EHL Off and Running

Surbiton got off to a winning start in the Men’s Premier Division thanks to a four goal haul from Matt Daly which overturned a two goal half time deficit. Daly overtakes Justin King in the all time EHL Goal Scorers list, King is set to receive his Conference East 2008-09 Top Goal Scorer award next weekend.

East Grinstead came away with three points from their travels to Cannock despite Alex Penney’s 68th minute PC creating late drama. New signing Gareth Carr’s two penalty corner strikes set the Sussex side up for victory.

Hampstead & Westminster's Dan Fox holds off the attention of Reading's Jonty Clarke during the England Hockey League (EHL) clash, 20 September 2009Brooklands MU beat Exeter University in a crucial opening day clash between the two promoted sides, David Seddon’s 16th minute strike separating the sides. Simon Mantell and Jonty Clarke provided the two goals in Reading’s 2-0 win over Hampstead and Westminster despite both spending time in the chair for yellow card offences.

Carl Smith’s return to Loughborough did not prove a happy one, despite registering his name on the scoresheet; Chris’ Griffiths and Gregg scored the final two goals of the game to record a 4-2 victory for Loughborough.

Bowdon Hightown’s irrepressible Tina Cullen scored all three in their away win over Clifton. Cullen has now scored over 100 more goals than her nearest rival, Jane Smith of Slough, with a total of 329 all time EHL goals. Smith did not score as she saw her side lose1-3 at home to local rivals Reading; Vicky Bryant scoring twice.

Slazenger EHL 2008-09 - Bowdon Hightown, Tina CullenLeicester scored two first half goals to record a strong start to the season by beating Canterbury at home. Elsewhere in the Midlands; last season’s runners-up Olton & WW won over Trojans, despite not having a recognised goalkeeper between the sticks; whilst University of Birmingham’s Sophie Bray scored the deciding goal in their inaugral Premier Division 3-2 win at home to Brooklands Poynton.

Kwan Browne made an instant impact on his return to Canterbury by scoring twice in their 4-0 home win over Holcombe. Two early goals for newly promoted Harleston Magpies were enough to fend off a Sevenoaks fightback, whilst Bromley and Beckenham shared the spoils with Chelmsford in an eight goal thriller.

Deeside Ramblers made an early impact in their first EHL Men’s Conference North fixture thanks to a five goal bonanza for Ali Ghazanfar – formerly of Premier Division Bowdon – as they romped to a 7-0 home win over Formby. Harborne, also promoted into the division, faced a stern test against Durham University in which they earned a creditable 1-1 draw. Barford Tigers earned a fine away win over Belper after racing to a 4-1 lead, holding on for a 4-3 win.

University of Birmingham recorded six names on the scoresheet during their 6-1 win away at Old Georgians in Men’s Conference West, Nick Latham rounded off the scoring in the 54th minute. Fareham’s introduction to the EHL ended in a 5-2 win at home to Whitchurch with James Seager scoring twice. Stourport’s Stuart Miles scored a 68th minute equaliser to dash the hopes of Havant whilst Plymouth Marjon held Guildford to a 1-1 draw on their return to the EHL.

Old Loughtonians, runners up last season, started with a tricky tie in Women’s Conference East against relegated Ipswich, the game ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to Sarah Smith’s last gasp, 70th minute, penalty corner equaliser for Old Loughts. Newcomers Cambridge City and Northampton Saints both found the going tough losing to Horsham and Chelmsford respectively.

Sutton Coldfield, who moved from Conference West to North this season, sent a message to the rest of the division by putting five unanswered goals past Loughborough Students, Jane Sixsmith scoring twice. Sunderland’s Julie Hope scored twice as they emerged victors in the Weasr derby with Durham University, and Sheffield Hallam’s Emily Smyllie earned a 67th minute reprieve for her side in a 1-1 draw with Bradford Wakefield.

Cannock started with a 5-1 away at Firebrands in Women’s Conference West, Exe equalled that feat with a home win over Bournemouth by the same scoreline. Buckingham hosted Swansea, and it was the promoted side that took the three points courtesy of goals from Lorraine Campbell and Sam Humphreys. Barnes HE were 2-1 victors over Staines, both sides have moved from Conference East to West this season.

Having noted the favourable responses from the EHL Women’s Premier Division sides, the EH Board agreed to introduce end of season play-offs, mirroring those introduced in the Men’s Premier Division, to decide European qualification places and the winner of the EHL. The format and dates for the play-offs are to be agreed at a later date.