England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 14 Review

Surbiton, who qualified for Europe last weekend, maintained their eight-point gap at the top of the Women’s Premier Division with a comfortable  4-1 victory over Bowdon.

Steph Elliott and Sophie Hamilton gave Surbiton a two-goal cushion at half-time before Katie Alexander netted in the 56th minute, her sister Beth also scoring for Loughborough Students on Saturday.

But Martha Taylor and Meg Dowthwaite scored in the final 10 minutes to secure the points.

Giselle Ansley said: “Bowdon made it difficult for us and Martha scored a lovely goal and there was a good finish from Meg.

“The club made it a bit of a Women’s Day with our 2s playing before us. We had a good number watching and did a fundraiser for our upcoming European trip.

“There are some really important games still to go but we still want the main Euro Hockey League spot.”

East Grinstead recorded a second 5-1 win of the season over Hampstead & Westminsterat Saint Hill.

East Grinstead racked up their sixth win in a row thanks to Pippa Lock’s double and strikes from Grace Balsdon, Sophie Bray and Olivia Breed.

H&W’s top scorer Madi Ratcliffe netted her first goal since November – and the first conceded by EG in 216 minutes.

Reading recorded their biggest Premier Division win since promotion in 2021-22 following a resounding 6-0 win over University of Nottingham.

Reading last scored six in the top flight 11 years ago and Saturday saw Shona McCallin net twice as UoN fell to their third successive defeat.

With both teams having already secured Premier Division Finals qualification, Wimbledon beat Clifton Robinsons 1-0 thanks to Olivia Chilton’s 55th minute goal at Raynes Park.

It was the third match in a row she had scored as Wimbledon also secured successive clean sheets.

Loughborough Students kept up their 100% record at Nottingham Hockey Centre with a 3-2 win over Beeston.

The Students led 3-0 while Hannah Grieves’ late double proved too late for the Bees.

Loughborough’s win was also crucial in their battle to avoid the drop and they are now five points clear of second bottom Beeston. 

Bottom side Isca & University of Exeter lost their 11th of the season as University of Birmingham won 3-2 at home.

Old Georgians sealed a European place for next season as Tom Carson scored five second-half goals in a 6-5 thriller over Southgate.

The Weybridge side secured top spot ahead of Premier Division finals and inflicted a fifth successive defeat on Kwan Browne’s side.

Southgate, led by Browne’s attacking prowess, had led 5-4 thanks to Jack Middleton (62) and Teague Marcano (65) before Carson netted twice in the final two minutes at St George’s College.

Old Georgians’ Henry Weir said: “We had to scrap and show real character to come back in the game and then to win it at the death.

“We haven’t had to or shown that too often but it will be important over the next month.”

On sealing Euro club qualification, Weir added: “We are over the moon to qualify for the EHL next year and it was a No.1 priority for us.

“We have been presented with a string of really tough games in this phase and with the play-offs and EHL and it is a period of really high level hockey for us.”

OGs’ European berth was realised after Wimbledon beat Surbiton at home for the first time since 2016.

Their 4-2 success – which included five goals in 15 second-half minutes – was sealed with Connor Greentree’s 65th-minute goal. 

Ian Sloan had started the goal spree with his sixth penalty stroke of the season in the 50th minute against Surbiton, who had been unbeaten in six matches against their London rivals.

Holcombe’s 2-1 win over Hampstead & Westminster ended a run of three successive defeats as they captured a first success in 2024 at Holcombe Park.

First-half goals from Alex Pendle, on his birthday, and Tom Russell gave Holcombe – playing their third match in eight days – a two-goal cushion before Joe Hillyer pulled one back before the break.

In the Lower Six, Beeston clinched a place in Premier Division Finals, while local rivals East Grinstead and Oxted will slug it out this weekend to decide the remaining ticket on offer.

After losing five games in a row, Beeston’s rallying form saw them win their fourth in five following a 3-2 success over Oxted.

The Bees came from 2-1 down to score twice in the last two minutes through Jamie Rawlings and Ben Collinson.

East Grinstead will head into the winner-takes-all with Oxted on the back of three wins in the last four after beating Reading 2-1 at Saint Hill. In-form Max Lowrey netted what proved to be the winner in the 34th minute.

Cardiff & Met and University of Nottingham played out a 2-2 draw. Scott Rawlings netted a late strike for the hosts to secure a crucial point to stay ahead of Reading and UoN at the bottom.

by England Hockeyl

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