England Hockey League Week Nine

It seems that score draws were the order of the day in Men’s Premier Division with four of the five ties in week nine ending in parity.

Warren D'Souza in action for Reading in the England Hockey League (EHL) Men's Premier DivisionWith onlookers wondering how teams in the division would perform without their England internationals – participating in the Men’s Champions Trophy, Melbourne – Surbiton and Reading were most affected and it was they who, undoubtedly, posed the fixture of the weekend in the Division pitting first against second. As it turned out, the teams were closely matched; Warren D’Souza (pictured right) opened the scoring in the 20th minute by despatching a penalty stroke for Reading, though it took just four minutes before Mike Houlihan had levelled the score for the home side.

East Grinstead, in third, missed the opportunity to gain ground on the leaders after they we held to a 2-2 draw at home against Loughborough Students. The score was level at half time, Niall Stott’s 29th minute goal equalised Simon Faulkner’s opener for Loughborough. Danny Hall had given hope that the home side might return to winning ways by netting in the 43rd minute, only for Chris Gregg to restore parity with eleven minutes remaining. Hampstead and Westminster hosted Brooklands MU, with the same outcome, although obtained in much more dramatic fashion. Brooklands looked headed for their second win of the season before Will Naylor earned a point for Hampstead by scoring in the last minute, dashing the hopes of the Manchester side.  Bowdon and Beeston were another two teams to finish the game with two goals apiece. Martin Jones opened and finished the game’s scoring by notching goals in the 10th and 58th minutes for Beeston, whilst, Simon Egerton scored twice in three minutes, the first in the 50th.

Cannock and University of Exeter’s fixture stood out from the norm in the division on Saturday. Cannock found the trip down the M5 a bountiful one as they returned with three points, six goals and a clean sheet, Stuart Pilgrim and Nicholas Bandurak both scoring twice.

Alex Danson in action for Reading in the England Hockey League (EHL) Women's Premier DivisionLeicester were on cloud nine after clinching their ninth Women’s Premier Division win of the season away at Trojans. Rebecca Herbert led the way for the visitors by grabbing a hat-trick, Crista Cullen, Lauren Turner and Hannah McLeod also getting on the scoresheet. Their resolute defence recorded another clean sheet, they have now conceded just four goals in five games. Reading kept pace with the leaders by condemning second bottom, Clifton, to a 7-2 drubbing, Alex Danson (pictured right) topped the scoring with three. Slough moved four points clear of Olton & WW in third position thanks to a 2-1 away win at Brooklands Poynton. Jane Smith and Alison Lubbock put Slough into a 2-0 lead at half time, it was a lead that they held until Helen Armishaw got one back for the home side in the 58th minute.

Natalie Seymour (centre) is challenged by Laura Bainbridge (left) and Susie Gilbert (right) during Canterbury's England Hockey League (EHL) match against University of BirminghamCanterbury had Natalie Seymour (pictured left) to thank for their 2-1 win over University of Birmingham. Sarah Kerly had set the home side on their way in the 30th minute before Holly Payne had levelled for University of Birmingham in the 41st. Seymour then stepped up and kept her cool by slotting home a 57th minute penalty stroke to claim the three points.

It looked as though Tina Cullen had secured Bowdon Hightown’s second win of the season by scoring Hightown’s lone goal of the game in the 13th minute. Holly Chipman dashed those hopes by finishing in open play in the 69th minute to obtain a share of the spoils. 

Old Loughtonians increased their goal difference lead at the top of Men’s Conference East courtesy of a 6-1 win at Chelmsford. Canterbury continued their winning streak with a 3-2 win over third placed Southgate, Leigh Barratt rounded off the scoring for the Kent side in the 56th minute. At the bottom, Bromley & Beckenham’s 0-0 draw with Holcombe moved them a further one point, to two points, clear of Indian Gymkhana – who lost 2-1 at Sevenoaks – in eighth place.

Deeside Ramblers were held to a 5-5 draw by second bottom Barford Tigers in Men’s Conference North. The scoring shootout commenced in the 61st minute when Ali Ghazanfar’s third levelled the score after Barford had scored three in a row to take the lead. Leek remain just four points behind in second after a 3-2 home win over Harborne, in which James Bassell missed a penalty stroke for the visiting side.

Team Bath Buccaneers were made to work for the win over, second placed, Whitchurch in Men’s Conference West to sit twelve points clear at the top of the table. Tim Davenport scored three second half goals to help his side overturn a 2-0 deficit at half time, to record a 5-2 win. Plymouth Marjon’s Richard Headlam scored a massive winner on the road against Havant for their first win of the season. The three points draws the bottom side within one point of Old Georgians who lost 3-2 at Guildford.

Ipswich’s Charlotte Anderson scored the only goal of the game in their top of the Women’s Conference East table clash with Harleston Magpies on Sunday. That result allowed Sevenoaks to move up into second after a 4-0 win over St. Albans in which Cathy Gilliat-Smith scored all four. Cambridge City moved into 7th in lieu of the St. Albans result and their 3-0 win away at, bottom of the table, Northampton Saints.

Sutton Coldfield continue to lead Women’s Conference North after a 4-2 win at Beeston, Sandeep Maan scoring three. Durham University recorded two wins in two days to sit just a point behind Sutton Coldfield, by beating Belper 1-0 on Saturday (postponed from the week before) and Doncaster 3-2 away on Sunday. Sheffield Hallam jumped four places to sixth thanks to the three points earned in their 3-1 home win over Loughborough Students. Loughborough drop to the foot of the table a point behind Liverpool Sefton who earned a 1-1 draw at Belper.

Cannock continues to lead Women’s Conference West on goal difference over Barnes HE. Cannock put four unanswered goals past Staines, whilst Barnes HE put three unanswered goals past Buckingham, for both sides to record three points. Swansea increased the gap over Bournemouth at the bottom of the table thanks to a 1-0 win over third placed Exe; Bournemouth fell to their seventh loss of the season 2-1 at Aldridge.