England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 13 Review

Wimbledon and Clifton Robinsons qualified for a top eight berth, as Surbiton made sure of finishing atop the Top Six standings ahead of Premier Division Finals.

Wimbledon won their third match in succession to stay top of the Lower Six with a 3-0 victory at Beeston.

Nicole Bowen, Olivia Chilton and Fiona Crackles netted for the Londoners, while Beeston have now failed to score against Wimbledon in three out of their four home meetings.

Wimbledon captain Anna Toman said: “It hasn’t been the ideal season finding ourselves in the Lower Six, but the way the season works it meant that we got another bite. 

“We haven’t been playing in the games we want to but it’s been a great learning curve for us. It was these games that we ended up drawing a lot.

“Beeston on the road has historically been a tough fixture for us. It was great to see Nicole on the scoresheet and scoring her first goal for us after being with us a few years.”

Clifton Robinsons secured their first victory at University of Birmingham since November 2019.

Holly Munro and Sarah-Jayne Thorburn netted second-half goals in a 2-1 win to punch a Top Eight ticket.

Isca & University of Exeter scored three in the Premier Division for the first time but still went down 4-3 to Loughborough Students, led by Becca Malyon’s double.

In the Top Six, Surbiton secured top position and with it a European place, ahead of Premier Division Finals with an authoritative 6-1 victory at home to University of Nottingham.

Surbiton won their third Premier Division meeting against UoN as Giselle Ansley scored an early PC before Alice Willis bagged a brace. In-form Leah Wilkinson also found the net.

Champions East Grinstead are now on an eight-game unbeaten run following a comfortable 5-0 win at Bowdon.

Pippa Lock’s double and Tess Howard netting for the third game running condemned Bowdon to a 10th game without a win.

Reading had won their previous four away games but couldn’t find a way past Hampstead & Westminster in a 2-1 defeat at Paddington Rec.

Iona Campbell and Esme Burge scored for the hosts before Jo Pinner pulled one back.

There is a familiar feel in the Lower Six, with Oxted, Beeston and East Grinstead once again battling to finish in the top two and separated by two points with two match days left.

Henry Croft scored for the fourth game in a row as Beeston edged Cardiff & Met 5-4 in Nottingham to keep up their hopes of qualifying for the Premier Division Finals.

Croft netted Beeston’s fifth following a double from teammate Jamie Rawlings after Cardiff had taken a 2-0 lead. Victory halted a run of three home defeats, while this was Cardiff & Met’s eighth loss in a row.

It proved to be the only match in the Men’s Premier Division this weekend not to have been won by the away team.

Reading’s home form has now seen them run up seven successive defeats after Oxted stayed one point clear at the Lower Six summit with a 4-3 win.

Reading’s counter-attack threat got the better of Oxted twice as the hosts rallied and the game headed into the final quarter at 2-2.

But Guy Morgan made it three games on the spin finding the net, his second of the game, to pave the way for a third win in four.

Oxted’s Charlie Axford said: “This was a really important three points for us. We had control of the game after going into a 2-0 lead but we felt like we had the quality to get the job done and needing goals in the final quarter.

“It’s in our hands for the last two weeks, which is a good place to be. Beeston and East Grinstead are two top quality sides, but we know if we play to our best we can grab one of those two spots for the Top Eight.”

East Grinstead also kept themselves in the mix for a top eight berth with a 3-1 victory at University of Nottingham.

The West Sussex side continued their impressive away form with a third successive win on the road thanks to in-form Max Lowrey’s hat-trick. They have now won and lost alternative matches in their last five fixtures.

In the Top Six, Hampstead & Westminster conceded five for the third time in succession at home as they went down 5-3 to leaders Old Georgians.

Matt Guise-Brown blasted his first hat-trick for two years but it wasn’t enough as OGs scored four in 14 minutes, ending with Alan Forsyth’s double in the 68th minute.

Surbiton scored their first victory at rivals Holcombe since late 2019 in a tight 1-0 win and Conor Williamson’s 42nd -minute penalty corner goal.

Holcombe failed to score for only the second time this season, while this was a sixth clean sheet for Mark Pearn’s side.

Southgate lost their last fourth match in a row as Wimbledon ran out 3-0 winners on Saturday. Duncan Scott scored for the third game in a row, with further strikes from Jack Waller and Ian Sloan.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon take on Holcombe on Thursday night (8pm) in a rearranged fixture.

*All stats courtesy of Colin Pike

by England Hockeyl

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