Day Three of the EHL Promotion Tournament

We are anticipating a weekend of tense, exciting, enthralling hockey at the EHL Promotion Tournament to be held at Cannock from 30 April – 2 May with teams battling it out to achieve Premier Division status for 2011-12.

Report from Day 3

Day 3 of the EHL Promotion saw matches played simultaneously to avoid any advantage of knowing the outcome of the other game.

In the Womens tournament Olton & West Warwicks retained their Premier Division place thanks to a 2-0 win over Sevenoaks. Sevenoaks needed to win to pip Olton and it was an even first half with the score 0-0. However Olton got their noses in front early in the second half when Denise Marston-Smith converted a corner. Sevenoaks’ efforts to get back into the game were rebuffed by a very resilient Olton defence and they sealed victory with a last minute corner from Lucilla Parkes (nee Wright)

Sutton Coldfield had already secured their Premier Division place and made it three wins out of three in the tournament thanks to a 2-1 defeat of Buckingham. Charlotte Cross scored from a 12th minute corner and Captain Vicky Woolford did likewise in the 38th minute. Buckingham created a number of chances and luck did not run their way but they managed a late consolation from Lauren Thomas.

If the Womens games had been relatively low key the Mens matches burst into action. Canterbury were 2-1 up on Durham University within 15 minutes with a super strike from Liam Foster and a goal from Tom Butt sandwiching Paddy Harman’s deflected goal for Durham. The 2-1 scoreline remained until half time. Meanwhile Exeter University were running riot on the other pitch against Southgate who were missing injured captain Dan Shingles and Matt Grinham suspended for the game after two yellows the previous two days. Two corner deflections from Rob Mugridge and two open play goals from James Royce put them 4-0 up at the break.

Into the second half Southgate pulled two early goals back from a Kloess corner and Rob Schilling whilst Durham went on late scoring spree to move from 2-1 down to 5-2 up within the space of 13 minutes – Dan Coultas, Matt Hodgson (2) and Mark Galloway scoring. It became 5-2 on both pitches when Exeter scored through Tom Carson which was how that game finished and that result ensured Exeter’s promotion. Southgate watched the last two minutes of the Durham game knowing that two more goals for the Students would see them take second place however it was not to be but in a further twist Durham’s Galloway and Canterbury’s Michael Farrer were both red carded for second yellow card offences in the final minute.

So Southgate, Exeter University Men and Sutton Coldfield and Olton & West Warwicks Women will play in the EHL Premier Divisions in 2011-12 and the EHL Conferences will now be formed from the other 30 EHL teams.

see the results WomensMens or on Twitter

Report from Day 2

In the first game on day 2 Sutton beat Sevenoaks 3-0 and the subsequent Olton-Buckingham result meant that it was enough to guarantee Sutton their place in the EHL Premier Division whilst Sevenoaks will need to win tomorrow to join them. The first twenty minutes were evenly matched with both teams having their chances but it was Sutton who broke the deadlock when Captain Vicky Woolford crashed home a dipping corner over Sevenoaks keeper Thomson on 24 minutes. Sutton extended their lead early in the second half when ageless international legend Jane Sixsmith picked up a loose ball in the D to fire home. On 47 minutes Celia Butler made the game safe for Sutton on 47 minutes scoring after good advantage from umpire Lia Waine. However Sevenoaks still pressed forwards knowing that goal difference may be crucial to them come tomorrow but when they were denied by two goalline saves from a corner they knew it wasn’t going to be their day.

Match Two saw Saturday’s losers meet up with Olton playing Buckingham and it was Premier Division Olton who ran out convincing winners 6-1 to leave them needing a draw to retain their top flight status . Captain Rachel Clift gave Olton the lead on minutes when her corner shot eluded the Buckingham defence. Fiona Davies made it 2-0 just before half time with a close range open play goal and in the second half Olton’s experience showed with Clift’s former England teammates Lucilla Parkes and Denise Marston-Smith getting on the scoresheet along with a second for Davies and one for Emma McCabe. Samantha Sandham netted a last minute consolation goal for Buckingham who now cannot qualify and will return to the Conference for 2011-12.

Canterbury and Southgate served up a cracker in the first men’s game of the day with Southgate edging out the Kent side in a nine goal thriller 5-4. Mickell Pierre drew first blood for Canterbury with a low drag flick on 8 minutes but by 8 minutes later Southgate had advanced to a 3-1 lead with open play goals from Westbrook and Terwin and powerful shot from captain Shingles following a corner breakdown. Michael Farrer pulled a goal back for Canterbury on 27 minutes but a Johannes Kloess thunderbolt corner on the stroke of half time restored Southgate’s two goal lead. The second half also proved eventful with Canterbury pulling level as Farrer completed his hat-trick with corners in the 43rd and 46th minute and Southgate hanging on as their yellow card tally rose from 2 at half time through to 7 by the 58th minute. With four minutes to go Kloess clanged the Canterbury bar from a corner but two minute later Terwin finished off a flowing move to earn Southgate a dramatic 5-4 win.

It didn’t seem possible that the last match of the day could live up to the previous one – but it did as Durham beat Exeter 5-4 in the University Challenge to keep their (and all other teams’) hopes of qualifying alive. Durham raced into a two goal lead within 10 minutes when Paddy Harman netted with a close range deflection and George Scott scored from a narrow angle. John Sterlini hit back for Exeter on 30 minutes and with the half time hooter having sounded James Royce scrambled the ball home from a corner to make it 2-2. If Exeter thought that the game was turning their way they were soon proved wrong as Dan Coultas scored from a stroke then converted a corner via the post and Exeter keeper Millington’s helmet to put Durham 4-2 up on 52 minutes. They held a two goal advantage until nine minutes were left when Royce scored his second from a corner and three minutes later Carson levelled things up also from a set piece. Exeter looked the more likely winners but Durham dug deep and when they earned a corner in the last minute Coultas powered it home to seal an epic win and mean any of the four the mens teams, including Canterbury who have lost twice, could still qualify on Monday.

follow the results WomensMens or on Twitter

Report from Day 1

Sutton Coldfield took the honours in their all-Midlands battle with Olton that got the EHL Promotion Tournament underway. Charlene Mason gave Sutton a 19th minute 1-0 lead when she scored with a corner deflection and they took the lead into half time. Olton equalised on 43 minutes when Emma McCabe fired home after a corner had not been cleared however Sutton regained the initiative through the evergreen Jane Sixsmith on 50 minutes. Her deflection was brilliantly saved by Olton keeper Amanda Ferebee but Sixsmith followed up to help the ball over the line. Only three minutes later Sarah Mills put Sutton 3-1 up a lead they held comfortably to the final whistle.

There was a dramatic finish in the second women’s game of the day which saw Sevenoaks beat Buckingham 3-2. Buckingham took the lead on 23 minutes when Lauren Thomas picked up a rebound at a corner and shot home. However seven minutes later it was all square as Heather Batten finished off a good Sevenoaks move to make the game 1-1 at half time. Sevenoaks pressure told in the second half as Sophie Crosley crashed home a corner on 56 minutes and they held on to the lead until Buckingham broke away and forced a corner that Leanne Grimsley converted. In a final twist Sevenoaks won a corner with just over a minute left and a second Crosley piledriver earned them all three points.

Southgate’s corners proved decisive in the first mens match against Durham University with three conversions and a fourth from a breakdown helping them to a 4-0 win. Johannes Kloess opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a roofed drag flick. Seven minutes later at the next corner with eyes on Kloess, it was Ed Miller who scored to make it 2-0. Kloess scored a third early in the second half and when a 59th drag flick was well saved by Durham keeper James Cachia the ball was fired back into the D and Adam Wilson scored with a deft close range deflection. 4-0 was a harsh score line on Durham who created chances from open play but were undone by Southgate’s set pieces.

It was a game of two halves in the last game of the day with Exeter University running out winners 3-1 against Canterbury. Ian Haley took advantage of some hesitancy in the Canterbury defence to score from close range on eight minutes and Tom Carson made it two soon afterwards. Exeter were on top for the rest of the half but didn’t convert this into a goal until early in the second when James Royce scored . After this Canterbury raised their game and forced a series of penalty corners but couldn’t get past Tom Millington in the Exeter goal who was in fine form. Michael Farrer finally got them on the scoresheet from a corner on 52 minutes but despite further pressure Exeter stood firm to earn the three points.

follow the results WomensMens or on Twitter

Both the Mens’s and Women’s tournaments feature four teams playing in a round robin format with the top two in each earning Premier Division status for 2011-12.

Jump to tickets and schedule

Six of the participating teams qualified as Conference winners.

Women's Division

Conference East: Sevenoaks

Conference West:Buckingham

Conference North:Sutton Coldfield

Premier Division: Olton & West Warwicks 

Sevenoaks took the Womens East title by four points. The championship race was very tight going into the second half of the season before Sevenoaks pulled away from Surbiton, Chelmsford and Ipswich who had all held top spot at some point during the season.

Buckingham took the West title by the same margin from Isca University. The two teams were neck and neck for the first half of the season and when  Isca beat Buckingham in a rearranged game early in February they took the advantage. However Isca faltered with two losses and Buckingham went on to win their last seven games to take the title.

A crucial loss to their nearest rivals Loughborough Students also looked to have cost Sutton Coldfield top spot in the North but they too recovered to qualify for the Promotion Tournament. That loss came with just two games left in the season and put the Students a point clear but they were unable to break down Durham the week afterwards and Sutton finished in tennis style 6-0, 6-1, to clinch the title by a point. With 85 goals Sutton were the highest scorers in all eight Divisions of the league. 

Olton & West Warwicks join the tournament from the Women’s Premier Division. A purple patch with two wins, including a defeat of high flying Slough, and two draws left them needing a point from their last two games to avoid ninth place but two losses coupled with Cannock’s last day win over University of Birmingham see them here this weekend.      

Men's Division

Conference East: Southgate

Conference West:University of Exeter

Conference North:Durham University

Premier Division: Canterbury Men's

Southgate took the Men’s East Conference title with a four point advantage over Old Loughtonians who have been runners-up for the past two seasons. However their progress was not without alarms, not least when having beaten Old Loughtonians in a top of the table clash a week before, they slipped to a 3-2 reverse against bottom of the table Sevenoaks who they had beaten 12-1 earlier in the campaign. Four subsequent wins ensured their success.

Rufus McNaught Barrington playing for University of Exeter at BUCS 2010The University of Exeter were the most convincing winners and took the West title with an eight point advantage over nearest rivals Team Bath Buccaneers. Exeter are looking to return to the top flight after a year out and after a patchy start to the season come into this tournament on the back of twelve consecutive wins.

The North winners Durham University will be looking to go one better than their female counterparts who were unsuccessful in the past two Promotion tournaments. A playing record of W5 D1 L3 at the mid way break saw Durham off the pace but an unbeaten second half of the season including wins over nearest rivals Doncaster and Sheffield Hallam saw them pull clear.

Michael Farrer and Kwan Browne celebrate Canterbury's win over Brooklands 2011 to go into the playoffsThe Men’s Premier Division representatives are Canterbury who return to Cannock a year after securing their place in the top flight (see News Image). They do so on the back of a Houdini escape act. When they lost a crucial game 5-2 to Cannock there were just two games left and six points needed. They enjoyed a surprise 3-2 win over Loughborough to set up the ultimate relegation battle at home to Brooklands MU who they would overtake if they won. They did so but only thanks to an overtime corner conversion from Michael Farrer to clinch a 2-1 win. 


Tickets are still available on the gate at Cannock – priced Adults £7, Concessions (U18 & NUS) £4, Adult Season Ticket £18, Concession Season Ticket £10

There is a £2 per day car parking charge at the venue for spectators. £5 for all three days. Spectators should follow stewards requests in terms of accessing the venue. 

If you can't get to Cannock then follow the results here or on Twitter

Match schedule

Sat 30 April

1200 Women  Olton & WW v Sutton Coldfield
1400 Women  Sevenoaks v Buckingham
1600 Men  Durham Univ v Southgate
1800 Men  Canterbury v Univ of Exeter
Sun 1 May

1100 Women  Sutton Coldfield v Sevenoaks
1300 Women  Buckingham v Olton & WW
1500 Men  Southgate v Canterbury
1700 Men  Univ of Exeter v Durham Univ
Mon 2 May

1100 Women  Buckingham v Sutton Coldfield
1100 Women  Sevenoaks v Olton & WW
1330 Men  Univ of Exeter v Southgate
1330 Men  Canterbury v Durham Univ