Slazenger EHL Week Four Round-up

Canterbury cause Clifton a bit of Botha...

And so it was, that top of the table clashes were fought, that winning records were enhanced - and ruined - and in Premier Divisions’ just one goal made that difference.

Bowdon Hightown, who looked comfortable with a 3-1 lead at half time on Saturday, in Women’s Premier Division, were left to ride out the storm and collect the three points in a 4-3 win over Olton & WW. Rachel Walker put the pressure on the Cheshire side scoring in the 61st minute after Tina Cullen had looked to put the game beyond doubt in the 56th minute, but Olton & WW were unable to find the net again and thus, unable to bring home any points. Canterbury, masters of the deadlock, held Clifton to a 2-2 draw thanks to a last gasp goal from Cindy Botha to record their fourth draw, and to drop Clifton down to fifth. Trojans’ excellent start to the season continued against Chelmsford, in a two nil win, whilst Chelmsford continues to look for that elusive goal as a springboard to their search for points. Slough won at home to Poynton thanks to goals from Alex Scott and Louise Bevan in each half. Leicester and Ipswich got their goals out of the way in the first ten minutes at Leicester Grammar School, the goals were shared, as were the points, in a 1-1 draw.

East Grinstead’s title hopes took a knock after their travels to Chase Park on Sunday. It seems strange to think that a side with such an illustrious past as Cannock could be so unfancied at the start of the season, after all, a certain Scottish football pundit did once say “you’ll never win anything with kids” and look how that turned out… Richard Lane was the hero for Cannock, East Grinstead had gone into half time with the upper hand thanks to a penalty corner strike from Martin Haner, but Lane’s double blow in the 45th minute went without reply and the Staffordshire side maintained their 100% record, their fourth win of the season, and their position at the top of the table. Reading remain unbeaten this season thanks to a 5-2 home win against Bowdon, Richard Mantell started the game’s scoring in the 5th minute with his first of two, and it was Simon Egerton who finished it off in the 68th minute with his second of two. Rick Gay helped earn Southgate their first point of the season, with two minutes left it looked as though his two penalty corner strikes would earn them three, but Henry Weir salvaged a point for Loughborough Students with a goal in the 69th minute. Hampstead and Westminster were denied a home win against Surbiton in the 66th minute by a former ally, Andy Cornick, when the game finished it was 4-4 and the spoils were shared.

Men’s Conference East is headed by Canterbury after their 5-3 win away at Holcombe, a victory that would have been tinged with nostalgia since Holcombe field several former Canterbury players; Lloyd Norris-Jones’ proved Canterbury’s new hero with three goals. Indian Gymkhana’s Tejinder Hanspal found form, in their 9-3 win away at Ipswich, scoring four goals to add to the three he had scored in the previous three games. Belper top Men’s Conference North having picked up their fourth win in a row, this time in a 3-2 away win at Doncaster. Durham University put six past Formby, who scored their first goal of the season, to move up into fourth. Old Georgians and University of Exeter both lost their 100% record on Sunday, but similarly, maintained their unbeaten record in playing out a 4-4 draw. University of Exeter were forced to make a dramatic comeback having gone into the second half needing to overturn a two goal deficit, it was Toby Roche, who struck the blow with a last ditch penalty corner finish, who turned saviour for the Devonish side. Team Bath Buccaneers laid bottom club Whitchurch to the sword in a 9-0 victory in which seven names were recorded on the score sheet.

Barnes HE continues to dominate Women’s Conference East thanks to a 2-0 home win over Maidstone. Reading’s 5-2 win away at Staines was followed up by a 4-0 win at home to Old Loughtonians in their re-arranged fixture, due to postponement, from last week. Loughborough Students’ convincing 4-0 victory at home to Bradford Wakefield means they continue to top Women’s Conference North with twelve points. Liverpool Sefton and Belper played out a high scoring, 5-5, draw that, with moments left, looked likely to end in a Belper win, but Clare Panter’s 70th minute penalty corner strike put paid to that. University of Birmingham have now averaged 6.5 goals per game this season in topping Women’s Conference West, their 9-0 home win, in which Sophie Bray scored three, over Rover Oxford helped to boost that average. Firebrands continue to match University of Birmingham for points by recording a 3-1 victory away at Exe.

Surbiton’s game with Reading this weekend, a 6pm start at Sugden Road, will be a colourful affair as they are naming it the ‘Pink Party’. The ‘Pink Pin’ logo for Breast Cancer Awareness will be adorning the back of their shirts throughout October. Surbiton have a partnership with Breakthrough Breast Cancer for the entirety of the 2008-09 season. Breakthrough’s Community Fundraiser, Hannah Yates said ‘Breakthrough is delighted to be the chosen charity of Surbiton Hockey Club throughout the 08/09 season.  All funds raised from the partnership will bring Breakthrough even closer to achieving its vision of a future free from the fear of breast cancer and we hope that all members of the club will have great fun fundraising along the way!’ Great Britain and Surbiton captain, Ben Hawes, along with the rest of the club, ‘are very excited to be supporting Breakthrough this season through our partnership.  A Charity Partnership of this nature is new territory for the Club and we look forward to both raising awareness and hitting, and exceeding, our fundraising target.’ The Slazenger EHL wishes Surbiton well in its endeavours to raise awareness and funds for charity.