England: England Hockey League 2023/24 Premier Division Weekend 7 Review

Surbiton made sure of their Top 6 place in Phase 2 of the Vitality Women’s Premier Division with a 1-0 win over Beeston on Saturday.

The game was won by Sophie Hamilton who blasted a fierce backhand in the 29th minute after Beeston had lost the ball in their own half.

Their win leaves Surbiton five points clear of second-placed Reading and a tightly-contested bunch chasing a top six berth with three games remaining in Phase 1. Defeat for Beeston was their fifth in six matches.

East Grinstead continued their Premier Division form over Reading with a fine 4-3 victory at Sonning Lane.

Tess Howard moved equal top joint scorer in the league with another brace, as East Grinstead twice came from behind to move into fifth on goal difference. Reading have yet to beat East Grinstead in the top flight.

The West Sussex side are now two points behind high-flying University of Nottingham following their 4-1 win over bottom side Isca & University of Exeter – a fourth victory in their last five matches.

Julie Read scored with two penalty strokes either side of the break, while Maddie Axford and Maddie Long netted from penalty corners.

Bowdon remain ahead of UoN on goal difference in third as they continued their unbeaten start to the season.

Hannah Macdonald levelled up at 2-2 against Clifton Robinsons to secure a fourth draw in a row for Bowdon, which matched Canterbury’s run in the 2017/18 season.

Katie Alexander had given the hosts an early lead before the Bristolians took the ascendancy through Holly Munro and Carmen Ansley.

Loughborough Students have now lost all four of their home games as Hampstead & Westminster came away with their first away win of the season in a comfortable 4-0 victory.

Madi Ratcliffe netted a first-half double, while there were open play goals from Rachel Greenwood and Lily Owsley.

The Londoners, in seventh place, are still in the mix for a Top 6 place, as they leapfrogged Wimbledon after a frantic last 10 minutes at Raynes Park against University of Birmingham.

Jess Davis had given the visitors a 58th minute lead before Paige Gillott equalised three minutes later. 

Beth Bingham scored with five minutes left as Wimbledon closed in on three points before Lili Sokhi levelled with two minutes from time. All three league meetings have now been drawn.

*Stats provided by Colin Pike

A three-way fight has emerged for the last spot in the Men’s Premier Division Top 6 as Old Georgians and Surbiton confirmed their places after authoritative wins on Saturday.

Old Georgians ran up their sixth successive win of the season as in-form Sam Ward netted another hat-trick in a 4-1 victory over Hampstead & Westminster.

Sam Apoola had given H&W the lead in the fourth minute before Ward was on hand to level five minutes later. Further goals (13, 64) completed Ward’s fourth hat-trick of the season as Alan Forysth also scored late on. This was Hampstead’s second league defeat in a row after a run of five successive wins.

Surbiton came away from their first National League meeting with Cardiff & Met with a one-way 8-0 victory in the Welsh capital, the hosts yet to taste victory at home.

Welshman Gareth Furlong opened and closed the scoring for Mark Pearn’s side, while there was also a first-half double from Luke Taylor. Jack Hobkirk scored Surbiton’s fifth with the pick of the goals, deflecting in brilliantly after a quickly-taken slap into the circle.

While the two league leaders have blasted over five goals per game, Holcombe are also racking up the goals. A 12-1 win over University of Nottingham came laced with their biggest Premier Division score to put one foot into the Top 6.

They hit double figures for the first time thanks to Nick Bandurak’s six goals, which included an opening hat-trick in seven first-half minutes. Alex Pendle and Thomas Russell also netted braces.

Wimbledon have now won all three Premier Division meetings against Southgate after a 5-2 victory at home saw Karl Stagno’s side climb to fourth.

Euan Gilmour and Sam Hooper made sure of the points with two goals in the last seven minutes.

Meanwhile, Southgate, Oxted and Beeston are all sitting on 10 points and fighting for the final sixth spot, with three games left of Phase 1.

Oxted ground out their fourth successive league win over Beeston with a late show 4-3 victory when Chris Webster (65) and Pete Jarvis (68) scored from open play.

Defeat for Beeston was their third on the trot and they have now conceded 25 goals in those games.

The Reading and East Grinstead match at Sonning Lane on Saturday night was abandoned at the end of the third quarter due to a waterlogged pitch. East Grinstead were winning 2-0 at the time.

The last game to be abandoned at Reading was in November 2014 when Reading led Cannock 1-0 at half time before fog closed in. England Hockey will update on how this fixture will progress as soon as possible.

by England Hockeyl

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