Battling Canterbury beat Birmingham

Beeston celebrate winning the Investec Women's Conference North. Credit Andrew Smith - 480x320
Four first half goals helped battling Canterbury beat former leaders University of Birmingham as the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division provided some big results.

Previously bottom of the table, Canterbury’s recent form has seen them climb to seventh with just one loss in their last seven matches.

Erica Sanders gave the University of Birmingham an early lead with a field goal in the fourth minute. But Canterbury’s Aussie ace Penny Squibb levelled a minute later, and other strikes from Elizabeth Jenkins (2) and Mary Flint put the Kent side 4-1 ahead at half time.

Holly Munro added another for Birmingham after the break, but they couldn’t battle back and slip to fourth in the table.

East Grinstead climbed to second in the table thanks to a 3-1 win over Buckingham. Chloe Palmer scored twice and Ruth Gordon once, while Buckingham’s goal came late in the match from Abbie Brant.

Bottom of the table Leicester battled to a 1-1 draw with title-chasing Holcombe, who drop to third after the draw. Katie Long put Leicester into the lead after four minutes, only for Philippa Lewis to salvage a point for Holcombe with 11 minutes left.

Leaders Surbiton continued their free-scoring ways, beating hosts Slough 8-1. Beckie Middleton and Giselle Ansley both scored hat-tricks, while Emily Defroand and Hannah Martin added the others.

Bowdon and Clifton Robinson fought out a 2-2 draw, with Rosie Bailey and Charlene Mason scoring for the home side, while Vicky McCabe and Claire Thomas scored for Clifton Robinsons.

Investec Women’s Conference West
Stourport took over at the top of the Investec Conference West, beating former leaders Trojans 2-0 to leapfrog them. First half goals from Sarah Parkinson-Mills and Claire Pearson were enough for the visitors to take the win.

Meanwhile, third-placed Reading are level on points with Trojans following their 3-2 comeback win over Olton & West Warwicks.

Olton led 2-1 at half time with Harriet Payne and Alice Conquest their scorers, but Reading hit back as Sophie Shakespeare scored twice and Emma Royce once to take the win.

Elsewhere Swansea City and Team Bath Buccaneers drew 2-2, while Gloucester and Isca also shared the spoils with the same scoreline. Oxford Hawks boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop with a 2-1 win over Cannock.

Investec Women’s Conference North
Beeston are the league champions after overcoming a stubborn Loughborough Students outfit, winning 2-1 to maintain their 100% record.

Goalless at half-time, the match sprang into life with Sophie Robinson scoring from open play on 50 minutes. But that lead lasted a matter of seconds as Loughborough pulled back level with Madeleine Pearce scoring for the visitors.

However, Robinson struck again on 55 minutes, and it proved enough to take a win, securing them the title and a spot in the forthcoming League Play-Offs, where they will battle to try and reach the top tier.

Elsewhere Ben Rhydding were 8-1 winners over Wakefield with Serena Barr scoring a hat-trick, while the University of Durham won 6-2 at Liverpool Sefton with Lorna Jane Cruickshank scoring twice.

Two goals from Amanda Neurock helped Timperley to a 3-0 win over Fylde, Sarah Chancellor scoring the other. And in the other North match Brooklands-Poynton and Sutton Coldfield drew 3-3.

Investec Women’s Conference East
Two goals each from Kate McCaw and Amy Askew helped leaders Hampstead & Westminster continue their unbeaten run with a 5-0 win at Harleston Magpies in the Investec Women’s Conference East.

Melanie Wilkinson also scored in the match which leaves Hampstead six points clear of second-placed Wimbledon, who were 2-1 winners at Chelmsford with Anna Toman scoring both goals.

Second half goals from Jen Wilson and Sophie Crosley helped Sevenoaks win 2-0 at home against St Albans, while in other action Cambridge were 2-1 winners over Bedford and Barnes won 2-0 against Southgate.

* The above photo shows Beeston celebrating winning the Investec Women’s Conference North title. Credit: Andy Smith.

* Full results, tables and fixtures from the Investec Women’s Hockey League are available here.