Play-off berths for East Grinstead and University of Birmingham

Wimbledon HC Women, March 25 2017. Credit Chris Dicken - 450

The University of Birmingham and East Grinstead clinched the last two play-off berths with wins on the final day of the regular season in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division season.

East Grinstead knew a win would ensure their spot at the finals weekend, and they secured third place with a 4-1 win against Bowdon Hightown.

A brace from Pip Lock and goals from Bridget Blackwood and Natasha Brennan took the win for East Grinstead whilst Rosie Bailey scored a consolation for Bowdon who will now face relegation play-offs.

The University of Birmingham finish fourth after a hard-fought 2-1 win against Canterbury.

Amy Costello opened the scoring for the students on 19 minutes with Eliza Brett equalising just after the break.

Holly Hunt made sure of all three points for Birmingham, slotting home on 44 minutes and securing the final play-off place.

Clifton Robinson and Leicester were both in the hunt going into the final round of games, but with the sides in third and fourth both securing victories, their games proved to be academic.

Clifton Robinsons fell to a 4-3 loss at Surbiton, the league leaders who had only lost once all season.

Clifton did find themselves 2-0 up at the break after goals from Joanna Leigh and Megan Crowson.

Surbiton sprung into action after the break with GB Olympic gold medal winner Giselle Ansley scoring a brace to finish the campaign as the division’s top scorer, while Rebecca Middleton was also on target.

Clifton’s Aileen Davis had made it 3-3 on 66 minutes but Middleton’s second goal two minutes from time condemned the visitors to defeat.

Leicester also missed out on a top four finish, but did grab a respectable 1-1 draw with second place Holcombe to finish in fifth place.

Emily Maguire opened the scoring for Holcombe in the ninth minute before Katie Long levelled on 25 minutes.

Relegated Reading took their first win of the season as an Emma Thomas goal was enough to beat Slough 1-0.


Investec Women's Conference East

Wimbledon secured top spot in the Investec Conference East – and their place in the promotion play-offs - with a stylish 10-0 win at Northampton Saints.

Wimbledon were in pole position going into Saturday’s games, holding a three-point lead over Sevenoaks, and took full advantage against already relegated Northampton.

Laura Bevan, Cherry Seaborn and GB Olympic gold medal winner Crista Cullen all struck before half time to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.

Cullen completed her hat-trick after the break and Bevan grabbed her second, with Harriet Naismith, Rose Winter, Rosie Macpherson and Tamsyn Naylor all on the scoresheet to claim top spot.

Hampstead and Westminster ended Sevenoaks’ hopes, regardless of the Wimbledon result, picking up a 3-1 home victory.

Annabel Driver, Hayley Turner and Jasmine Clark all scored before Maddie Thompson grabbed a late consolation for Sevenoaks, who finish second.

Elsewhere, Harleston Magpies’ Maria Andrews finished the season as the Conference top scorer, her brace in a 4-0 home win over St Albans saw her move to 17 goals for the campaign.

Chelmsford captain Kate Maxey scored twice as they defeated Cambridge City 3-2, whilst Southgate defeated West Herts 2-1.


Investec Women's Conference North

Brooklands Poynton secured the Investec Conference North title after a tense 2-1 home victory against Timperley.

Brooklands’ Annie Mills opened the scoring, only for Leonnie Molloy to equalise on 13 minutes for Timperley.

Caroline Hulme scored the all-important goal midway through the first half to give the hosts the three points and their place in the promotion play-offs, whilst condemning their opponents to the relegation play off.

Beeston claimed a 4-0 win at Sutton Coldfield, but required a slip-up from Brooklands if they were to claim top spot which was not forthcoming.

Conference North leading scorer Sophie Robinson and Esme Burge were amongst the scorers as Beeston finished second just one point behind.

Liverpool Sefton secured their Conference North status after coming from behind to take a 2-1 home win against Belper.

Chloe Tyler and Chelsea Daley scored the goals for the hosts as Belper’s late season fight back was not enough to prevent their relegation.

Elsewhere, Loughborough Students won 2-0 at Wakefield, and Ben Rhydding won by the same scoreline at the University of Durham.


Investec Women's Conference West

Investec Conference West winners Buckingham go into the promotion play offs in fine form, after wrapping up the league season with a 10-1 home victory against relegated Bristol Firebrands.

Buckingham HC Women March 25 2017. Credit Andrew Marson - 450

Phoebe Richards scored a hat trick in the second half, with Lauren Thomas (2), Natasha James, Abbie Brant, Alice Rolfe, Lottie Porter and Alexandra Naughalty all on target.

Lora Symonds scored a brace as Stourport defeated Oxford Hawks 2-1, goals which saw her finish the campaign as the Conference West top scorer with an impressive 22 for the season.

Sally Walton hit a hat trick as Olton and West Warwicks scored six goals in the second half for a 6-1 win over Exe, Anna Griffiths also scoring twice.

Sophie Clayton scored in the last minute to give Swansea City a 1-0 win at Trojans, whilst Isca University and Gloucester City ended the season with a goalless draw.

* The above image of Wimbledon HC is by Chris Dicken, while the Buckingham HC photo is by Andrew Marson.


Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 25, 2017):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Bowdon 1, East Grinstead 4; Canterbury 1, University of Birmingham 2; Holcombe 1, Leicester 1; Slough 0, Reading 1; Surbiton 4, Clifton Robinsons 3.

Investec Women's Conference East: Cambridge City 2, Chelmsford 3; Hampstead and Westminster 3, Sevenoaks 1; Harleston Magpies 4, St. Albans 0; Northampton Saints 0, Wimbledon 10; Southgate 2, West Herts 1.

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

Investec Women's Conference West: Buckingham 10, Bristol Firebrands 1; Isca 0, Gloucester City 0; Olton & West Warwicks 6, Exe 1; Stourport 2, Oxford Hawks 1; Trojans 0, Swansea City 1.