ROUND-UP: Investec Women's Hockey League

Loughborough Students celebrate Premier Division survival. Credit Andrew Smith - 480

Buckingham clinched the fourth and final play-off spot in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division with a nail-biting 1-0 win over the University of Birmingham – who must now go through the promotion play-offs to secure their top flight spot for next season.

Lottie Porter’s 13th minute goal proved enough to take the points and book their place in the semi finals against table-topping Surbiton in April.

At the other end of the table the University of Birmingham dropped to ninth on the back of that loss, and will face play-offs against the Division One winners.

East Grinstead will have home advantage for the play-offs after they secured a confident 6-1 win over Surbiton.

Sophie Bray and Tess Howard both found the back of the net either side of half time, while Katerina Lacina and Laura Unsworth also scored for East Grinstead.

Erica Sanders was Surbiton’s lone scorer.

Elsewhere, Loughborough Students beat Holcombe 3-2 to climb out of relegation danger.

Hannah Grieve, Lizzie Neal and Lucy Millington scored the goals that gave Loughborough victory with Eloise Richards and Leah Wilkinson scoring for Holcombe.

Elsewhere Phoebe Richards claimed the game’s only goal as Clifton Robinsons beat relegated Bowdon Hightown 1-0.

Hampstead & Westminster’s 4-0 win wasn’t enough to clinch home advantage for the play-offs. Their goals came from Joyce Esser (2), Joanna Leigh and Lauren Turner.

Investec Division 1 North

Swansea went top of Division One North thanks to a 2-1 victory against third-placed University of Durham.

Kathryn Mee put the Welsh outfit up after only two minutes of play from a penalty corner. Georgia Brownhill levelled the scoring for Durham shortly after the half time break but Olivia Strickland’s 55th minute field goal was decisive, giving Swansea all three points.

Previously top, a win would’ve put Leicester City three points clear of Swansea heading into the final week of the season. But they fell 2-1 to hosts Brooklands-Poynton.

Tor Hughes put the home side 1-0 up heading into the half. Rachel Mack drew Leicester City level on 57 minutes but Izzy Wray reinstated Brooklands’ cushion and eventual win.

Elsewhere Belper beat Gloucester City 2-0, Ben Rhydding beat Leeds 2-0 and Stourport travelled to Olton & West Warwicks, winning 3-2.

Investec Division 1 South

Wimbledon’s perfect season in Division One South continued with a 4-0 win over mid-table Cambridge City on Saturday.

Crista Cullen opened the scoring for Wimbledon after four minutes with the London-based side having to wait until the second half to see another goal with three coming via Olivia Chilton, Fiona Semple and Eliza Brett.

Bottom side St Albans mustered up only their second win of the whole campaign thanks to Natasha Humphris.

She struck three times in the first half, and despite their opponents Sevenoaks pulling two back the scoreline stayed 3-2 to St Albans.

Elsewhere Trojans beat hosts Canterbury 1-0, Harleston Magpies won 2-0 against second-placed Reading and Slough were 5-0 winners at home to Isca.

Investec Conference East

Wimbledon’s second team won 3-1 over Ipswich in the Investec Conference East, securing the title while condemning their hosts to relegation.

Alex Richardson, Ruth Morgan Hampson and Sam Smith’s goals for Wimbledon saw them promoted with a round of fixtures to spare.

Had Wimbledon lost, Barnes’ 6-1 win would’ve meant the battle for promotion heading into the last week.

It wasn’t to be but Helen Stubbs and Triona Doyle both scored a brace in the win over Horsham as they cemented second place.

Valissa Armstrong was the only player to score a hat-trick in the Conference in Bromley & Beckenham’s 6-1 win over Broxbourne.

Investec Conference North

The University of Nottingham continued their perfect league season, this time a 10-2 victory over Timperley in the Investec Conference North.

Robyn Bentley found the back of Timperley’s net three time with Jordan Homann, Jessica Hill and Sophie Jefferson all scoring two goals each in the dominant win. Sally Sime added the other for the promoted side.

Doncaster beat Yorkshire rivals Wakefield 2-1 to go three points clear of bottom side Beeston seconds with one game still to play.

Wakefield’s Mia Rawlins put the West Yorkshire side ahead before two goals in three minutes from Fiona Rawlings and Ellie O’Neill gave Doncaster a 2-1 victory.

Investec Conference West

Second-placed side Exe travelled to third-placed Oxford Hawks in the Investec Conference West, and took all three points with a 3-1 win.

Emily Mitchem scored the opening half’s only goal for the visitors before Catherine Reaney drew the sides level.

Mitchem was in fine finishing form, doubling her tally with ten minutes of the game left before adding a third seven minutes later.

Basingstoke scored three unanswered goals to salvage a point at hosts Team Bath Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers had led 3-0 with 15 minutes to spare but a goal from Basingstoke’s Georgia Lea on 57 minutes was just a prelude to Nicola George’s flurry of two goals in the last two minutes to draw the game 3-3.

* The above photograph shows Loughborough Students celebrating Premier Division survival. Credit: Andrew Smith.



Investec Women’s Hockey League (Sat, 14 March 2020):

Investec Premier Division: Clifton Robinsons 1, Bowdon Hightown 0; East Grinstead 6, Surbiton 1; Hampstead & Westminster 4, Beeston 0; Loughborough Students 3, Holcombe 2; Univ of Birmingham 0, Buckingham 1.

Investec Division One North: Swansea 2, Univ of Durham 1; Brooklands-Poynton 2, Leicester City 1; Olton & West Warwicks 2, Stourport 3; Belper 2, Gloucester City 0; Leeds 0, Ben Rhydding 2.

Investec Division One South: Canterbury 0, Trojans 1; Harleston Magpies 2, Reading 0; Sevenoaks 2, St Albans 3; Slough 5, Isca 0; Wimbledon 4, Cambridge City 0.

Investec Conference West: Oxford Hawks 1, Exe 3; Univ of Birmingham 2XI 0, Cheltenham 2; Oxford University 2, Clifton Robinsons 2XI 0; Team Bath Buccaneers 3, Basingstoke 3.

Investec Conference East: Barnes 6, Horsham 1; Ipswich 1, Wimbledon 2XI 3; Bromley & Beckenham 6, Broxbourne 0; Bedford 4, Canterbury 2XI 1; Chelmsford 1, Southgate 3.

Investec Conference North: Beeston 2, Fylde 2; Cannock 2, Alderley Edge 0; Pendle Forest 2, Sutton Coldfield 4; Univ of Nottingham 10, Timperley 2; Wakefield 1, Doncaster 2.


League Finals

The top four teams in the EHL Premier Divisions play off to be league champions. Semis - 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd. The winning semi-finalists qualify for the final.

The team finishing top of the Division at the end of the regular season take England’s second place in the following season’s European Club Championships the winners of the final are league champions and take England’s top place. If this is the same team then the losers of the final take the second European place.

As requested by teams the semi-finals this season are at home club venues. Men’s semis are on 29 March, Women’s semis are on 4 April in order to ensure Great Britain internationals are available for their clubs.

The finals are on 5 April at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

1200 hrs – Men’s final

1430 hrs – Women’s final

Promotion & Relegation – Premier Division and Division 1 North & Division 1 South

The team finishing 10th in the Premier Division is relegated.

The winners of Division 1 North & Division 1 South play off in a one-off match on 29 March at a neutral venue, Nottingham Hockey Centre. The winners of this match are promoted to the Premier Division.

The losers of this game play against the team finishing 9th in the Premier Division over two matches, home and away, with the winners on the aggregate score earning/retaining a Premier Division place.

5 April – Losers of Division 1 North & Division 1 South play off v 9th Premier Division – Match 1

18 April – 9th Premier Division v Losers of Division 1 North & Division 1 South play off – Match 2