Investec Women's Hockey League Play-Offs

Buckingham get promoted League Finals 2017

Wimbledon 3 (2)
Libby Sherriff, 7, 19 (PC, FG)
Crista Cullen, 69 (PC)

Buckingham  4 (2)
Kitty Higgins, 4, 50 (PC, PC)
Natasha James, 13 (FG)
Zoe Shipperley, 45 (PC)

A jubilant Buckingham clinched promotion to the Investec Women’s Hockey League in a seven goal thriller at the expense of a heartbroken Wimbledon. It was a must win game for Jane Scott’s side, who got pegged back twice, before two goals in five minutes gave them an unassailable lead.  

Buckingham got off to the perfect start, scoring from a penalty corner after four minutes. Lauren Thomas swept the ball in from the top of the circle onto the stick of Kitty Higgins to deflect into the goal. It wasn’t long before Wimbledon were back on level terms though, scoring from their own penalty corner. Crista Cullen’s initial strike was charged down but the loose ball fell to Libby Sherriff to slam home.

Tash James was next to get herself on the score sheet, to restore Buckingham’s lead. Persistent play from Phoebe Richards led to a goal mouth scramble, with James on hand to net from close range. Six minutes later, Sherriff had her second to pull Wimbledon back to 2-2. Nikki Lloyd drove down the right before firing an inch perfect cross to Sherriff on the back post to deflect home first time.

Wimbledon started the second half the brighter of the two sides, pressing the Buckingham defence into making mistakes. Rachel Macpherson forced a turnover inside the circle but her snapshot was saved by Ella Jackson’s outstretched foot.  With Wimbledon unable to take their chances, Buckingham took advantage, capitalising from two penalty corners. First, Zoe Shipperley’s powerful hit from the top was deflected into the roof of the net off a defender’s stick before the captain turned provider to set up Higgin’s for her second and Buckingham’s fourth.

Wimbledon, in need of a draw to secure promotion, continued to press forwards. With 52 seconds left on the clock, Cullen sent the Wimbledon fans wild, scoring from a penalty corner but it was too little too late and Buckingham held on to clinch a 4-3 victory and Premier Division hockey for the 2017/18 season.

Brooklands Poynton 2 (1)
Tor Hughes, 23 (PC)
Clare Wallace, 58 (PC)

Bowdon Hightown 2 (1)
Lisa Garbutt, 26, 69 (FG, FG)

Bowdon celebrate champagne

A last gasp strike from Lisa Garbutt rescued a point for Bowdon Hightown in their clash with Brooklands Poynton. Bowdon had already retained their Premier Division status after winning their previous two games. Brooklands looked set to grab a consolation win in their Play-Off campaign after goals from Tor Hughes and Clare Wallace had put them ahead in the second half. However Garbutt’s second goal of the game levelled the score with just seconds remaining to deny Brooklands all three points.

Hughes converted a penalty corner midway through the first half but Bowdon responded immediately, Garbutt smashing home into the bottom corner after collecting a clever cut-back.

The second half belonged to Maud Lelkens in the Brooklands' goal who made a string of stunning saves to keep her side in the game. The highlight a triple save in quick succession to prevent Garbutt from adding to her tally.

Almost immediately Brooklands headed down the other end and won a penalty corner. Wallace reacted quickly on the near post to deflect past keeper into the top right corner.

However they couldn’t hold this lead as Bowdon piled on the pressure in the final minute. A bobbled cross made its way across the face of goal and Garbutt was well placed to turn home.

Bowdon Hightown captain Kayleigh Humphreys spoke to England Hockey after the game.  

"It is very exciting. It has been a long season as we have had quite a few downs but we have fought on. Throughout the season we have lost games by just one goal, so it has been quite a frustrating, so to come here and play the way we have is brilliant. I am really chuffed and very relieved! I think it has been great to see articles from other teams  supporting  northern teams, so we are just so proud to keep north on the map."

Investec Women's Hockey League Play-Offs - Final standings

 

P

W

D

L

F

A

GD

Pts

Bowdon Hightown

3

2

1

0

7

5

+2

7

Buckingham

3

2

0

1

6

4

+2

6

Wimbledon

3

1

0

2

6

8

-2

3

Brooklands Poynton

3

0

1

2

3

5

-2

1