Northampton Saints.

Investec Women’s Conference North

Beeston did their best to keep the pressure on Conference North leaders Brooklands Poynton with a 4-1 win against the University of Durham. Rosy Stephens led the scoring with a brace.

Brooklands Poynton continue to lead however, with a 2-0 defeat of Loughborough Students. Caroline Hulme and Ellen Lockhart scored their goals.

Liverpool Sefton played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Wakefield with Wakefield coming back from three goals down. Kelly Baxter was their hero with a goal in each half.

Sutton Coldfield beat Timperley 2-1 and Belper took a 2-0 win over Ben Rhydding.

Investec Women’s Conference West

Stourport threw down the gauntlet in the Conference West as the leaders beat third-placed Olton and West Warwickshire 6-1 away from home. Claire Pearson provided most of their firepower, scoring a hat-trick.

Buckingham are just three points behind Stourport and have a game in hand. They kept their ship on course with a 1-0 win over Trojans.

Exe earned their fifth point of the season with a 1-1 draw at home to Gloucester City and Swansea City also played out a 1-1 draw with Isca University.

Sophie Shakespeare hit a brace as Oxford Hawks beat Bristol Firebrands 4-2.

* The above photograph shows Holcombe celebrating Leah Wilkinson's goal. Credit Peter Smith.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 18, 2017):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Bowdon 0, Reading 0; Canterbury 2, Leicester 3; Clifton Robinsons 2, Holcombe 4; University of Birmingham 0, Surbiton 6.

Investec Women's Conference East: Hampstead and Westminster 4, Southgate 1; Harleston Magpies 3, Chelmsford 1; Northampton Saints 0, Cambridge City 4; West Herts 1, Sevenoaks 3; Wimbledon 9, St. Albans 1.

Investec Women's Conference North: Beeston 4, University of Durham 1; Belper 2, Ben Rhydding 0; Brooklands Poynton 2, Loughborough Students 0; Liverpool Sefton 3, Wakefield 3; Sutton Coldfield 2, Timperley 1.

Investec Women's Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 2, Oxford Hawks 4; Buckingham 1, Trojans 0; Exe 1, Gloucester City 1; Olton & West Warwicks 1, Stourport 6; Swansea City 1, Isca 1.