Beeston, EG, Leicester & Slough progress to Championships

Following some thrilling hockey and shock results over the weekend, the combatants are known for the England Hockey League Championship Finals at Cannock Hockey Club in Staffordshire this weekend.

On Saturday, 1 May, Leicester ladies will play Slough to determine the 2009-2010 England Hockey League (EHL) Champions before, on Bank Holiday Monday, 3 May, East Grinstead and Beeston clash to determine the men’s Champions.

Leicester, whose place in Europe was already secure on account of their topping the Women’s EHL Premier Division at the end of the regular season, came through Sunday’s semi final against Canterbury with a narrow 2-1 victory.  Nicola White in action for Slough against Reading in the England Hockey League (EHL) Championship PlayoffCanterbury had already beaten University of Birmingham 5-3 on Saturday to reach the semi final but despite taking the lead against Leicester they were unable to hold on.  The East Midlands side came from behind with goals from England and Great Britain forward Katie Long and Lucy Brown to progress to Saturday’s Championship Final.

In the other women’s semi final, Slough, who finished third in the regular league season, overcame Reading away from home to secure their own progress.  A goal in either half from Jane Smith and Nicola White cancelled out and then turned around Reading’s early Kate Walsh opener.  Reading can at least still look forward to a meeting with Leicester in the Women’s Cup Final on Saturday 15 May at Highfields Sports Club in Nottingham.

In the men’s competition Nottingham-based side Beeston came through two tough matches against Loughborough Students and Reading to remain on course for a domestic double.  After beating the students 3-1 in Nottingham on Saturday, Beeston travelled south to Berkshire to face Reading, the table toppers at the end of the regular league season.  Yet again it was a match in which the victor came from behind as Beeston recovered from going a goal down early in the second half to win 2-1; Matthew Taylor, formerly of Cannock, scored the winning goal five minutes from the end to secure a return to Cannock with his new club. 
George Pinner celebrates with his Beeston teammates after they beat Reading in the England Hockey League (EHL) Championship PlayoffThe Bees will hope to add the Men’s EHL Championship title to their trophy cabinet ahead of their Men’s Cup Final against Hampstead & Westminster on Saturday 15 May at Highfields Sports Club in Nottingham.

Beeston’s Championship Final opponents will be the 2008-2009 league champions East Grinstead who overcame rivals Surbiton 5-1 on Sunday.  The semi final match between second and third in the league was delicately poised at 2-1 at half time before Mark Pearn, Danny Hall’s second and Gareth Carr netted in the second half to secure safe passage to Cannock.

Despite their defeat, Reading will still play in Europe next season as England’s third ranked representative on account of having topped the Men’s England Hockey League Premier Division table at the end of the regular season.  Both East Grinstead and Beeston will also represent England in the Euro Hockey League, with the rankings of first and second determined by the outcome of the Championship Final.  Consequently, there will be no third place playoff in either the men’s Championships.

Next weekend will also see the playoff tournament to determine which sides play in next season EHL Premier Divisions.  In both the men’s and women’s competitions the winners of the three Conferences will come together with the ninth placed team in the Premier Division for a round robin tournament with the top two sides taking their place in the Premier Division for 2010-2011.

Saturday 1 May 2010

10:15 EHL Promotion Tournament (Women): Cannock v Clifton
12:00 EHL Promotion Tournament (Women): University of Durham v Ipswich 
13:45 EHL Promotion Tournament (Men): Team Bath Buccaneers v Brooklands MU
15:30 EHL Promotion Tournament (Men): Deeside Ramblers v Canterbury 
17:15 Women's EHL Championship Final: Leicester v Slough 

Sunday 2 May 2010  

10:15 EHL Promotion Tournament (Women): Clifton v University of Durham
12:00 EHL Promotion Tournament (Women): Ipswich v Cannock 
13:45 EHL Promotion Tournament (Men): Brooklands MU v Deeside Ramblers
15:30 EHL Promotion Tournament (Men): Canterbury v Team Bath Buccaneers

Monday 3 May 2010  

10:00 EHL Promotion Tournament (Women): University of Durham v Clifton
10:00 EHL Promotion Tournament (Women): Ipswich v Cannock 
12:15 EHL Promotion Tournament (Men): Canterbury v Brooklands MU
12:15 EHL Promotion Tournament (Men): Deeside Ramblers v Team Bath Buccaneers
14:30 Men's EHL Championship Final: Beeston v East Grinstead

Tickets for the EHL Championships

Tickets for the EHL Championships are currently on sale online from England Hockey website.  Simple click here to buy yours today.  Tickets will also be available on the gate at Cannock each day.