Slazenger EHL Round Up 23.02.09

Slazenger EHL 2008-09 Beeston's George PinnerEast Grinstead gave their European qualification hopes a boost on Sunday by beating Cannock 2-0 whilst Bowdon Hightown extended their 100% record to a Baker’s dozen. In Men’s Premier Division Cannock relinquished their position at the top of the league for the first time this season after a stunning start to the season hit the rocks with two draws and a loss in their last three games. The benefactors this weekend were East Grinstead who avenged their narrow loss at Chase Park earlier in the season. Player/Coach Mark Pearn opened the scoring for EG before Andy Piper scored the winner in the 45th minute, Cannock were unable to reply in the 2-0 loss. Reading took full advantage of that result on their travels to Bowdon, Jonty Clarke scored the only goal in their victory that takes them into first position by one point, with a game in hand. Beeston took four points from a possible six by securing a 2-2 draw with Loughborough Students’ thanks to a 63rd minute Mohammed Nadeem equaliser, then recording a 2-1 home win over Havant. Loughborough Students hauled in the same number of points thanks to a 4-0 win over bottom of the table Southgate. Surbiton’s Matt Daly scored three in their 5-2 win over Hampstead & Westminster; however, they drop into fifth place, level on points with Beeston, because of Beeston’s points gained from one of their games in hand.

Slazenger EHL 2008-09 Leicester's Katie LongBowdon Hightown continued their dominance of Women’s Premier Division thanks to a narrow 2-1 victory over second placed Olton and WW. Hightown looked comfortable with a two goal lead, thanks to Annalisa Bishop and Jo Ellis, but were unsettled with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock when Rachel Walker scored from a Penalty Corner. It proved only a consolation for the Midlanders who fall to twelve points behind in second place. Leicester put plenty of pressure on Olton and WW for the second European qualification place after two high scoring victories, a 6-2 away win at Ipswich followed by a 7-0 hammering of Chelmsford in Sunday’s re-arranged game. Leicester demonstrated that their team play is full of goals with ten different names on the score sheet over the weekend. Chelmsford had entered the game in high spirits after recording their first victory of the season – and first clean sheet – on Saturday in a 1-0 win over Trojans, Chelmsford moved onto four points, an impressive points total having scored just three goals this season, and move to within a point of Ipswich.  Canterbury’s Jenny Hall scored twice during their 6-2 victory away at Clifton, denting Clifton’s European ambitions and moving the Kent side up two places into fourth.

Indian Gymkhana’s 8-1 win over Ipswich keeps them atop Men’s Conference East, with Oxted pushing hard in second – just a point behind – after a 5-0 win over Bromley and Beckenham. Canterbury, Old Loughtonians and Sevenoaks all, too, have an outside chance after wins at the weekend. Men’s Conference North leaders, Belper, retained their one point lead at the top over Brooklands and Durham University., courtesy of a 3-2 home win over Doncaster. Brooklands and Durham both scored six in their wins over Sheffield UB and Formby respectively. At the bottom Barford’s 4-2 win over Sheffield UB moved them out of the relegation play-off place, thanks to a superior goal difference, at the expense of Formby. University of Exeter needed a 63rd minute equaliser to restore parity from a two goal deficit against Old Georgians. Bournville had been unable to capitalise on those dropped points as they drew 2-2 at home to Guildford. Bournville, though, will have been thankful for their point.  Manpreet Kochar looked to have scored the 69th minute winner for Guildford, but Chris Graham salvaged the point in the 70th from open play. Whitchurch’s shock 4-0 win over Team Bath Buccaneers moved them five points clear of the relegation play-off place leaving the outlook bleak for Firebrands and Cardiff UWIC.

Reading maintained a six point lead at the top of Women’s Conference East with a 7-2 win over Staines whilst Barnes HE kept pace after a 3-0 win at Maidstone. Maidstone, Staines and Sevenoaks all lost leaving it status quo at the bottom. Women’s Conference North leaders Loughborough Students 3-1 win at home against Bradford Wakefield keeps them four points clear of Durham University who registered a 3-1 home win over Beeston. Ben Rhydding, bottom, drew with second bottom Sunderland which kept the gap between the two at two points. Belper won twice to move five points clear in third. University of Birmingham’s fine form continued in an 8-2 win at Rover Oxford, they sit four points clear at the top in the West with Sutton Coldfield in second maintaining the gap after a 4-1 win over Aldridge.  St Austell and Rover Oxford both lost at the bottom.

The clock’s ticking down and it’s time to get NOMINATING! The National Hockey Awards have just two weeks left to run.  Nominations close on 28th February. If you think your, coach, club umpire, or club volunteer of the year, is due for the biggest thank you possible, you need to get your players and your club members online and pressing those buttons now by visiting http://www.englandhockey.co.uk/bignightout