England: England Hockey Championships Update

Last weekend saw the first round of matches in the England Hockey Tier 1-4 Championships, with both T1 title holders still in the running to defend their titles.


Holders Beeston ran out as convincing 3-0 winners in their visit to Oxford Hawks with Lauren Burrell, Julia Spence and Scarlott Doxey all netting for the Bees. They turn from visitors to hosts in the next round as they welcome St Albans, who were convincing 5-0 winners against London Wayfarers, when the Quarter Finals take place on 16th December.

Last season’s runners-up, Guildford, also live to fight another day… just! They had to come from a goal down away to Old Georgians after Orna Bools fired home a penalty corner in the 25th minute, a lead that the visitors held until the 40th minute when Imogen Lea equalised from a PC. Sophie Byrne snatched the winner in the 54th minute to give Guildford the chance to remain in the hunt for the national title, but Surbiton 2s now stand in their way.


Holders Old Georgians were handed a free pass through to the Quarter Finals after Oxted forfeited their tie and will now play Clifton Robinsons, who were 6-2 victors following their visit to Plymouth Marjon. The visitors got off to a flying start with Clifton Robinson’s Lewis Francuz helping himself to a hat-trick within 10 minutes, putting the home side well and truly on the back foot. However, Plymouth’s Rhys Hart and Matt Bell scored a goal either side of the break to make it 3-2, but this only stemmed the flow temporarily and Francuz’s rampage continued as he netted again on the 53rd minute before Joseph Naughton and George Nicholls chipped in with a goal apiece to take the spoils and with it, a spot in the quarter finals.


Only two ties took place last weekend, with another two to come over the next few days, but it looks like the British Army Women, who won last year’s T3 title, are taking the step up to Tier 2 in their stride and will march onto Round 2 following a convincing 6-1 win over Havant, although they had to overturn an early seventh minute strike from Havant’s Alice Worsley. This only served to fire up the Army and from then, Millie Edwards bagged a brace with individual contributions from Nicola George, Rae Andrews, Chloe Taylor and Catherine Ardley. Marlow, who received a bye in round one, now have the unenviable task of trying to find a way to defeat the British Army who are looking to add the Tier 2 title to their list of honours.


Last season’s holders Tunbridge Wells, who are currently sitting at the top of the South East Men’s Premier Division with maximum points from their five league games so far, are out of contention for the retention of their title.  Who knocked them out? The team sitting in second spot of the South East Men’s Premier Division, Sevenoaks 2s! Sevenoaks 2s are also unbeaten in the league with the only blemish on their record a 3-3 draw against Horsham at the end of September and although these two teams look set to tussle for the league title for the remainder of the season, it’s Sevenoaks 2s who march on in the quest for national glory. Standing in their way in Round 2 will be East Grinstead 2s whose opponents, Crawley, withdrew from Round 1 so this will be their first test in the Championships this season.

Last season’s runners-up, Leek 1s, were one of three teams who had to rely on a shoot-out to progress through to round 2. They overcame Neston 4-2 after a 2-2 deadlock at full time with Ollie Mills of Neston opening the scoring in the 16th minute before Leek’s Charlie Thackstone struck twice in quick succession with goals in the 41st and 44th minutes to put his side 2-1 up. Mills was not done yet though and got himself in on the brace action adding to his first goal with a 52nd minute penalty corner and the scores remained level as the full-time whistle blew. The 2023 runners-up held their nerve to come through as 4-2 winners after the shoot-out. They will now host Brooklands Manchester University 3s in Round 2 who were narrow 2-1 winners over West Derby 1s.


Lancaster University were the biggest winners of the round, inflicting a 9-1 defeat on Penrith 1s with Sunbury & Walton Hawks 1s also convincing 5-0 victors over Chertsey Thames Vally, but elsewhere, the margins were much tighter with two games going to a shoot-out to decide the winner. Burnt Ash (Bexley) held their nerve to run out as 5-3 winners in the shoot-out against Addiscombe following a 2-2 draw, and Gore Court 1s held on to beat Sittingbourne 4-3 on the shoot-out that followed their 1-1 stalemate. Coincidentally, it’s the shoot-out survivors who will play each other in Round 2 as Gore Court welcome Burnt Ash – will this be an edge-of-the-seat encounter?


Current holders Beeston 3s, who were convincing 6-0 winners over London Edwardians in last season’s final, have been reinstated to the Championships after Loughborough Town 2s were found to have played ineligible players in their 2-1 win, which will now be recorded as a walkover to the Champions. They now face an away trip to Leicester who fought through after a shoot-out to beat Melton 1s 5-4 after the sides could not be separated from their 1-1 scoreline in full-time.  Also through after shoot-out victories are Camberley & Farnborough and City of York 3s who overcame Windsor 1s and Driffield 1s respectively.


With just under 64 teams taking part in the Women’s Tier 4 Championships, there was almost a full round of fixtures in Round 1. There were a couple of large victories, with Eastcote, Knole Park and London Academicals all hitting double figures in a round that, with a few games to be played this weekend, has seen 122 goals so far! However, only two games were won by a solitary goal with Preston 2s beating Garstang 2s 1-0 courtesy of a 55th minute penalty corner conversion from Kimberley Bell, and the University of Bath running out as 2-1 winners against Wimborne Wayfarers 2. The University of Bath will host Devonport Services 2s, who ran out as 4-1 winners against Yate 3s, and Preston 2s will now host Slazenger 3s, the latter winning 3-0 against Ashfield Aztecs 2s.


Holders Tower Hamlets received a bye into Round 2, so their title defence will begin in December against East London 5s, who themselves received a R1 pass. Aire Valley 2s were the most convincing winners from Round 1 with a 12-0 win against Leeds Adel 6s.

Results from all T1-T4 Championships and the updated draw for the next rounds can be found here: https://www.englandhockey.co.uk/competitions-and-events/championships/england-hockey-adult-club-championships

by England Hockeyl

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