ROUND-UP: Investec Women's Hockey League

East Grinstead scorer Sophie Bray in amongst the Clifton Robinsons defence. Credit Peter Smith - 480

A dramatic late fightback saw Buckingham clinch the fourth and final play-off spot in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday, but their 3-2 win condemned Slough to a fight against relegation.

Lauren Thomas struck first for Buckingham but Philipa Newton and Laura Bailey scored either side of the half to give hosts Slough a lifeline.

But Phoebe Richards scored on 67 minutes from open play, and Lottie Porter put her side ahead with a 68th minute penalty stroke to clinch the win.

Slough’s hopes of avoiding the relegation battle rested on the University of Birmingham losing to Beeston, and for several minutes it looked likely to happen with Beeston leading for much of the first half thanks to Rebekah Walker’s ninth minute strike.

But the University of Birmingham hit back with goals from Philippa Stewart and Amelia Andrew to take a 2-1 win and condemn Slough to finish ninth.

Holcombe wrapped up top spot in the Premier Division with a slender 1-0 win over bottom side Canterbury, setting up a semi-final clash with Buckingham in the play-offs.

Already relegated, Canterbury fought well but eventually succumbed to Heather McEwen’s penalty corner.

Surbiton did all they could to push Holcombe, beating Bowdon Hightown 4-0 away from home.

Izzy Petter, Jenna Woolven (2) and Georgie Twigg all got on the scoresheet for Surbiton who will face a home tie against East Grinstead in the play-offs.

Sophie Bray netted a hat-trick for East Grinstead in their 3-2 win over Clifton Robinsons who were also in the hunt for fourth place.

Clifton Robinsons were 2-1 up thanks to Natasha Marke-Jones and Claire Thomas but couldn’t make it last. Clifton’s Thomas and East Grinstead’s Sophie Bray finish the regular season as joint top goalscorers with 18 goals.

Investec Women’s Conference East

Hampstead & Westminster secured the Investec Women’s Conference East title in style, beating Ipswich 4-0 on Saturday.

Goals from Hayley Turner, Lucy Hyams, Jasmine Clark and Amy Askew gave them the win which seals a spot in the promotion play-offs.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon had to settle for second spot despite winning 5-0 at home against Bedford. Crista Cullen scored twice for them, with others coming from Eliza Brett, Fiona Semple and Fi Burnet.

St Albans battled to a 2-2 draw at higher-placed Cambridge City which secures their place in Division One for next season following the league restructure.

Elsewhere Horsham will have to go through the play-offs to secure their place in Division One for next season, their 2-1 loss to Sevenoaks meaning they finish seventh.

And Southgate battled back from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with hosts Harleston Magpies.

Investec Women’s Conference North

Champions Loughborough Students finished their regular league fixtures on a high, winning 6-1 at Sutton Coldfield.

Beth Peers scored twice in their win, while other goals came from Madeleine Pearce, Lucy Millington, Maria Andrews and Alice Rolfe.

Kelly Baxter scored two for Ben Rhydding in their 3-1 win over hosts Leeds, Rachel Doherty scoring their other goal while Louise Corkill bagged the Yorkshire side’s only strike.

Elsewhere, Brooklands-Poynton were 5-1 winners over bottom of the table Timperley. Libby Bird scored two of the away side’s goals, with others coming from Beth Alexander, Jackie Eden and Annie Mills.

Leicester were 2-0 winners over Belper, while the University of Durham beat Lancashire outfit Fylde 3-1.

Investec Women’s Conference West

Olton & West Warwicks will have to battle through play-offs to secure their place in Division One for next season after a series of draws on the final day of the Investec Women’s Conference West.

They could’ve climbed up to fourth and a guaranteed place in the second tier of hockey following next season’s restructure, but a 0-0 draw at Exe left them relying on other results to go their way.

However the match between rivals Reading and Isca also ended in a draw, with Jo Ellis and Kim Sheldon scoring in a 1-1 draw which ensured both those clubs stay in the top six and Olton must face play-offs against the seventh-placed teams in the other Conferences.

Elsewhere, Swansea City were the big winners, beating Oxford Hawks 5-0 with goals from Sarah-Jayne Thorburn, Amy Burton, Beth Fisher, Livvy Hoskins and Izzy Webb.

Champions Stourport were 3-1 winners over Gloucester City, while Trojans beat Barnes 2-0.

* Tickets for the Investec Women’s and Men’s Hockey League Finals are on sale now!

Taking place at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Sat 13 and Sun 14 April, the country’s best teams do battle.

Tickets for a single day start at just £2 for under 18s and £13 for adults. For both days it’s from £8 for under 18s and £20 adults – fantastic value to watch elite domestic players in action.

* The above photograph shows East Grinstead scorer Sophie Bray in amongst the Clifton Robinsons defence. Credit Peter Smith.



Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, 30 March 2019):

Investec Women’s Premier Division: Bowdon 0, Surbiton 4; Canterbury 0, Holcombe 1; Clifton Robinson 2, East Grinstead 3; Slough 2, Buckingham 3; University of Birmingham 2, Beeston 1.

Investec Women’s Conference North: Fylde 1, University of Durham 3; Leeds 1, Ben Rhydding 3; Leicester 2, Belper 0; Sutton Coldfield 1, Loughborough Students 6; Timperley 1, Brooklands-Poynton 5.

Investec Women’s Conference West: Exe 0, Olton & West Warwicks 0; Reading 1, Isca 1; Stourport 3, Gloucester City 1; Swansea City 5, Oxford Hawks 0; Trojans 2, Barnes 0.

Investec Women’s Conference East: Cambridge City 2, St Albans 2; Hampstead & Westminster 4, Ipswich 0; Harleston Magpies 2, Southgate 2; Horsham 1, Sevenoaks 2; Wimbledon 5, Bedford 0.